Date of Award

Spring 5-2020

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Advisor/Committee Chair

Laura Tetreault, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Mary Valentis, Ph.D


This project aims to examine gender as perpetuated in the “Wonderland” trope, paying specific attention to Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away. At the surface level, these works seem like they don’t have much in common—they come from different cultures, different time periods, and different social contexts. However, to say that these stories are too dissimilar to compare is simply incorrect as both deal with the transitional periods of young girls who are approaching adolescence. Because both stories contain an alternate world in which the main little girl character wanders into and journeys through, they can both be considered under a shared “Wonderland” genre. In this genre, I have noticed three main characteristics that are also present in other stories that contain a “Wonderland”: these stories are written by men about young girls, they contain moments in which food has some magical property or incites transformation, and a woman character is often depicted as the antagonist. Although my analysis will largely draw from girls’ studies, which is a lens of feminism that focuses on girls (from childhood to teenage years) rather than women, I will also incorporate ideas of the male gaze when considering at the male authors and extend my feminist lens to adult women as I examine the antagonists. In applying these critical approaches to my primary texts, I intend to discuss the implications of having an alternate world facilitate the growth of these young girls and how their gender might affect this development.