Marie, Alice, Dorothy, Wendy

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Registered: 07-30-2004
Marie, Alice, Dorothy, Wendy
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Mon, 02-03-2014 - 12:46pm

      Marie is from the story “Nußknacker und Mausekönig” ("Nutcracker and King of Mice") by E. T. A. Hoffmann (first published in 1816)

      Alice is from the story “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll (first published in 1865)

      Dorothy is from the story ”The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum (first published in 1900)

      Wendy is from the story “Peter and Wendy” by J. M. Barrie (first published in 1911)

      What I feel connects these four literary personages is that they are all girls who, within their stories, experience fantastic “adventures” by going on fantastic voyages.  For various reasons these stories interest me and I plan to use this thread to post my feelings and thoughts regarding these stories and what I understand about the history of these stories.  I realize that there is a board dealing with young adult stories, but I feel it is hidden and in the best of circumstances it seems to me that not many people visit these boards.  Further, while the stories may generally be considered to be children’s stories, they also could be enjoyed by adults and despite being an adult I do enjoy them.

      Tom,

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Registered: 07-30-2004
Thu, 02-06-2014 - 2:36pm

      Possible Spoiler Alert!

      Originally when I started this tread I planned to post my feelings and thoughts regarding these stories and what I understand about the history of these stories.  Since then I thought that when writing about my feelings and thoughts I may write things that some might see as spoilers in that they give information regarding the story that the reader may not know.  On the other hand I’ve thought that may not be a problem in that while my guess is that most people have not read the original books, most people may be familiar with the stories through stage productions, movies and abbreviated stories.  I would like to know if there is any policy regarding spoilers.  In any case I plan that the next few posts will deal with the history of the stories and therefore would not contain any spoilers.  If I decide to post anything that might be considered to be spoilers I will again alert readers to that possibility.  Kindly let me know what is the policy regarding possible spoilers.

      Tom,

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-05-2005
Fri, 02-07-2014 - 5:50pm

Hi, Tom.  I don't think iVillage has an "official" policy on spoilers, other than being courteous (which you obviously are) and letting your fellow boardies know that the material you are posting contain spoilers.  So, you should be good to go.  I look forward to seeing what you have to say about these classic tales.


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Sat, 02-08-2014 - 10:08am

      Shelbell, thank you for your reply,

      The author of the “Nutcracker and Mouse King,” which was written in German, was born in 1776, in what was then Prussia and what is now part of Russia.  During the late 19th century, the story was made into the ballet “The Nutcracker” with music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.  The ballet premiered at the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg, Russia on December 18. 1892.  In many performances of the ballet the girl Marie, from the book, is renamed Clara or Masha, while her brother may be named Franz instead of Fritz.  E. T. A. Hoffmann stands for Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffman.

      Lewis Carroll was the pen name of the Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson.  He was born in Daresbury, Cheshire, England in 1832.  As stated above “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” was first published in 1865, but Dodgson (as Lewis Carroll) wrote a second related story in 1871, called “Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There.”  Alice is the primary character in both stories.  The 1951 animated Disney version of “Alice in Wonderland” includes episodes from both books.

      L. Frank Baum was born in 1856 in Chittenango, New York in the United States.  He wrote many fantasy stories, including 14 full length stories that are sometimes grouped together.  The titles of those 14 books as well as the year of their first publications are listed below:

            ”The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” (1900)

            “The Marvelous Land of Oz” (1904)

            “Ozma of Oz” (1907)

            “Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz” (1908)

            “The Road to Oz” (1909)

            “The Emerald City of Oz” (1910)

            “The Patchwork Girl of Oz” (1913)

            “Tik-Tok of Oz” (1914)

            “The Scarecrow of Oz” (1915)

            “Rinkitink in Oz” (1916)

            “The Lost Princess of Oz” (1917)

            “The Tin Woodman of Oz” (1918)

            “The Magic of Oz” (1919)

            “Glinda of Oz” (1920)

            In addition Baum wrote a book of short stories entitled “Little Wizard Stories of Oz” (1914).  This book of short stories is sometimes grouped with the 14 longer “Oz” books.  As far as I know these are the only books by Baum whose titles end in the word “Oz.”

      The story of Peter Pan and Wendy began as the play “Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up” that was written by J. M. Barrie and which premiered at the Duke of York’s Theatre, London on December 27, 1904 although Peter Pan is also part of Barrie’s story “Little White Bird” first published in 1902.  While Wendy is not mentioned in that earlier story, it does include a four year old girl named Maimie Mannering who could be considered a prototype of Wendy.  Six chapters from the “Little White Bird” were rereleased, mostly in their original form, in 1906 as “Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.”  Barrie then wrote the story of the play as a novel originally called “Peter and Wendy.”

      Tom,

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-2004
Wed, 02-12-2014 - 12:40pm

      Where did the names come from?           

      Around the time that E. T. A. Hoffmann wrote the “Nutcracker and Mouse King” he was friends with Julius Hitzig who had two children Marie and Fritz.  It appears that at least the names of the children in the story written by Hoffmann were inspired by the names of the Hitzig children however; the surname of the children in the story was “Stahlbaum.”  In German “stahl” means steel and “baum” means tree, so the surname of the family in the story can be read as “Steeltree.”

      Charles Lutwidge Dodgson met Alice Liddell and her sisters Lorina and Edith in 1856.  Alice was four or five years old at the time.  It was this Alice who in 1862 asked Dodgson to tell her a story and a little later to write it down.  Dodgson cared a great deal for Alice and therefore built the story around the then ten year old girl, thus Alice Liddell was the inspiration for the Alice in “Alice in Wonderland” as well as “Through the Looking Glass and what Alice Found There.”  However, Alice Liddell was not the girl who was pictured in the illustrations that originally accompanied the two fantasy books.

      Dorothy Gage was L. Frank Baum’s wife’s niece.  The girl died while still an infant in 1898.  The book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” was published in 1900.  It is possible that Baum named the heroine of his most famous story Dorothy in remembrance of his wife’s niece.  Dorothy of the “Oz” books (as I remember starting with the third book) was given the surname “Gale.”  The name Gale may have been connected in Baum’s mind with the surname Gage, but I have assumed that Gale was a reference to the cyclone that first brought Dorothy to Oz. 

      James Matthew Barrie’s use of the name Wendy has been traced back to Margaret Henley the daughter of the poet W. E. Henley.  As a child Margaret, in trying to say that Barrie was her friend, would pronounce the word friend as “fwendy” or “wendy.”  The name Wendy does appear to have existed before Peter Pan and may be connected with the name Gwendolyn.  In the play and book the surname of Wendy and her brothers is “Darling.”

      Prior to 1902, Barrie had met three boys who were the son’s of Arthur and Sylvia Davies.  The youngest of the three boys was named Peter and it is likely that this boy supplied Barrie with the first half of Peter Pan’s name.  Pan seemly comes from the name of the Greek god.

      Tom,         

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Registered: 07-30-2004
Mon, 02-17-2014 - 10:41am

      Possible Spoiler Alert

      I now plan to write about some items that could be considered spoilers by some people.  I feel that most people are familiar with the stories through stage productions, movies and abbreviated stories so if that is the case for you then there is no problem.  A problem may arise in regard to my discussions of the original stories as I expect that most people have not read them.  If you plan to read the original stories then you may not want to continue reading this thread.  On the other hand if you are interested in the original stories, but don’t want to read them then this thread may be helpful to you.  The third possibility is that you are not sure if you want to read the original stories then reading this thread may help you decide.  As I wrote earlier I plan to post my feelings and thoughts regarding these stories and what I understand about the history of these stories. 

      Tom,

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Registered: 07-30-2004
Mon, 02-17-2014 - 10:42am

      “Which Dreamt It?”

      Of course all of the stories I been discussing are fantasies, but authors can present fantasies as dreams and or as reality within the story.  Lewis Carroll clearly presents the two Alice stories as Alice’s dreams.  On the other hand Baum’s stories of Dorothy in the Land of Oz and Barrie’s story of “Peter and Wendy” are presented as if they really occurred.  Hoffman’s “Nutcracker and Mouse King” is not as clear.  After reading an English translation of that book I feel that the author wanted did not it to be clear whether Marie had dreamt the whole thing or that she, within the story, actually experienced it. 

      It is interesting to note that while in the book “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” Dorothy actually experienced her trip to Oz, the 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz” shows it as a dream.  By the way the quote that I started this particular post with is a title of one of the chapters from “Through the Looking Glass.”

      Tom,

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Registered: 07-30-2004
Mon, 02-17-2014 - 2:32pm

      What are the ages of the four girl heroines featured in the books I have been discussing?

      On the first page of the “Nutcracker and Mouse King” it is noted that Marie had just turned seven.

      In the story “Through the Looking Glass” Alice first states that she is “. . . seven and a half, exactly” when asked her age and later she states that her age is seven years and six months.”  As far as I remember there is no mention of Alice’s age in “Alice in Wonderland.”  However, that story is considered to have been inspired by a boating excursion that Alice Liddell (the inspiration for the Alice in the story), the Rev. Dodgson and others took on Thames River.  At the time of the boating trip (1862) Alice was ten years old, so it is possible that Dodgson thought of the Alice of the story as being ten years old.

      Wendy’s age is not mentioned in the book “Peter and Wendy,” but in “The Annotated Peter Pan” edited by Maria Tatar the following is noted (page 119) “. . . the drop-curtain for the revival of the play in 1909 was fashioned after a sampler – supposedly made by Wendy and singed at the bottom: Wendy Moira Angela Darling / Her Sampler, Age 9 Years.”  Wendy Moira Angela Darling is the full name of the character in the play.

      As far as I know Baum never disclosed Dorothy’s age in any of his books.  The closest I have found is in the second chapter of the first Oz book where Dorothy is described as a “little girl” and as a “child.”

      Tom,

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Registered: 07-30-2004
Wed, 02-19-2014 - 10:19am

      As I mentioned earlier while Marie is the name of the girl in E. T. A. Hoffmann’s “Nutcracker and the Mouse King” many ballets give her name as Clara.  I am not sure when or why this change came about, but it may have something to do with the name of the female doll (not the Nutcracker) that Marie receives as a gift in the book.  Marie gives this doll the name Fraulein Clarchen.  In German the name may be spelled with a “K” so it would be Fraulein Klarchen.  In any case in the French translation of the story, usually attributed to Alexandre Dumas, the name doll is given is Mademoiselle Clarchen and it is explained that the German Clarchen corresponds to the French Claire, which by the way was my mother’s name.  Later in the French version the doll is called Mademoiselle Claire.  A website devoted to the Moscow Ballet notes the following:  In Hoffmann’s tale, the girl’s name is Marie or Maria, while Clara – or “Klärchen” – is the name of one of her dolls.”  I know of one English translation of the original German story in which the girl’s name is given as Maria, while in the translation I read the name is Marie.           

      It is important to note that Marius Petipa, the Premier Ballet Master of the Saint Petersburg Imperial Theatres in 1892, was a Frenchman and that he based the “Nutcracker” ballet on the French translation of the story.  So I see it as being possible that the doll’s name Klärchen, became Clarchen, which then became Claire, which then became Clara (Claire and Clara being similar) and at some point along this sequence it stopped being the doll’s name and became the name of Marie.  It is my understanding that in Russian versions of the ballet the name of the girl who loves the Nutcracker is given as Masha.  This may be the Russian version of the name Marie or Maria, so my guess is that the name Clara was not used as a replacement for name Marie in the original 1892 Russian ballet.  Of course in ballet names are not spoken, but in many cases names of the characters are printed in the programs.

      I will be happy to receive additional information or corrections regarding this.

      Tom,                     

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Registered: 07-30-2004
Sun, 02-23-2014 - 8:59am

      Recommendations:

      My strongest recommendations, based on my only having read the English versions of the stories I have been discussing, would be for the two Alice books “Alice in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking-Glass” and the two Peter Pan books “Peter and Wendy” and “Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.”  I like the two Alice books because I feel that Lewis Carroll described the dreams better than I’ve read in any book or seen in any movie or on television.  I also feel that J. M. Barrie is a very good writer, his characters are multi-dimensional and I felt the characters were better described in the book than in any movie or play that I’ve seen.  There is sadness to the Peter Pan stories, particularly “Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens,” but again I feel that is a credit the Barrie’s writing ability and the multi-dimension of his characters.  The title “Peter and Wendy” was used for the first publication, since then the book has been titled “Peter Pan.”

      I would only recommend “The Wizard of Oz” and the “Nutcracker and King of Mice” (at least in the English translation) for those who are very interested in these stories perhaps from seeing the 1939 movie or the ballet.  The book “The Wizard of Oz” does include episodes which are not in the movie, but the movie does contain the best of the episodes.  Those in charge did a very good job in picking the best from the book and in presenting what they picked in the best possible way.  I feel that L. Frank Baum was an ok writer, but not a great writer however I am now in the process of rereading his 14 full length Oz books so there must be something I like about them.

      In regard to the “Nutcracker and King of Mice” I wouldn’t comment on Hoffmann’s writing ability as I cannot read German and only read the book in an English translation.  Based on that reading I feel there is grimness and sadness to the story in the book that is not in the ballet.  One reason I read the book was to try and understand the character Drosselmeier, but as the book is somewhat ambiguous as to whether Marie is dreaming or really experiencing the fantasy, I really didn’t understand that character any better.  There are more episodes in the book than in the ballet.  If anyone can read German and does read the book I would very much like to know their opinions.

      Tom,

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-2004
Tue, 02-25-2014 - 10:22am

      Wendy, Tinkerbell and Peter

      While Peter Pan maybe considered the main character in the story “Peter and Wendy” (later published under the name “Peter Pan”) it is really Wendy’s adventure that the story is about.

      The girl is also the center of conflicts in the story.  First Tinker Bell immediately takes a disliking to Wendy.  According to Peter’s translation from the fairy language to English Tinker Bell insults Wendy by calling her “. . . a great ugly girl . . .”, then when Peter gives Wendy a kiss (which is called a thimble) the fairy pulls the girl’s hair and later Tinker Bell tries to get the lost boys to kill her.

      However, I feel a bigger conflict is between Wendy and Peter Pan.  While Wendy was intrigued by fairies and mermaids and wanted to go to Never Land it was not so she would never grow up and after she arrived her main activity was playing at being a mother that is playing at being a grown up.  Also unconsciously or consciously Wendy encouraged Peter to leave Never Land and grow up.  This conflict produces a certain saddest in the story.  In a way I see Wendy as being the most grown up of the main characters in the story, with the exception of her own mother, Mrs. Darling.

      Tom,

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