Tuesday, May 30, 2017

A Very "Unbirthday Party": Appropriations of the Mad Hatter's Tea Party

Last week, we looked at a number of adaptations of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (here).  Iconic scenes like the journey through the rabbit hole and the caterpillar's inquisitive remarks, "Who are you," tell us a lot about the world Alice envisions whether she is underground or above it.

For today, we will look at one of the most famous: the Mad Hatter's Tea Party. Please watch the following clips and answer the discussions questions in the comments section below. You may wish to reference your notes from last week on child logic, nonsense, and storytelling.

1951 Disney adaptation, Alice in Wonderland.

2010 Tim Burton adaptation, Alice in Wonderland

A lesser-known made-for-TV movie adaptation from 1999, Alice in Wonderland featuring Tina Majorino, Whoopi Goldberg, and Martin Short as the Mad Hatter.

1) Pick an illustration from our Norton Editions of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. What visual similarities do you see between the John Tenniel's illustrations and one of the adaptations from above? (e.g., Disney's 1951, Tim Burton's 2010, or 1999 TV movie)

2) In your opinion, which adaptation follows the storyline the closest? What is kept the same, and therefore, stays true to the story? Why would the creators keep this part of the story?

3) Vice versa, in your opinion, which adaptation is the farthest from the original storyline? What is made to be different, and therefore, changes the story? Why would the creators have changed this part of the original story? What might be their aim?

4) Lastly, why a tea party?


  1. 1. The most striking similarity between Tenniel's illustrations and the '99 version is the abnormal proportions. The hatters face and his general look is very similar in style to the original.
    2. I think the '99 version was the most faithful adaptation because for the most part it was word for word. except for a few small differences that i believe enhanced the scene well. I believe staying faithful during the tea party was important to exemplify the theme of absurdity.
    3. The Burton adaptation is the farthest from faithful in my opinion because for the most part it is a different story. The Burton version happens after she has already been to wonderland once. I believe having the scene be so different serves to reinforce the theme of disparity and decay that the Burton version uses.
    4. a tea party makes sense because for the time era it would have been a very normal and formal thing. but by making the tea party very hectic and unlike a normal one it serves to show that even the most normal of things is different n wonderland.

  2. 1. In the Mad Hatter's Teaparty scene of the story, Disney kept the style very similar to the original drawing with most of the physical details, such as the Mad Hatter having a large nose and the March Hare's hair on his head being messy and a different color than his fur.

    2. The 1999 movie to me seemed the closest to the original scene. The other two left out some minor details, such as the Hare offering Alice wine (Disney may have left this out because of the movie being child friendly) and the fact that the Dormouse is supposed to be large enough for them to rest their elbows on him. Along with that, almost all of the dialogue was exactly the same. They probably chose to keep this scene the same as it is a very iconic and very humorous scene from the book.

    3. The Tim Burton adaptation was definitely the most different. For one, the style of the movie was much darker, as with all of Tim Burton's movies. Along with that, like the Disney version, the mouse is not as large as in the original story. My guess as to why the changed it is to keep in context with the story. Since in the Tim Burton movie, this is about Alice /returning/ to Wonderland. It is not a first visit like in the original story.

    4. I suppose they may have chosen a tea party, since with most of the story, it involves nonsense in logic. Most of the time, tea parties are meant to be a serious, formal event, where in Wonderland this tea party is slightly backwards, with the Hatter and Hare insulting, confusing, and conversing with Alice while at the same time still staying proper.

  3. 1) When looking at the illustration for the tea party in the book, all of the movies did well with keeping the characteristics the same for the most part. In the 1999 version, Alice looked very different from the others, with brown hair and a white dress, while the hatter and the hare looked very similar to the original.

    2) I think the Disney adaptation follows the original story the most. Overall it follows the storyline of the original much more, and does a really good job keeping the language and characters the same. I think that Disney wanted to stay as close to the original as they could, to create what Carroll envisioned, but in their own way.

    3) I think that Tim Burton's version is the farthest from the original. The storyline is completely different from the original. I understand that this is Tim Burtons adaptation, and that he made it his own, but I feel like a lot of the story is lost, or doesn't make sense with all of the changes he made.

    4) I think that a tea party fits the time frame, and Carroll made it fit the setting by adding in all of the nonsense. The Hatter and the Hare start talking about Time, and how they are stuck at this tea party because of his punishment. I think that this is supposed to relate to how children at this time would have felt about going to a tea party.

  4. 1. The illustration at the beginning of chapter seven is very similar to the Disney adaptation and the made-for-TV version. The characters are all waring very similar outfits. However, in the made-for-TV version, Alice's hair was brown and wore a white dress but the hare looked very similar to the illustration in the book.

    2. I think the made-for-TV version follows the novel the best. All the dialogue was taken directly from the novel and in order, too. However, the movie added more interesting elements to the scene.

    3. Tim Burton's version was defiantly the most different from the novel. You have to understand that the whole storyline to the movie is different. I think that the creators made these changes to create a new story to watch and enjoy.

    4. I think the scene was set during a tea party because children have tea parties with their stuffed animals. It makes the scene childish. The hare and the mouse are like stuffed animals kids would have fake tea parties with. It seems childish and makes sense for the theme of logical nonsense.

    1. I agree with literally all of your points. I believed as well that the TV version follows the novel the best due to the dialogue. Even though Disney's version also used dialogue from the novel, the TV version is more similar because the animations are more similar to the characters. The rabbit, Mad Hatter, and mouse in this version are very, very similar to the illustration as well. I think Disney changed the looks of the rabbit and the mouse because they were focused on this children as an audience, and this illustrations in the novel of the hare and the mouse didn't seem very friendly to me.

  5. 1) Disney's 1955 version of Alice in Wonderland was very similar visually to John Tenniel's illustrations. His illustrations were very animated, so having an animated movie would make the visual very similar. Also, the two animations have the characters dressed in a similar fashion as well.

    2) In my opinion, I believe that the 1999 TV version stayed most true to the story line. This story line stays true to the novel because a lot of the quotes are very much word for word, with a few changes and additions to it here and there. The creators stayed true to much of the dialogue because Alice in Wonderland is one of the most quoted novels, so the dialogue in this story is crucial.

    3) Tim Burten's 2010 version of Alice in Wonderland is by far the most different from the original story. This story is obviously going to be the most different because it has a different story line, and shows the watcher of a possibility of what could happen if Alice were to come back to Wonderland. Tim Burten may have changed this particular scene this was to show us the growth of the characters since Alice's youth to go along with his storyline, because Tim Burten's story is not Carroll's story, it is going to be different. I think Burten wanted to create a new version of Alice in Wonderland because he wanted to catch the eyes of all Alice fans, make the watcher question what happens after the story, and also bring a whole new meaning.

    4) Tea was a very common event back in this time period. Often times, children would play tea parties by themselves with their stuffed animals, which is probably the reasoning behind the rabbit and mouse at the tea party. The Mad Hatter on the other hand, just throws even more nonsense into the scene, having the tea party make no scene, which is needed in order to fulfill the duties of Wonderland- confusion.

  6. 1) The 1999 version was clearly aiming to make the appearance of the Hatter, the Dormouse, and the March Hare as similar to Tenniel's aesthetic illustrations in the original novel. The Hatter has been given the large nose, the abnormally large hat, and the "British high-class" attitude (stuck up?). The March Hare is pretty creepy looking, but it's facial features are still very close to Tenniel's version. The Dormouse looks exactly the same.

    2) The 1999 version also used the most direct quotes from the book, and had very few additions/substitutes, whereas the Disney classic and Tim Burton's have significant differences.

    3) Tim Burton's "Alice In Wonderland" was significantly different than the original story, but he intended that with the goal of making a sort of sequel to the original. It's supposed to be Alice's return to Wonderland, yet she doesn't remember being there the first time. She arrives at the tea party merely three inches tall, and he brings up the slaying of the Red Queen, which both hadn't happened in the original. They use very little quotes from the book, but because this is a separate storyline, it's expected.

    4) The book is based in England, where tea parties are popular among the wealthy. I believe because Alice may have been used to these tea parties in her original world, that she finds consistencies such as this in Wonderland. The characters at the table are nonsensical, but the party as a whole is logical.

  7. 1. Disney's 1951 version of the mad hatter is very similar to John Tenniel's illustrations. The tall hat, fancy clothes, and background of the scene in the movie looks exactly like the illustrations in the book.
    2. For illustrations, I think the Disney version follows the original story the closest. However, I think the 1999 adaptation is the most similar to Alice. There are many direct quotes from the book and stays almost exactly like the original.
    3. In my opinion, I think Tim Burton's version is the most different from the original story. This is due to the fact that the whole story in general is changed. Alice has already been to Wonderland in this movie and has already experienced what it is like. The dialogue is much different as well.
    4. The subject of tea always seems to be very popular in Victorian age stories. It fit in with the story as well.

  8. 1.) Disney versions and John Tenniel's illustrations are visually very similar. It seems very evident that Disney used Tenniel's illustrations for ideas and inspiration.
    2.) The Disney version definitely follows the original more visually wise, but 1999 version had more direct quotes and not as much appropriation.
    3.) I think Tim Burtons version is the most different because he changes the whole storyline and uses his imagination to appropriate it to match a more modern time.
    4.) Having a tea party was very common during this time so it isn't surprising that there is scene of one in the book.

  9. 1. In the illustration on page 52, it is noticeable that in the adaptations, it almost seems that Alice is less important in the movies than in the book. The only way I see this is that in the illustration, Alice is at the head of the table next to the hatter and hare, compared to her being toward the back, or on one of the sides.

    2. I feel that dialogue wise, the 1999 version follows the story the closest, but the characters in this version are not how I imagined them. The dialogue close to the original for most of the video we watched in class and could be kept this way because it really is the best way for the person watching to make sense of the story. However, character wise, Disney I think does the best job for the person watching to visualize the characters.

    3. I think that the Tim Burton is the furthest from the original because Burton used a different story line than the original Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and therefore the major changes were noticeable.
    4. I think a tea party was a good choice for the characters because it is another example of the nonsense logic in wonderland. A tea party is logical because the story takes place in Britain and tea has always been a large part of their culture, but it nonsense because it is a little girl having tea with a mad hatter, a march hare, and a dormouse which does not make much sense.

  10. 1. The illustrations from John Tenniel and the 1999 TV movie are very similar. For example, the characters' heads are disproportionate and large on their bodies.
    2. The Disney version followed the storyline and characters better, although the 1999 version had many of the original quotes from the book.
    3. The Tim Burton version was farthest from the book in my opinion, mostly because the storyline was different, and the feel of the scene was a bit darker.
    4. I think a tea party makes sense because they were normal to have, and tea is a very British and victorian thing.

  11. 1) I chose the picture of the Mad Hatter on page 55. I think the 1999 TV version is the most similar. The other adaptations have similar looking Mad Hatters as well, but the TV version reminds me the most of the illustration. In the book and the movie, the Mad Hatter's head seems like it is larger than his body, and almost like it is bulging out of his clothes. The facial features are also similar such as the eyes and the shape of the face.
    2) I think that the third adaptation, the one made in 1999, followed the story line the closest even though the adaptation is the least known version. They used the actual conversations at the tea party from the book in this adaptation. The other adaptations had similarities to the book and used references to some lines but were mostly appropriated.
    3) I think the Tim Burton adaptation is probably the most different out of the three. Despite little changes, the plot is different. In this story, Alice has already been to wonderland and is just returning. This version of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland has a certain task that Alice needs to accomplish, rather than it just being a very odd and purposeless dream that takes place in a Wonderland.
    4) I think it is a tea party because L.C. wrote this book during the Victorian Era, a time when it was very popular to drink tea.

  12. 1) I have focused on the Mad Hatter illustration, for he is the most distinct character. I've noticed that the Disney adaptation, and the 1999 adaptation have the closest representation to Tenniel's drawings of him.

    2) I believe the 1999 version of "Alice in Wonderland" is closest to LC's storyline. I've noticed that a lot of the lines were said word for word. This truly keeps up with the originality of a classic story.

    3) The adaptation I believe is farthest from the original storyline is Tim Burton's version of "Alice in Wonderland." He pretty much created his own plot that includes war and repression. This underlies the reason for Alice to find the innocence she once had as a child. The Tim Burton version was certainly targeted for young adults.

    4) A tea party represents childhood imagination. It proves where the mind goes when a child is alone.

  13. 1) The version of Alice in Wonderland that is the most alike in my opinion is the 1951 Disney version.In the book the illustration are supposed to be cartoons so having it as a cartoon version makes it come a live even more than it already is. The cartoons look more like they are supposed instead if having actors play the characters.

    2)The adaption that follows the book the most is the 1999 adaptation. They use the same conversations in the movie as they did in the book. Even though visually the Disney adaptation is more similar but the actual dialogue is very different in the Disney adaptation than in the book.

    3) The adaptation that is the furthest from the book is the Tim Burton adaptation.It completely goes away from the book. Instead of having a little girl play Alice a young adult plays her instead. The story lines is less kid friendly. The tea party scene in my opinion is especially different than theater adaptations, is very dark and it looks like its made to seem scarier than the other adaptations. No one really looks happy in that world especially not Alice. She's not as free or happy in the Tim Burton version.

    4) When the book was written it was the nineteenth Century that was when drinking tea was the right and proper thing to do.But a little girl doesn't have a tea party so is very unusual like the rest of that world.


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