I stayed up later than I should have last night to finish ‘The View from Saturday’ by E. L. Konigsburg. I really, really liked it, but I don’t have time before I go to work to tell you all the things I liked about it, so I’m just going to share one small detail. The book is about four children whose lives intertwine, and each chapter is told from a different person’s point of view (not the detail I want to share, just a bit of background for you). One of the characters, Julian, brings the four children together by inviting the other three to a tea party. But he does it secretly, so no one else at school knows. How does he do this? He sticks a post-it note subtly to their books, their backpacks, and so on, and the post-it note says:
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Chapter VII Title
The title, in case you hadn’t guessed, of Chapter VII of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, is ‘A Mad Tea Party’. Other clues about the time and place are sprinkled through other books.
Isn’t that a wonderful way to invite someone over for tea? I immediately became determined to make an invitation stating the exact same thing.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland becomes relevant again towards the end of the book, when the four children are part of an academic team, and their final question to win the championship is regarding Humpty Dumpty. When and where was Humpty Dumpty’s first appearance? The other team says Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The answer, however, is incorrect. Our team knows the answer – it is in fact Through the Looking Glass.
I find it really interesting that certain books, like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, get references and alluded to in so many other books. I myself have alluded to Alice and the Cheshire Cat in my own writing. Something about them captures our imagination, and speaks to writers. They want to include a slither of the magic of those books in their own, maybe?
What stories or character have you noticed appearing in other books? Which stories and characters have you noticed seem to fascinate authors in a way that they want to reinterpret or pay homage to these stories and characters in their own work? And, most importantly, why?