Flowers in the Desert? Lost in the world of Inanimate Alice

Inanimate Alice is a story about a young girl, and her travels with her family and fictionalized drawn friend in different countries. However, it is about more than that. It is about losing and regaining, going missing or missing something, and finding oneself in the process.

When Alice is 8, she lives in China. Her father works deep in the desert, and usually comes back just fine, but one day something is wrong, he doesn’t come back. Alice and her mother go out to look for her father, and along the way Alice snaps pictures of some flowers she passes by in the desert. With the amount of water most flowers need to grow, it would be nearly impossible to find some of Alice’s varieties of flowers out in the desert; so too, would it be nearly impossible to find a lone man in a vast wilderness of sand and wind- yet both are found. Alice’s luck on this day is immense. She finds flowers in the desert, and more importantly she finds her father.

When Alice is 10, she is on a vacation at a ski chalet in Italy. Her parents are not around, she thinks they are lost- again… Is it the parents that are lost, or is Alice? Surely at 10, if lost in no other sense of the word, she has to be lost in a world that she has only recently begun to appreciate the mere size of. The map application on her player shows Saudi Arabia- her home country (at least for now) and how far it is from Italy. While on a call with her tutor, she realizes she was supposed to be with a group of other children at the ski school. They left her back at the chalet, and it is getting dark. She is lost in her mind as well, not knowing whether to try to catch up at the ski school, or wait at the chalet for her parents. She decides to try heading out to the ski school, in the dark- probably not the best idea- and falls into a large pile of snow. Lost again, this time in a very real and dangerous sense, her illustration on her player- she calls him Brad- smiles at her as if to give her the strength to climb out of the snow pile. Once she is out, her parents find her, she realizes that she should not have left to walk through the snow in the dark on her own, but more importantly she realizes that she can get herself out of danger.

When Alice is 13, she lives in Russia. Her father is being blamed for a leak at his job, and they are eventually forced to leave their house. When the men come looking for her father, Alice gets lost- intentionally. She hides in a closet and away from the scene, playing her doll-collecting game. Periodically throughout this scene the reader has to find hidden dolls on the screen, eventually having to find all of them to pass a later stage. These dolls could be symbolic of Alice herself- a small child (or childlike object, in the case of the dolls) lost in a city much bigger than themselves. The difference is, we as readers are responsible for finding the dolls whereas Alice is on her own.


~ by diamondace on April 16, 2010.

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