I was really enchanted by these images by John Tenniel of Alice literally going through the looking-glass . I thought it was a charming representation of the symbolic journey a child undertakes when he or she transitions from the frolicking days of early childhood to the more chaotic teenage years. Using two panels to demonstrate the movement from one plane to the next was very important to the effectiveness of this illustration. the fact that we see Alice’s back in the image that shows her in the logical world outside the looking-glass acknowledges that she is living this world behind to move forward in her journey. In the second image, we see Alice’s face and her front foot braced and ready to move the rest of her body through this portal into this new world. The hand that she is still bracing against the solid part of the looking-glass seems to be the last tether she has with that other world.
I so enjoyed the Tenniel illustrations that I decided to look for other representations of transitions. I was hoping to find some other mediums that would do as good a job at representing this complex scene. I came across this horror-show:
My excuses to anyone from England specifically Guildford Castle in Surry where this is located, but… yeah.
The first thought I had was (and maybe this was influenced by the opening of Star Wars episode 7 this weekend) that she looked like Han Solo when he was frozen in carbonite. The distinct foot is there, just like in the Tenniel, but the medium is, perhaps, too static to represent the transition. There is, also, the issue with the expression on the face. Here is a child that is going on a fantastical journey and yet her face is devoid of any emotion. I also wondered why one arm was raised so high, as if she was reaching for something inside the glass. Although it miss the mark, I have to commend the artist for trying to depict this transition in a medium that is so much about stillness.