The Matrix and the Alice Books by Voicu Mihnea Simandan


The aim of this book is to provide answers to three research questions by applying concepts of intertextuality to three primary sources and identify, present, and explain elements of intertextuality in the three chosen texts.

The three questions are:

1) What are the main intertextual relationships between the Alice books and The Matrix?

2) Are the references to the Alice books in The Matrix used with the same meaning as in the originals, or was the meaning altered?

3) Can the Alice books be used as a means to better convey the message of The Matrix?

The three primary sources are the script of the motion picture The Matrix written by directors Andy and Larry Wachowski, and the books Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll. Quotations and excerpts from the three primary sources will clearly show numerous elements of intertextuality woven into the three texts.

The film The Matrix has many fascinating elements of intertextuality which can be traced back to the text that Carroll built into the Alice books. It is such elements as these that this book proposes to uncover and explain, using concepts of intertextuality. I will select quotations from the three primary sources, and I will pinpoint and explain how they are interrelated.

For the sake of clarity this study will simplify Genette’s (1992, 1997) subdivisions in the following construct:

Genette’s intertextuality (i.e. direct quotations and allusions used in The Matrix from the Alice books);

paratextuality (i.e. illustrations and captions used in The Matrix from the Alice books);

architextuality (i.e. literary conventions in The Matrix and Alice books as part of a genre or genres);

metatextuality (i.e. explicit and implicit comments of The Matrix on the Alice books);

hypertextuality (i.e. the elaboration of ideas from the Alice books in The Matrix).

One value of intertextual reading is that it encourages the reader personally to engage with the texts and thus to resist a passive reading of texts from cover to cover. There is never a single or correct way to read a text, since every reader brings with him/her different expectations, interests, viewpoints, and prior reading experiences.

This book has been written from the conviction that intertextuality will remain a crucial element in the attempt to understand both literature and film.

The Matrix & The Alice Books

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Genre – Non-Fiction/Movie Studies/Literary Criticism

Rating – G

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