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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis…

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865)

by Lewis Carroll

Other authors: John Tenniel (Illustrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
15,281323121 (4.01)2 / 770
  1. 40
    The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (Death_By_Papercut)
    Death_By_Papercut: A child enters a strange new world.
  2. 20
    Alice Through the Pillar-box and What She Found There: A Philatelic Phantasy by Gerald M. King (bookel)
  3. 20
    The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente (kaledrina)
  4. 10
    The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (Morteana)
  5. 21
    Luka and the Fire of Life by Salman Rushdie (weeksj10)
    weeksj10: Rushdie's books focusing on the Khalifa family are like a modern day Alice in Wonderland with a spicy bight from its Indian setting. The wordplay, characters, and plot all mirror those of Alice and like Carroll's book Rushdie's can and will be enjoyed by magic lovers of all ages.… (more)
  6. 10
    The Epiplectic Bicycle by Edward Gorey (Bitter_Grace)
  7. 00
    Alex and the Ironic Gentleman, or The Wigpowder Treasure by Adrienne Kress (Polenth, suzanney)
  8. 00
    The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver (C.Vick)
  9. 00
    A Beginning, a Muddle, and an End by Avi (DetailMuse)
  10. 01
    The Brontës Went to Woolworths by Rachel Ferguson (casvelyn)
    casvelyn: Both stories of outsiders trying to understand someone else's mad fantasies.
  11. 12
    The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor (bell7)
    bell7: Frank Beddor reimagines the original "Alice" story as the true story of Princess Alyss in a much darker Wonderland.
  12. 316
    The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli (Ciruelo)
    Ciruelo: Really. Both are classic studies in the workings of power.

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Showing 1-5 of 292 (next | show all)
What can I say, it is classic. Not only you have to read it because of its intellectual value, but also you just have to read it now as so many people already have done so. Keep up with the modern language! ( )
  Anatoly1988 | Sep 24, 2016 |
Addressing strange and difficult issues as time, size and perspective, transformation and introducing the game theory almost a hundred years before it was presented as a mathematical idea in the conventional way, amongst other philosophically difficult ideas - and then engage children successfully, is a great achievement - leaving the readers of all ages curious about the nature of our existence - as compared to other living matter - as well as the nature of our observation of ourselves and everything outside ourselves.
Carroll made a sensible, highly readable, enjoyable story out of (what for most people) is nonsense, no less.

Wonderful reading. ( )
  Mikalina | Sep 23, 2016 |
I listened to this, so that might have lessened my enjoyment a little. I can see how this would be very amusing to a younger audience, though. ( )
  aclaybasket13 | Jul 29, 2016 |

A little girl named Alice is sitting beside her sister, who is reading what Alice thinks is a very dull book, when suddenly a white rabbit appears and says “Oh dear! I shall be late!” For a moment, the rabbit doesn’t strike Alice as odd at all, until she realizes that she has never seen a rabbit in a waistcoat or with a pocket-watch before. Instinctively, she follows him across a field and, before she has a chance to think, down a rabbit hole
Alice is bored and sleepy on the bank, and though it is never outright stated the implication is that she is drifting into the dream. Alice’s dream state—and her magical thinking as a young child—are on display as she is not surprised by the fact of a talking rabbit—it’s only when she realizes that it’s a well-dressed talking rabbit that it gets her attention. And she follows the Rabbit from her world to its world, the world of the dream.

The rabbit hole goes on and on like a vertical tunnel, and as Alice falls, it is as if time slows down – she is able to consider everything around her. The walls of the tunnel are filled with shelves and bookcases, from which she manages to select a jar labeled “Orange Marmalade”, but finding it empty, puts it back as she falls. She muses on what her family would say if they could see her. She thinks she must be near the center of the earth by now, and proceeds to recite facts she has learned in school about the size of world, getting stuck on the ideas of Latitude and Longitude.

Alice is now in completely foreign territory. The rabbit hole does not seem to belong to the world of her sister and the bank, but a new world, not just a rabbit world, but one where gravity and the shape and composition of the earth do not exist as they did before, and everyday objects, like marmalade placed in new and ridiculous circumstances. None of this strikes Alice as strange or worrying, as she instead daydreams about facts things she’s half-learned in school. A mixture of dream and reality is occurring, offering Alice the opportunity to see her own experiences in a new light.

As she keeps falling, Alice wonders if she might come out the other side of the world, and if people in Australia are themselves upside down. Then she starts thinking about her cat, Dinah, and wonders if cats eat bats. She begins to get dazed and sleepy, dreaming she is hand in hand with Dinah the cat, when she finally reaches the ground with a thump. She gets up straight away, not at all hurt, and sees another long passage before her, along which the white rabbit is hurrying, muttering again about being terribly late.
Alice often regurgitates information she has heard from adults. She has learned geography but doesn’t entirely understand how gravity works and so the picture she has of the world is a mixture of facts and imagination—as a child, her “real” world is reminiscent of Wonderland. Her thoughts about cats eating bats, or bats eating cats, start the novella’s exploration of language, its meaning, and its meaninglessness.

Alice follows, but when she turns a corner, she loses sight of the rabbit and finds herself in a huge hall, with doors all around her. All the doors are locked, so she comes back to the center of the room. Now she finds a little table with a key on top. Thinking it must open one of the doors, she goes around the room trying it but it doesn’t fit any of them. Then a new door appears, a tiny door behind a curtain. The key fits perfectly. Alice opens the door and kneels down and peers through it to a beautiful garden. But the doorway seems to be for a small animal, not a girl. It's too small for Alice to fit through.

Alice suddenly feels herself starting to grow. She can see her feet disappear beneath her as she gets taller and taller. She begins to worry that her feet will have no one to dress them and tries to work out how she can send parcels of shoes to her right foot at one address and her left foot at another. She berates herself for talking nonsense, but soon enough, she has in fact filled the large hall and her head has hit the ceiling.

Alice grows so much and so quickly that she soon views her body as a foreign entity, with a life of its own. This is very upsetting for her – she has no control over her own growth and even her limbs don’t seem to be connected to her. This is a magnification of the problem of not feeling in control of one’s body during the strange transformations of adolescence.

Alice looks down at the tiny door. She can now only peer through the doorway with one eye. She starts to cry again. She tells herself off but she can’t stop – giant tears come pouring into the hall until she is standing in a pool of her own tears. Just then the white rabbit appears and scampers through the hall, beautifully dressed in a pair of white gloves. The rabbit is still worrying about being late – he says the Duchess will be very mad to be kept waiting.

As Alice grows and the garden becomes smaller so she can hardly see it, she gets very upset – her ideal place, her hope is being lost, reminding her of her uncomfortable situation and her loneliness in this strange world. Her inconsistent size frustrates and saddens her as she can’t reconcile her identity as a sensitive young child and as a giant, independent and alone.

Alice, in quite a state, thinks she must take her chance and ask the rabbit for help so she calls out to him. The rabbit is startled and drops his gloves and fan, so Alice picks them up and fans herself with them – it has become very warm in the hall. The Rabbit runs off and hides. Alice starts talking to herself again, trying to solve the puzzle of who she has become. She thinks of all the children she knows, but doesn’t think she has become any of them.

Alice’s self-consciousness about her size and her self comes out here. She fills the hall and scares off the rabbit, who had initially provoked her curiosity. Feeling like a scary beast is not a nice feeling for a young girl and causes Alice to question whether she is even Alice anymore. This can be seen as a metaphor for how adulthood looms ahead of Alice.

Then Alice thinks of all the things she knows. She tries to remember a particular rhyme about a crocodile, but the words sound wrong and she starts to cry again, and imagines that if she got the rhyme wrong, she must be Mabel after all, and considers that if she is Mabel, she will stay in the rabbit hole forever, but then she wishes her family would put their heads to the hole because she’s feeling very lonely. She cries even harder.

Alice’s changing body has made her question her identity. She looks for reassurance to her mind, to what she knows. But what she knows has also somehow been modified in such a way that she recognizes the shift. Now she wonders if really may have become a different person. It does not occur to her that she could change and remain herself.

Alice realizes that she is now wearing one of the white rabbit’s gloves. She is shrinking again. It must be the fan she’s carrying, she thinks, and tosses it away and sure enough, she stops shrinking. She rushes for the tiny door, being even smaller now than before, but the door is locked again. Alice despairs. Then she slips and finds she has fallen into a pool of salt water that she cried when she was a giant.

Now the growing and shrinking phenomenon isn’t reserved for edible and drinkable things. Just by holding the rabbit’s fan, Alice starts herself shrinking. The rules of Wonderland constantly change, leaving Alice at its mercy and having to adapt, and that she is even affected by the things she did herself when she was different.

Alice spots another creature in the pool, swimming far off. She sees that it is a mouse, who has also slipped into the pool of tears. Alice thinks she might as well try speaking to the mouse but he doesn’t seem to understand English, so she tries addressing him in French. The first phrase she thinks of is “Ou est ma chatte?” which means “Where is my cat?” The mouse is suitably unnerved. Alice protests that the mouse would like her cat, Dinah, and proceeds to list her virtues. The mouse is very offended.

Language is one of the things Alice is supposed to have mastery over. She loves riddles and songs and is a witty child, so when she finds these animals not just talking fluently but talking a language that she hasn’t learned, Alice is made to feel silly and offensive. Yet she is also learning about having empathy for other people—that she loves a cat is not enough to make a mouse love a cat.

So Alice tries to talk about dogs instead, and recalls a particularly good specimen belonging to her neighbor. But the mouse has had enough and starts to swim away. Alice calls to him and he turns sympathetically back and suggests that Alice listen to his “history”, and then she’ll understand the mouse’s feelings about cats and dogs. The pool is now full of other animals, and they all collectively swim to shore.

The animals assemble on the bank and wonder how they will ever get dry. The Mouse makes a dry speech about William the Conqueror, but they all remain as wet as ever. So the Dodo suggests they have a Caucus-race. Alice, recognizing that the Dodo expects someone to say something in response, asks what a Caucus-race is, but apparently the best way to learn is to do, so the Dodo marks out an almost-circular race track. On the count of three, everybody starts running, however they like, for however long. The Dodo stops the race after about half an hour and considers who has won.

The animals have conflated the two meanings of the word “dry,” and the mouse tries to physically dry them by giving a boring, or “dry,” speech. The Dodo and the caucus-race are parodies of politics, as Carroll seems to suggest that the Dodo resembles a proud and ceremonious politician but the actual race is a jumble of animals running without direction and purpose and without any real effect, that is then treated as if it did have a purpose or “winner.”

After a great deal of thought, the Dodo announces that everybody has won and that Alice must give the prizes. Alice looks in her pocket and luckily finds a box of sweets and hands them around. The animals insist that she must also have a prize but all she has left is a thimble. The Dodo takes it and presents it ceremoniously to Alice. Alice bows in return, trying not to laugh at the Dodo’s solemnity. The animals attempt to eat their sweets with great difficulty.

Yet the winners turn out to be all of them because there is not criteria for judging anything, and the prizes are meager. And yet all of this ridiculousness is treated by the animals as being of great importance. They seem unable to understand the substance of things, focusing solely on the importance of surface actions (which isn’t a bad description of a lot of adult life, frankly). Alice has become the authority – she is like the adult in a room of children, and she is given a great deal of solemn respect by them all – they approach her humble candies as if they are delicacies. Alice is in her own category of person, neither child nor adult.

Then, Alice urges the Mouse to tell her his story. It is a sad tale, says the Mouse, which confuses Alice, thinking he is talking about his tail. The Mouse ignores her and goes on with the story, a rhyming tale about a judge-like feline character called Fury who puts a Mouse on trial. Part-way through, the Mouse stops to shout at Alice for not listening. The pair argues, and the Mouse, thinking Alice is talking nonsense, storms off. Alice and the animals call him back but he is too upset.

The Mouse’s story foreshadows later events at the Queen’s court of law, as a court of law in which a mouse is put on trial by a cat certainly isn’t going to provide true, fair justice. Issues of language continue to arise, making it difficult for Alice and the animals to communicate. Yet the Mouse’s anger at not being listened indicates just how important it is to people (or talking mice) to feel listened to.

They all wish the Mouse would come back. Alice misses Dinah the cat again – she thinks Dinah could easily bring the Mouse back to finish its story. One of the birds in the group wonders who Dinah is, and Alice excitedly describes the talented, bird-catching cat, which causes the birds in the group to make excuses and hurry off until Alice is left quite alone, thinking sadly of her beloved pet. She hears little feet approaching and hopes it is the Mouse.

It is instead the White Rabbit, looking for his fan and gloves. He is very worried about being late, thinking the Duchess will have him executed. Alice tries to find his things but the room has changed out of all recognition. The rabbit spots Alice and calls impatiently to her to fetch another pair of gloves and a fan from his house. He has taken her for his housemaid, she thinks, but she runs off in the direction of the rabbit’s home nevertheless.

The White Rabbit’s fears about execution raise the specter of both death and social hierarchy within the realm of Wonderland. That this is a rabbit worrying about such things makes it funny, but nonetheless the Rabbits fear is well. And then the Rabbit turns around and asserts that hierarchy against Alice, thinking she is a servant and ordering her around.

Alice soon arrives at a little house with ‘W. Rabbit’ on a plaque next to the door. Alice goes in without knocking. She considers how strange it is to be a rabbit’s messenger. She imagines what Dinah would say if she could order Alice around. She makes her way to a little dressing room and finds several pairs of gloves.
Alice finds it strange that she has wound up a rabbit’s servant, and that a rabbit should have a nice house and nice gloves. But Alice’s surprise raises a deeper question: why is anyone in the real adult world a servant to someone else; why does anyone have nice gloves?

Alice also finds a bottle of liquid – it is unlabeled but sure to make something interesting happen so she drinks it down. She hopes it’ll make her larger again. It certainly does, but she soon regrets drinking so much at once, because in a mere moment, she has filled the room and has one foot up the chimney. Alice thinks she would much rather be back at home. Everything is so very strange. She thinks she ought to write a book about it when she grows up, but then, confusingly, she is very big already.

Note how Alice conflates the ideas of size with the idea of growing up. For a child, the two are interchangeable, and the child tends to think that when they “get big” they will naturally become wiser and more knowledgeable too. But now Alice is big, and she’s just as confused as she was before. It’s also worth noting a deeper observation here, too, which is that even for real adults wisdom doesn’t necessarily come with size or growing up. Note also how, whenever Alice is particularly upset, she wants to go home, to regain the comfort of being a protected child as opposed to an adventurer out on her own in the world.

Alice has a conversation with herself about the pros and cons of never growing older, until she is interrupted by the White Rabbit impatient for his gloves. She hears the little feet pattering up the stairs and then hears the rabbit try to open the door, but Alice—huge now—is blocking it. She hears the rabbit mutter that he will instead try to go through the window so she puts her hand through and bats him away so that he falls into his vegetable garden. Alice hears the Rabbit angrily asking the gardener to remove the giant person from his house.

Growing up is occurring to Alice like a choice between two lives. She wonders if she will stay large but not get older. She thinks that she would like not to get old, but what if she will always have to learn lessons like a child? Both lives are unsatisfactory. Just as she is being attacked from the outside when the White Rabbit sees her as an intruder, she also attacks herself and sees herself as a kind of foreign object.

After a brief silence, Alice hears the sound of a cart and a group of the gardener’s animal friends getting out ladders and ropes, and someone called Bill being chosen to go down the chimney. Alice feels sorry for this Bill, having everything charged to him, but nevertheless, she puts her foot as far as it can go down the chimney and gives Bill a kick.

The White Rabbit suggests burning the house down, but Alice threatens to set Dinah on him. Then the animals try throwing pebbles in through the windows. To Alice’s surprise, some of the pebbles start turning into cakes. She thinks that eating one would surely make her smaller. She is delighted when she starts shrinking immediately. She runs out of the house, past Bill and the other animals, into the forest. She plans to find something to make her a little larger so that she can finally get into the garden.

Notice how Wonderland revolves around Alice and her experience. Edible, magical things seem to be planted for her at each new location, for example. We never see the other characters eating and becoming larger or smaller, this is a phenomenon reserved for Alice—Wonderland, as a product of her dream, is something that is focused solely around her.

But Alice doesn’t know how to become the right size. As she considers the problem, she is beckoned from a nearby tree, by a giant puppy. She coaxes the puppy down but then she realizes that such a giant and probably hungry puppy might rather eat her than play. She picks up a stick instead and the puppy leaps down and is very entertained by the stick, charging at it until he’s tired and closes his eyes, giving Alice the perfect getaway. Now Alice turns her attention to finding something to eat. She sees a huge mushroom, and thinks it might do the trick. She gets on tip-toes to see the top of it. Sitting on the mushroom is a Caterpillar, smoking a hookah pipe.

The Caterpillar lazily addresses Alice, by saying “Who are YOU?” Alice explains that she doesn’t know how to answer, having recently been so many different Alices. The Caterpillar won’t accept that as an answer, so she asks him shouldn’t he tell her who HE is first. The Caterpillar doesn’t see why.
This is a very significant question for Alice, disguised as a blasé inquiry from the sleepy creature. The Caterpillar cuts right to Alice’s main insecurity, her identity.

Alice turns away, but the Caterpillar calls her back and tells her he has something important to say. He tells her to keep her temper. Alice is starting to get very angry at this hypocritical creature, but she keeps her cool and waits for him to speak again. He takes his time, smoking the hookah leisurely before asking her about how she thinks she has changed. Alice says she can’t remember rhymes and things as she ought to. So the Caterpillar asks her to recite one called “You are old, Father William”. She recites the poem, but it is not quite right. The Caterpillar says it is completely wrong.

The Caterpillar acts like a kind of wise man or teacher, but the advice he gives is off-topic and hypocritical, or involves making Alice give her thoughts rather than providing any real insight of his own. Alice’s mind continues to be as fluid and non-stable as her body.

After another long pause, the Caterpillar wants to know what size Alice would like to be. Alice says she doesn’t have a particular preference and that it’s actually the constant changing between sizes that bothers her, but when pushed she says she would like to be bigger. The Caterpillar angrily suggests that three inches is the perfect size. But like many of Wonderland’s creatures the offence is as quick to fade, and he tells Alice that one side of the mushroom will make her taller and one side will make her smaller. Then he mysteriously crawls away.

Alice’s comment that it is the shifting of sizes rather than being either small or large that causes her the most trouble is an indication of how hard it can be to get a sense of yourself when you are undergoing change—such as growing up. The Caterpillar’s offense at Alice not wanting to be his size shows how prickly other people (or animals) can be about their identity.

Alice is left to examine the mushroom. Not knowing which side is which, she puts her arms around the mushroom’s trunk and grabs a piece with each hand and tries the first sample, but it makes her shrink even further – suddenly her head is touching her feet. So she gobbles down the other piece as fast as she can and feels her head become free of her feet. But it is her neck that is growing rather than the whole of her, and soon she is looming like a giraffe over the mushroom. She can’t even see her shoulders and hands. But she finds that her neck is marvelously flexible, and she can swoop it down towards the foliage below.

The bizarre dream world of Wonderland becomes even more bizarre as Alice nearly shrinks herself away and then sprouts into a kind of girl-giraffe.

As Alice swoops, a pigeon flaps into her, calling her a serpent. She insists she isn’t a serpent, but the pigeon is chattering away, describing how it is impossible to please the serpents and everything he has tried has failed, and just as he thought he was free, one comes flying out of the sky. Alice apologizes, but tells the pigeon she is only a little girl (though she seems to hardly believe it herself). The pigeon doesn’t believe her, and is sure she is looking for eggs to eat. She says that girls do eat eggs but she isn’t looking for any and the pigeon, still quite confused, tells her to stop bothering him then.

Alice and the pigeon engage in a conversation about identity. Underlying that conversation is an argument about what makes up one’s identity. From the pigeon’s point of view, if you have a long swooping neck and like eggs then you are a serpent. Alice contends in contrast that she is a little girl, but has no way to explain why or how she is a little girl. Of course, Alice is right and the pigeon is wrong, but the exchange does point to the slipperiness of the categories we use to define ourselves to ourselves or others.

Alice remembers the mushroom, and tries eating again. Bit by bit, she transforms herself into her old size and now sets out to find the garden as she’d planned. She comes to a tiny house instead and thinks she’ll go in, but not wanting to scare the owners, she eats some of the shrinking mushroom until she is nine inches high and approaches the house.

Alice stands outside, trying to decide what to do. She is interrupted by the appearance of two creatures, dressed like footmen, but with the faces of a fish and a frog. They are exchanging invitations. The Fish footman hands the Frog one from the Queen to the Duchess to play croquet and the Frog delivers the same invitation in reverse. Then the footmen bow and get their powdered curls tangled together. Alice laughs and dashes back into the forest so they can’t hear her. When she comes back, the Frog is sitting beside the door, looking mindlessly up at the sky.

The ridiculousness of a frog and a fish as footmen is just plain funny, first of all. But so is the idea of the two footmen delivering identical invitations to each other—it is as if both the Duchess and the Queen want to be able to take credit for the croquet event that both of them are going to, both want to be host. This again foregrounds and parodies the way that adults jockey for position, and try to make themselves look and be powerful, at each other’s expense (even as they give lessons to their children to not act that way at all).

When Alice approaches, The Frog tells her that there is no use knocking, because he is outside, and there is such a racket inside that no one would hear. Alice hears crashing and screaming coming from inside the house. Alice asks how she will get in, if knocking will do no good. The Frog replies indirectly that if she were inside, she could perhaps knock and he could let her out. He plans to sit where he is for the next day.

A number of times Alice has wished to go home when she was confronted by the strange rules or isolating failure to communicate when in Wonderland. Here is a Wonderland home—a domestic scene—but the comfort Alice expected to find in a “home” is missing. As if to hammer that home, the frog reverses the conventions of inside and outside, suggesting knocking to get out instead of in.

Just then, the door opens and a plate comes flying out, skimming the Frog’s head. He still will not give Alice a proper answer and she feels quite frustrated at everybody’s contrariness, so she lets herself in to the house, coming straight away into a kitchen, where a cook is stirring a cauldron and the Duchess is sitting, nursing a baby.

The scene inside is very domestic...

Everybody is sneezing because of the excessive amount of pepper the cook is putting in the soup; everybody except a cat, which sits on the hearth, smiling. Alice asks the group nervously why the cat is smiling, and the Duchess merely explains that it is a “Cheshire” cat and then shouts “Pig!” at her baby. Alice says she has never known a smiling cat, to which the Duchess insults her lack of knowledge, but before Alice can be much offended, the cook starts throwing things across the room, often hitting the Duchess and the child. Alice shouts at the cook to stop and the Duchess says angrily that the world would go round faster if people stopped interfering. The Duchess doesn’t want to talk about figures – she starts singing a lullaby to the baby and shaking it violently. Soon, the cook joins in the singing and the whole room is howling.

Then the Duchess throws the baby to Alice to nurse while she gets ready for the croquet match. With great difficulty, Alice figures out how to hold the baby and carries it outside, thinking it would be murder to leave it in the hands of the Duchess. Then she notices how pig-like the child really is, with a turned up snout. It starts grunting, and Alice reminds it that grunting is not a proper way to express itself. The child keeps grunting. Alice sees that it is definitely becoming more pig than baby, and sets it on the ground. She knows some other children who would be better as pigs, she thinks.

The Duchess’s relationship with the pig/baby is a mockery of all the kinds of mothering that Alice has learned is appropriate for mother/child relationship. It also seems likely that the pig/baby may not actually be related to the Duchess. Wildness and domesticity have become confused here, and Alice, always eager for things to belong to the right categories (as she’s been taught that they should), does the right thing in her eyes by replacing the pig to its natural environment. At the same time, Alice recognizes that she knows many children who themselves have pig-like attributes—in thinking this she is confusing categories of pig/child in much the same way as the pigeon confused the categories of girl/serpent.

The Cheshire Cat appears, grinning as before. Alice asks it which way to go. The Cat replies that the answer depends where she is trying to get to, but since Alice doesn’t mind, only that she gets somewhere, the Cat says that all directions lead to somewhere. Alice asks what kind of people she will find in each direction. The Cat points in one direction to a Hatter, and the other to a March Hare, both mad; everybody is mad here, he says, even Alice. He says he knows he is mad, because he does everything in an opposite way to a dog, who they agree is a very sane animal.

When Alice asks the Cheshire Cat which way she should go she is making an assumption that the Cat will understand that she is looking to go to the best or right place. The Cat, though, refuses to grant such an assumption or to privilege one place over another. In so doing, it makes clear the assumption Alice was originally making. The Cat proclaims that Alice must be mad because everyone in Wonderland is mad, and she is in Wonderland, has the formulation of a logical statement and yet it comes to an illogical end.

The Cat asks Alice if she is going to play croquet with the Queen today but Alice hasn’t been invited. Nevertheless, the Cat says he will see her there and proceeds to vanish. Moments later it appears again to ask what became of the baby. When Alice replies that the baby turned into a pig, he vanishes again, unsurprised.

The social etiquette of Wonderland is reminiscent of that in the real world—with get-togethers and invitations—and yet completely counter at the same time, in that the invitations don’t actually seem to matter.

Alice decides to go towards the March Hare, thinking a Hare is much more interesting than a Hatter, and shouldn’t be too mad, because it’s past March. As she sets off, the Cat appears again to check if Alice had said “pig” or “fig”, and then finally disappears from the tail up, leaving the smile without the cat for a moment. Alice goes off in the direction of the March Hare and soon spots the Hare’s house, which has a roof thatched with fur. She eats a little of the mushroom to grow bigger and nervously approaches the house.

Outside the house, a long table is set out on the grass, and three creatures, a Hatter, a Hare and a Dormouse, sit at one end, though as Alice approaches they insist there is no room for her. She sits down at the other end. The March Hare offers her a glass of wine, but she sees there is no wine and tells the hare off for being uncivil. It is Alice who has been uncivil by sitting down without an invitation, responds the Hare.

Again the novella puts Alice into a scene that in the real world would require a certain kind of etiquette—or the following of rules—and then has the creatures follow completely different, arbitrary rules while at the same time insisting on the importance of those rules. By doing so, Carroll is able to both generate humor and subtly question the value of the real world etiquette—why is it the way it is rather than another way?

They go on trading insults until the Hatter speaks up and asks “Why is a raven like a writing desk?” Alice is very glad to be given a riddle and is confident she can guess it. The Hatter thinks that “guessing” is not at all the same as “finding out the answer” and tells her off for not saying what she means, and the others join in berating her until they forget the riddle altogether.

The Mad Hatter’s riddle isn’t really answerable, and by being unanswerable it gives the Mad Hatter a kind of authority because one would naturally assume that he can answer it. Of course, in fact he can’t, which makes it not really a riddle. At the same time, the Mad Hatter berates Alice for saying “guess” when she means “find out the answer” because one could guess without being able to or having any intention of finding out the answer. The Mad Hatter is here insisting that Alice must be precise with her meaning, while not holding himself at all to the same standard. This is something that characters in Wonderland do all the time, as do people in the real world.

Then the Hatter gets out his pocket watch and asks Alice what day it is. The watch is two days off. He blames the Hare for putting butter in it. Alice is fascinated by the Hatter’s watch, which tells the month and not the hour. The Hatter thinks it is just as reasonable as Alice’s watch and argues with her nonsensically. Meanwhile the Dormouse has fallen asleep. Alice pours a little tea on its nose to wake it up.

The nature of time is put up for debate in this strange place. To Alice, who has learned to accept the conventions of time and time-keeping that she has learned above ground, the Hatter’s refusal to think of time so objectively is a further sign of his madness. And yet, what if we had twice as many minutes in a day that were all 30 seconds long? Our measures are conventions that are somewhat arbitrary, and the novella continuously points out this truth.

Alice remarks that they ought to do something better with their time than waste it on unanswerable riddles. At this the Hatter becomes very indignant. Time is a Him, not an It, he says. Alice says that she knows about Time, because she beats it when she plays music. This upsets the Hatter greatly. It reminds him of a time at the Queen’s concert, when he had to sing “Twinkle, Twinkle, little Bat”, an almost-recognizable nursery rhyme, and the Queen ordered his head to be cut off for “murdering Time”. This was in March and the Hare has been mad ever since. Now it is always six o’clock, so they keep the tea things out and rotate places around the table because there’s never any time to wash up.

The tea party has skirted some upsetting and dangerous territory with the Hatter’s madness and the Hare’s offensive comments to Alice, but now we also learn that the reason for the characters’ strange ritual of changing places every so often is because it is always six o’clock at their table ever since the March Hare went mad. This suggests to Alice that time can be subjective, it can appear differently to different people. Put bluntly: what Alice considered to be perhaps the most universal thing in the world is not necessarily universal –an illuminating lesson.

The Hatter changes the subject and wants Alice to tell them a story. Alice nominates the Dormouse instead, not knowing a story to tell. The Hatter tells the Dormouse to hurry, before he is asleep again, and the Dormouse obliges, with a very hurried story about three sisters who live down a well. Alice is very interested by this story and wants to know what they live on and why they live in a well. The Dormouse answers “Treacle” to each of these questions. The well is a treacle-well.

We certainly know that Alice has plenty of stories to tell, having heard her tell stories in her own head and aloud already, so why does she say to the Hatter that she doesn’t know any? Perhaps it is due to Alice’s difficulty remembering rhymes that makes her want not to try. But she does respond like a good audience to the Doormouse’s story; but the Doormouse’s story lacks all the conventions of the story: plot, details, etc.

Alice begins to get impatient with this implausible story and the Dormouse’s evasive answers. He says that the sisters were learning to draw in the well, things beginning with M, like “muchness”. Alice confesses that she has never seen a muchness, to which the Hatter scolds her for talking. This is the last straw. Alice leaves the tea-party and wanders back through the forest. She soon comes to a tree with a door in the trunk. She goes in, and finds herself in the long hall again, finds the key and the tiny door, and this time, she has all she needs to get into the beautiful garden.

Alice enters the beautiful garden and sees a rose tree, full of white roses, and a busy group of gardeners, painting the white roses red. They address each other by numbers, Seven accuses Five of splashing the paint and an argument escalates until the gardeners notice Alice and bow to her solemnly.

Alice's goal from the moment she looked through the little door, her purpose through all of her growing and shrinking, has been to get to the garden. It symbolizes the realization of her dreams. Now that she has entered the garden though, it is something less than paradise. It is tended by argumentative playing cards and flowers that looked so beautifully red from a distance are revealed to be painted that color. It is interesting that Alice is suddenly treated with respect by the cards (perhaps because she has a face and so is treated like a royal "face" card?).

Alice wants to know why they are painting the roses. The gardeners become very sheepish. Two admits that they planted a white rose tree by accident and are trying to amend their mistake before the Queen arrives. At that moment, they spot the Queen approaching and spread themselves on the floor before the Queen’s entourage arrives. This entourage is comprised of ten soldiers carrying clubs, ten courtiers wearing diamonds and ten royal children decorated with hearts. Next comes a slew of royal guests, with the Knave of Hearts and the White Rabbit and, lastly, the King and Queen of Hearts follow.

Further, it's made clear here that the gardeners are painting he flowers out of fear of the Queen. The social hierarchy that was hinted at by the White Rabbit's initial nervousness about the Queen now comes into view as the Queen and her royal procession, following a strict procession of rank, comes into view. Once again, as it is depicted in the novella with a bunch of cards playing the roles this hierarchy comes across as ridiculous, but the "real" world follows similar hierarchies.

Alice decides not to genuflect like the gardeners have done, and the Queen notices her and asks for her name. Alice decides she needn’t be afraid of a pack of cards and introduces herself. The Queen then asks who the cards on the floor are, and Alice boldly says that she has no idea. The Queen is outraged and orders Alice to be beheaded, to which Alice merely responds with “Nonsense!”

Alice has become bold – she thinks that the playing cards are a bit ridiculous spreading themselves on the floor and tells herself not to fear the Queen, who herself is paper thin. The Queen's threat reveals the foundation of her power—violence. At the same time, Alice's unpunished response reveals that the Queen's actual power is not so much in violence as the threat of violence.

The Queen lets the matter go and orders the gardeners to be overturned and to explain themselves, but before they can explain, she has ordered them to be beheaded. The cards run to Alice for protection and she puts them in a plant pot. The three soldiers whose job it is to behead are suitably confused and tell the Queen that they have done the job. The Queen then invites Alice to play croquet and takes her along with the procession. Alice walks beside the White Rabbit and asks him if he has seen the Duchess. The Rabbit swiftly shushes Alice – the Duchess has been sentenced to execution for boxing the Queen’s ears.

The Queen is the personification of injustice – she has no interest in reason or emotion, only in mindless killing of those who annoy her. Though there are comic moments in this scene, the sight of the playing cards cowering in a plant pot for example, and the Queen’s manic accusations too, there is a serious threat of death behind the comedy. That the Queen would then follow up her threats with invitations to play croquet hints at the way that violence and civilized pursuits are closely linked in the adult world.

As the Rabbit starts to explain the strange series of events, he is interrupted by the Queen ordering everybody to their places and a flurry of excitement as the cards double themselves over to make the arches and the flamingo that are the mallets and hedgehogs that form balls get ready. Alice has some trouble getting her flamingo tucked under her arm to strike the hedgehog, who also keeps rolling away. The rules of the game are also difficult to establish. Everyone plays at the same time and fights break out immediately and soon the Queen has ordered many beheadings. Alice wonders how anybody is left alive in the palace and tries to look for a way to escape.

This game of croquet is comprised of players and props that are similar to the paraphernalia of real croquet but awkward and unruly because the mallets and balls have wills of their own. What should be a light-hearted, fun activity becomes a cruel spectacle, as flamingos and hedgehogs are man-handled and beaten. And without rules or an endpoint, the game is even more of a confusing mess for Alice as she is pressured to join in.

Just then, the Cheshire Cat appears, and Alice waits for its ears to arrive, before telling it her qualms with the Queen’s version of croquet. The Cat asks what she thinks of the Queen, but the Queen passes at that moment so Alice compliments her on her skill. The King is curious about the Cheshire Cat, so Alice introduces them, but when the King offers his hand for the Cat to kiss, the Cat is uninterested and the King asks the Queen to have the creature removed. The Queen is happy to do so and orders its execution.

Alice is still careful not to offend the Queen—even though it is clear she does not like the Queen—whether out of fear or politeness is not clear. The Cat feels no such inclination, and is irreverent towards the King and doesn’t seem to really care about the threats of execution that are being fired at him. His constant mischievous smile is a sign of his refusal to play by the rules.

Alice goes back to the game and, finding the Queen’s accusations flying, goes in search of her hedgehog instead. She finds it fighting another hedgehog. She tries to get her flamingo so she can bat one of the hedgehogs away from the other, but it has taken refuge up a tree.

The chaos of the croquet game has reached a height now. There were no rules to begin with but now there are hardly any players and the animals are completely unruly to the point where they are almost wild again.

In the end, she gives up and goes back to the Cheshire Cat, who is causing quite a stir between the executioner, the King and the Queen because it's body has disappeared, leaving only its head behind. The executioner thinks he can’t behead something without a body, but the King thinks that you only need a head. The Queen, meanwhile, would like to behead everybody. Alice suggests getting the Duchess, since she owns the Cheshire Cat, but by the time the Duchess is fetched, the Cat has disappeared and everyone is searching for it.

The Duchess is very happy to see Alice – her mood is quite changed from earlier – and she takes Alice’s arm to walk around the garden. Alice thinks to herself how she would act as a Duchess. She would feed her baby with sweet things instead, to make it sweet. The Duchess notices that Alice has stopped listening and tells her off. She adds that there is a moral to her comment, but she can’t remember it. The Duchess is fond of morals and goes on to name several. She is just the right height to rest her chin on Alice’s shoulder and speak into her ear, which bothers Alice exceedingly.

The Duchess is friendly so long as she thinks that Alice is listening to her, and nasty as soon as she thinks Alice isn't. She is not interested in Alice, just in having someone listen to her. Her insistence that everything has a moral—while being unable to remember any—makes it clear that her viewpoint about morals is ridiculous. In fact, Carroll uses the Duchess to mock those adults who are always moralizing to children, both for the way that they intrude on children's lives and into children's physical space, and also because the belief that life has a moral is patently untrue--as the craziness of Wonderland attests. It's worth noting that Victorian England, when Carroll wrote the novella, was known for its self-righteous moralizing.

The Duchess says that is weary of putting her arm around Alice’s waist because of her flamingo’s temper. Flamingos bite, just like mustard, she says. Alice tells the Duchess that mustard isn’t a bird; it’s in fact a vegetable. The Duchess comes up with a very complicated moral for that lesson. The Duchess enjoys pleasing Alice and boasts about her powers of moralizing, until she suddenly trails off – the Queen has appeared before them, furious to see the Duchess with her head still on.

The exchange around mustard is further language play, as Alice confuses the Duchess's simile for an actual comparison. Alice, with her Victorian upbringing, has likely been taught that every story does have a moral, but the fact that the Duchess must cut off her boasting about her ability to moralize because she sees the Queen who wants to cut her head off for no good reason at all suggests that in fact there is no moral to life.

The Duchess runs off and they continue with the game, but there is so much cause for execution that the cards, which are needed to be the arches, are always disappearing to do the executing and quite soon, there are neither players nor arches left. The Queen asks Alice if she knows the Mock-Turtle (the thing Mock-Turtle soup is made from, she explains). Alice says she doesn’t, so the Queen takes her to see it. They meet a Gryphon on the way, a half-lion, half-eagle creature. The Queen leaves the Gryphon to guide Alice. The Gryphon seems very entertained by the Queen – he tells Alice that she never actually executes anybody.

The Queens love of violence, which is the foundation of her control, can easily get out of hand and transform the "civilized" activities into chaos. The Gryphon is the first character in Wonderland who is not terrified of the Queen. He is the first character who can see past the surface of things to the truth—in this case that the Queen's threats of violence never escalate to actual violence. His level of awareness about the world makes him a different kind of companion for Alice.

They find the Mock Turtle sitting on a rock, singing very sorrowfully. The Gryphon says that the Mock-Turtle isn’t really sad, it’s just his fancy, and announces Alice to him. She would like to hear his history. The Turtle says he will tell it, so they all sit down and wait. He is very slow to begin, but finally he begins by saying that he used to be a “real turtle”.

The Gryphon again sees past surface truths. Other characters in Wonderland (and Alice, probably) would hear the Mock-Turtle's sighs and think he is actually sad. The Gryphon knows that the Mock Turtle just enjoys seeming sad. At the same time, the Mock Turtle's story indicates that he is struggling with his identity just as Alice is. She has wondered if she was really still herself, just as the Mock Turtle now feels (or is) unreal.

This beginning is followed again by a long silence, filled only by the Mock Turtle’s sobbing and strange noises from the Gryphon. The Turtle continues eventually, telling them that at school, he was taught by an old Turtle whom they called Tortoise, because he “taught us”. Alice doesn’t see the logic here and the Turtle and Gryphon think she’s very simple. The Turtle goes on about his fine education. He one-ups the “extras” of music and French that Alice has learned at school by adding Washing to the list. He learned many other strange subjects, like Uglification, which the Gryphon explains for Alice, thinking she really is a simpleton.

The Mock-Turtle's boasts about his fine education parody how people often boast about their education: what great teachers they had, what amazing subjects they studied, how their school was better than other schools. Yet the touting of ridiculous "important" subjects like Washing and Uglification as being better than French and Music raises the question of what's so great about French and Music? Why not Spanish and Painting, or Japanese and Rugby? And yet the Gryphon and Mock Turtle believe that the critical classes are Washing and Uglification, and see Alice, because she did not study such things, as being dumb and unsophisticated. In other words, the value ascribed to these subjects is based on society's somewhat arbitrary decisions, but society treats them not as arbitrary but as absolute.

The Mock Turtle continues to list his classes and their masters. The Gryphon joins in – his Classics master was an old crab. The pair sighs to remember these old lessons. Alice asks how many lessons they had, and the Turtle replies that they had ten hours the first day and then of course they had fewer every day. Alice wonders about the twelfth day, but the Turtle is reluctant to explain and changes the subject.

The Mock Turtle is all choked up from sobbing, and the Gryphon shows Alice how he beats the Turtle’s back to help him clear his throat. The Turtle recovers, and tells Alice, since she has never lived in the sea, about a dance called a Lobster Quadrille. He explains that the first thing to do is line up along the shore. Two lines, one for sea creatures and one for Lobsters and then the partners must step towards each other. It begins just like a square dance but quickly becomes very elaborate, with the lobsters being flung into the sea.

At this point the Gryphon and the Mock-Turtle get very excited and propose to show Alice the dance. The Gryphon nominates the Turtle to sing. They begin dancing around Alice, occasionally treading on her toes, and the Turtle sings mournfully about a whiting and a snail dancing the Lobster Quadrille. When it is over, Alice politely compliments them on the song. The Turtle asks if she knows about whitings. She narrowly avoids telling him that she has eaten whiting before. The Gryphon explains that they always have their tails in their mouths, because they insist on flying out to sea with the lobsters.

Alice is very polite to her new friends. She knows just what to say, that it was a very interesting dance, even though she is relieved it’s over. Also compare her realization to avoid saying she has eaten whiting to her earlier insensitivity in talking about Dinah to the mouse and birds. She is beginning to be able to navigate social situation, to read between the lines and understand what will and won't make others unhappy or uncomfortable.

The Gryphon has lots more to say about the whiting. It tells Alice that it is called a Whiting because it “does the boots and shoes”. She figures her own shoes must have been done by blacking. Shoes under the sea are different, says the Gryphon, they are made of soles and eels. Alice goes back to the song, in which a porpoise is always treading on the whiting’s tail. The Mock-Turtle tells her wisely that no whiting ever travels without a porpoise. Alice thinks this is dubious and the Gryphon changes the subject, asking Alice about her adventures.

The Gryphon speaks with absolute conviction, so much so that Alice is taken in by his bizarre explanations for the names of things. Meanwhile, all of his explanations are puns : "eels" instead of "heels", "porpoise" instead of "purpose". Note that all of the other characters have wanted to tell Alice about them, but never were much interested in Alice. This is the first such instance, and seems to imply that the Gryphon and Mock Turtle might be more authentic friends for Alice.

Alice says she can describe her adventures from this morning, but that yesterday she was a different person entirely. The Gryphon wishes only to hear the adventures – explanations bore him – so Alice tells them both the story from the beginning. They listen intently. They are very interested in the part about the Caterpillar, and they tell her to recite another rhyme to see if she has forgotten it. Alice is getting quite fed up of animals ordering her about but she tries it. It comes out all mixed up. “Uncommon nonsense”, the Turtle calls it.
Alice seems to be implying here that her adventure in Wonderland has changed her, made her a new person. The Gryphon and Mock Turtle pay close attention, again giving the impression of truly caring, but what becomes evident is that they are interested in the story, not in Alice. They are interested that she can't remember rhymes, not how she feels about that fact. They treat her as an object of interest, not as a person. Meanwhile, Alice is getting fed up with all of these animals telling her what to do.

Alice feels miserable again. She wishes things could be as before. But the Gryphon and the Turtle keep interrogating her about the rhyme and ask her for the next verse. She goes on though she really doesn’t want to. It comes out awfully and the Gryphon and Turtle are very confused, so they tell her to stop and decide to sing again instead.
The focus on what she can't do, on what she's getting wrong, on how she's changed has made Alice sad. Alice's sense of self really rests on her memory and familiar things.

The Turtle sighs and begins, in a mournful tone, singing a song about soup. They enjoy themselves immensely but before the Mock Turtle can begin a repeat of the chorus, the Queen’s voice is heard in the distance, announcing the beginning of “the trial”, and the Gryphon pulls Alice after him, leaving the Turtle singing plaintively on the rock.

The arrive at the court, where the King and Queen are seated on thrones and the kingdom is assembled and there is a table of tasty-looking tarts in the center – the court is just as Alice remembers courts described in the books she’s read. She can tell that the man in the wig is the judge. It also happens to be the King.

The court looks real and official to Alice—just as she thinks it should look based on the things she's learned and read. She seems to think, too, that it will run like a real court, dispensing justice impartially, providing a logic and fairness—a rules were rules exist and are followed—that are absent in the rest of Wonderland. That the King is the judge clues the reader in that this will certainly not be the case. By presenting a trial that Alice thinks will finally provide order and justice, and then making that trial ridiculous, Carroll suggests that law in the real world, too, may not operate as purely and cleanly as Alice naively and innocently thinks it does.

Alice points out to the Gryphon the twelve jurors, who are all birds and other creatures and are busy writing things on slates. They are writing down their names, the Gryphon tells her, else they might forget them before the trial is over. “Stupid things!” says Alice, and the King calls for order in the court. The jurors proceed to write “stupid things” on their slates in all kinds of spellings. She also notices that one of them has a squeaky pencil, which won’t do at all, so she sneaks up behind him and steals it so that he must write with his finger for the rest of the trial.
The image of the jurors writing on their slates conjures the idea of serious people taking notes in order to ensure they are ready to give a fair verdict. The reality that they are writing down their own names puts the lie to that initial image, and severely outrages Alice's sense of how a trial should be. Alice steals the one jurors pencil in order to maintain the decorum of the trial, to make the trial seem more like what she thinks a trial should be.

The King finally calls the White Rabbit to start the proceedings. The Rabbit unravels a scroll and reads the accusation that the Knave of Hearts has stolen the tarts that the Queen made. He calls the first witness, the Hatter, who comes in still finishing his tea and bread. The King tells the Hatter to remove his hat. The Hatter explains that the hat is not his to remove, as he doesn't own the hats but instead sells them. The King and Queen are very suspicious of the Hatter. The King warns him not to be nervous or he will be executed on the spot.

The trial begins normally enough. But with the Hatter's entrance as a witness the sense of the trial as a logical, justice-infused affair immediately disappears. First the King and Hatter become confused over the word "his," which the Hatter interprets over-technically. Yet the King's response is over-the-top and impossible—to threaten to behead someone if they act nervous is certain to make them nervous, of course.

Alice feels a strange sensation and realizes that she’s growing again. The Dormouse notices the bench becoming tighter and tells her to stop. She retorts that he is growing too, but the Dormouse insists his kind of growing is normal, and skulks away from Alice. Meanwhile the Hatter is getting terribly nervous. The King orders him to give his evidence at once. The Hatter begins, saying that he is a poor man, and describes a particular tea party, and the thinness of his bread and the twinkling of the tea. The March Hare anticipates that he will soon be accused of something and proactively denies it.

Alice’s growing is no longer determined by her eating and drinking or by some other catalyst object like the White Rabbit’s gloves, her body suddenly grows of its own accord – this is the scary part of growing up for any child, the feeling of being out of control of your own body. Meanwhile, the animals such as the Doormouse are all anxious to avoid drawing attention to themselves while the Hatter becomes visibly nervous on the stand and the March Hare proactively defends himself against what seems like it will be a false implication from the Hatter to save himself—in other words, the very violent "justice" promised by the court warps the testimony of those in the court.

Alice forgets that she has been growing all this time, and as she hurriedly leaves her seat, she sends the jurors flying, which reminds her of an incident with some goldfish she once had, so she feels that the jurors must be replaced quickly before they run out of air. The King orders the jurors to be immediately replaced. In her panic, Alice has put the lizard juror in upside down. She puts him back and, though the jurors are in a great deal of shock, they rush to try to catch up with their slate writing.

Alice continues to play by the rules of the trial. Even though she knows that the jurors are useless as jurors—that they can't even remember their own names—it is important to her that they be in the right place (and right side up).

The King begins by asking Alice what she knows of this affair. Alice says she knows nothing. The King thinks this is very important and the jurors scribble frantically. The White Rabbit intercedes, commenting that the King actually means “unimportant.” The King agrees, muttering the words “important” and “unimportant” to himself.

The King repeats the words “important” and “unimportant”, considering which to use, even though they are opposites, showing that he really has no concept of meaning as Alice understands it. To him, a word that it only two letters different must be very similar.

The King has also scribbled something in a notebook – he calls for silence and announces that anybody more than a mile high must leave the court. He protests that Alice is a mile high but Alice refuses to leave. She says she will not abide by rules that people make up on the spot. The King tells the jurors to make a decision.

With the King's sudden new rule about height and the court, suddenly Alice is the subject of the arbitrary nature of the court. In response, she makes a major step: she refuses to obey the rules, having now recognized just how arbitrary the rules are, how much they are designed simply to maintain control and not to offer any kind of fairness.

But the White Rabbit has further evidence to show, in the form of a letter, which he takes to have been written by the Knave. He opens the letter and finds that the paper holds a set of verses, not in the Knave’s handwriting. The King believes the knave must have imitated someone else’s hand. The Knave insists he did nothing of the sort, and anyway, he protests, there is no signature. The King takes this to be a sure sign of guilt, and the Queen agrees. The crowd at the trial applauds.

The way things appear and sound is far more important in Wonderland than the meaning behind them, for example when the King suggests that the Knave’s not signing the letter proves his guilt, because an honest man would have put his name to it, he receives applause from the court because it sounds like an intelligent comment even though it is actually illogical.

Alice sticks up for the Knave – she thinks they must first read the verses to see what they are about. So the White Rabbit reads the verses. They seem to be entirely unrelated to the case, but the King thinks they sound very important so he asks the jurors again to consider their verdict. Alice is now big enough that she is not scared to interrupt the King and proclaims that the evidence is meaningless.

Alice has spent the novella trying to figure out and play by the rules of Wonderland in order to understand it. But now as the trial reveals the full illogic of those running the court even as a character's life hangs in the balance, Alice asserts that there is no meaning to the poem read at the trial. It is unclear if she feels emboldened to make such a proclamation because of her great size, or if her size is a function of her gaining the understanding that Wonderland is meaningless and that she, as its dreamer, can see that meaninglessness.

The King ponders this idea, but senses that there is some meaning in it. He picks a phrase from the verses, about not being able to swim, and asks the Knave if this is true. The Knave, being a playing card, obviously cannot swim, and the King is satisfied. But then he picks out another phrase that seems to suggest that the Knave gave the tarts to someone. Alice finds another that suggests the tarts were returned. At this, the King spots the table of tarts in the center of the court and is convinced. He also finds another line about the “she” in the poem having a fit, which, he claims, doesn’t “fit” the Queen at all.

The way the King and Alice pick apart the piece of evidence, which on the face of it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with the Knave stealing the Queen’s tarts, is reminiscent of a kind of literary analysis of a poem or a difficult piece of text. Each phrase can be fit to the situation at hand. The King fits each “I” and “she” and “they” to characters in the court but this connection is entirely invented. Working in such a way, the King could connect any text to the circumstances of the trial, picking and choosing evidence that "fits."

The King tells the jury to yet again consider their verdict. The Queen thinks the sentence should come before the verdict, to which Alice complains that she is talking nonsense. The Queen orders Alice’s head to be cut off, but Alice, now quite a giant, has no fear and shouts “You’re nothing but a pack of cards!” At this she tumbles into a fight with the cards and wakes up on the bank, as her sister brushes some fallen leaves from her face. ( )
  bostonwendym | Jul 18, 2016 |
This story is ridiculous.
The plot makes absolutely no sense. Alice and all the others characters are quite frankly completely insane.
But then you get to the very last 3 pages and you realise that that's how it's meant to be. For me this is a perfect reflection of how a child's mind works when it's still pure and boundless and that's really amazing...
Read it, it's might be crazy but it is certainly beautiful. ( )
  FilipaCorreia | Jun 30, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 292 (next | show all)
Ingpen's art brings something genuinely new to it, a cloudlike insubstantiality tinged with a little bit of thunderhead.
added by lampbane | editBoing Boing, Cory Doctorow (Dec 2, 2009)
It's just a delicious, borderline hallucinatory, confection of a book. Invention and imagination tumble over each other in the excitement, and there is something in there to delight every reader. There are countless plays on words (the mouse giving a very dry lecture on William the Conqueror to restore those who have been soaked by Alice's gigantic tears is the one that, for some reason, pleased me most), verbal pyrotechnics and semantic shenanigans to please the "ordinary" reader. And although they entirely passed me by at the time, I know now from various more scientifically-minded friends that their childish interests snagged on the mathematician author's various numerical and logic puzzles.
added by Cynfelyn | editThe Guardian, Lucy Mangan (Oct 10, 2009)

» Add other authors (1377 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Carroll, Lewisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tenniel, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Andriesse-van de Zande, GonneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Arthur RackhamForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Attwell, Mabel LucieIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
尚紀, 柳瀬Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barro, TeresaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Browne, AnthonyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dautremer, RébeccaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dautremer, RebeccaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dobson, AustinForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Engelsman, SofiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fanu, Brinsley LeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garcia, Camille RoseIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ghiuselev, IassenIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Goodacre, Selwyn H.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hague, MichaelIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hall, DavidIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hopp, ZinkenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ingpen, RobertIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jansson, ToveIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kearney, E.L.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kincaid, JamesPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lipchenko, OlegIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mann, EleonoraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maraja, LibicoIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Matsier, NicolaasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Matthews, RodneyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morrison-Smyth, AnneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moser, BarryIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nabokov, VladimirTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oven-van Doorn, M.C. vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oxenbury, HelenIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Oxenbury, HelenIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pérez-Barreiro, FernandoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peake, MervynIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pogany, WillyIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Porter, DavinaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Raa, R. tenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rackham, ArthurIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rountree, HarryIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Seelbach-Caspari, BrigitteIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Self, WillIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Steadman, RalphIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Strasser, IngridTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Swan, AnniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tarrant, Margaret W.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tenniel, JohnIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
van Sandwyk, CharlesIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Weevers, PeterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
West, WallaceIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woodward, Alice B.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zeeuw, P. de (J.Gzn)Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zimmermann, AntonieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Zwerger, LisbethIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Is contained in

Is a retelling of

Is retold in

Has the (non-series) sequel

Is an adaptation of

Has the adaptation

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland: A Pop-up Adaptation by Robert Sabuda

Alice in Wonderland [1951 animated film] by Clyde Geronimi

Is abridged in

Is an expanded version of

Is expanded in

Is parodied in


The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin

Automated Alice by Jeff Noon

Alice in Sunderland by Bryan Talbot

Alice in Quantumland by Robert Gilmore

Fantastic Alice by Margaret Weis

Alice in Puzzle-Land by Raymond Smullyan

Black Alice by Thomas Disch

Tjeempie!, of Liesje in Luiletterland : (in eigen nieuwe spelling) by Remco Campert

Alice's World by Sam J. Lundwall

Davy and the Goblin by Charles E. Carryl

Alice in Pastaland: A Math Adventure by Alexandra Wright

The Alice in Wonderland Cookbook: A Culinary Diversion by John Fisher

Alice's Adventures in Cambridge by R. C. Evarts

The Westminster Alice by Saki

Alice Through the Pillar-box and What She Found There: A Philatelic Phantasy by Gerald M. King

Alice's Pop-up Theatre Book by Nick Denchfield

Alice Redux: New Stories of Alice, Lewis and Wonderland by Richard Peabody

Alice In Chains by Adriana Arden

The Obedient Alice (Nexus) by Adrianna Arden

Adolf in Blunderland by James Dyrenforth

Alice Eats Wonderland by August A. Imholtz, Jr.

Malice in Kulturland by Horace Wyatt

Alice in Bushland: Fact and Fantasy in the Bush Administration by Peggy Wireman

Abandoned Alice by Adriana Arden

Alice vs. Wunderland by Christian von Aster

Tea Party in the Kingdom of Hearts by Kazuko Furumiya

Alice's adventures in Atomland in the Plastic Age: A stark fantasy by Richard M. Field

'Another Alice book, please!' by A.L. Gibson

A Question of Time by Ora Ben Nun

Alice i Eventyrland [sound recording] by Jørgen Jersild

Frankie in Wonderland : With apologies to Lewis Carroll, the originator and pre-Historian of the New Deal by A. Tory

Perverse Alice : Conte érotique pour adulte by Silvio Cadelo

Alice in Welfareland by Christopher Gilmore

Alice's Adventures in Obamaland by Carroll Lewis

Has as a reference guide/companion

Has as a study

Has as a student's study guide

Has as a teacher's guide

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All in the golden afternoon
Full leisurely we glide;
For both our oars, with little skill,
By little arms are plied,
While little hands make vain pretense
Our wanderings to guide

Ah, cruel Three! In such an hour,
Beneath such dreamy weather,
To beg a tale of breath too weak
To stir the tiniest feather!
Yet that can one poor voice avail
Against three tongues together!

[plus another five verses]
First words
Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, "and what is the use of a book," thought Alice, "without pictures or conversations?"
And she tried to fancy what the flame of a candle looks like after the candle is blown out, for she could not remember ever having seen such a thing.
'Curiouser and coriouser!' cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English); ...
How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!

How cheerfully he seems to grin,
How neatly spread his claws,
And welcome little fishes in
With gently smiling jaws!
'Ahem!' said the Mouse with an important air, 'are you all ready? This is the driest thing I know. Silence all round, if you please! "William the Conqueror, whose cause was favoured by the pope, was soon submitted to by the English, who wanted leaders, and had been of late much accustomed to usurpation and conquest. Edwin and Morcar, the earl of Mercia and Northumbria -"'
'You are old, Father William,' the young man said,
'And your hair has ecome very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head -
Do you think, at your age, it is right?'

[plus another seven verses]
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This is the unabridged "Alice in Wonderland", a separate work from "Through the Looking Glass" - also, please do not combine with any abridged edition or adaptation.
Publisher's editors
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Book description
In the most renowned novel by English author Lewis Carroll, restless young Alice literally stumbles into adventure when she follows the hurried, time-obsessed White Rabbit down a hole and into a fantastical realm where animals are quite verbose, logic is in short supply, and royalty tends to be exceedingly unpleasant. Each playfully engaging chapter presents absurd scenarios involving an unforgettable cast of characters, including the grinning Cheshire Cat and the short-tempered Queen of Hearts, and every stop on Alice's peculiar journey is marked by sharp social satire and wondrously witty wordplay.
With drawn screens, animation and music. The viewer can follow the story and answer questions or follow the story and see animations.
Haiku summary
"Down the rabbit hole,
Alice ponders madness that
unfolds strange places"

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 144042909X, Paperback)

Source of legend and lyric, reference and conjecture, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is for most children pure pleasure in prose. While adults try to decipher Lewis Carroll's putative use of complex mathematical codes in the text, or debate his alleged use of opium, young readers simply dive with Alice through the rabbit hole, pursuing "The dream-child moving through a land / Of wonders wild and new." There they encounter the White Rabbit, the Queen of Hearts, the Mock Turtle, and the Mad Hatter, among a multitude of other characters--extinct, fantastical, and commonplace creatures. Alice journeys through this Wonderland, trying to fathom the meaning of her strange experiences. But they turn out to be "curiouser and curiouser," seemingly without moral or sense.

For more than 130 years, children have reveled in the delightfully non-moralistic, non-educational virtues of this classic. In fact, at every turn, Alice's new companions scoff at her traditional education. The Mock Turtle, for example, remarks that he took the "regular course" in school: Reeling, Writhing, and branches of Arithmetic-Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision. Carroll believed John Tenniel's illustrations were as important as his text. Naturally, Carroll's instincts were good; the masterful drawings are inextricably tied to the well-loved story. (All ages) --Emilie Coulter

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:23 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

A little girl falls down a rabbit hole and discovers a world of nonsensical and amusing characters.

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Legacy Library: Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll has a Legacy Library. Legacy libraries are the personal libraries of famous readers, entered by LibraryThing members from the Legacy Libraries group.

See Lewis Carroll's legacy profile.

See Lewis Carroll's author page.

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65 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

4 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141439769, 0141023554, 0141808330, 0141194758

Candlewick Press

An edition of this book was published by Candlewick Press.

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Templar Books

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Tantor Media

2 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 1400100658, 1400108586

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