Reconsidering Classic Tales with Alice in Wonderland

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Written by Frankie Cameron

Are you a fan of Alice in Wonderland? What appeals to you? Is it the crazy characters, timeless story or inspiring quotes? In this post, we will explore the classic tale and some of the best quotes.

The story Alice in Wonderland has been around since 1865 and has been in print since that date. It was originally called Alice’s Adventures Under Ground. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, the pseudonym for Lewis Carroll, wrote the story. They have translated the book into 178 different languages.

Alice in Wonderland

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The Story

Has it been a while since you read Alice in Wonderland? I’ve got you covered with each chapter summarized below.

Chapter One: Down the Rabbit Hole

After a riverside stroll with her older sister, Alice sits on the riverbank. She notices a talking white rabbit in clothes with a pocket watch running past. She follows it down the rabbit hole until she finds herself in a strange long hall with many locked doors. A key allows her to enter a door that is too narrow for her, but through it, she sees a beautiful garden. Then, upon discovering a bottle with the label “DRINK ME,” she becomes too small to reach the key that she had left on the table because of the contents of the bottle. Towards the end of the chapter, she eats a cake inscribed with the words “EAT ME.”.

Chapter Two: The Pool of Tears

As the chapter opens, Alice has grown to such a size that her head hits the ceiling. Her tears literally fill the hallway as Alice cries. She swims through her own tears and meets a mouse who is swimming as well. Alice attempts to converse with him in French, believing he may be a French mouse. However, her opening question, “Where is my cat?”, offends the mouse, who then tries to escape her.

Chapter Three: The Caucus Race and a Long Tale

Other animals and birds are swept into the sea of tears by the rising waters. A group of animals gather on a bank and Alice asks the others how they can get dry again. The mouse gives them a boring lecture on William the Conqueror. A dodo decides that the best way to dry themselves off would be to run in a Caucus-Race, in which everyone runs in a circle with no clear winner. Alice ends up scaring away all the animals unwittingly by talking about her (ferocious) cat.

Chapter Four: The Rabbit Sends in a Little Bill

The White Rabbit returns in search of the Duchess’s gloves and fan. Rabbit mistook Alice for his maidservant, Mary Ann, and told her to fetch them. She finds another tiny bottle inside the house and drinks from it, immediately growing again. The horrified Rabbit orders his gardener, Bill the Lizard, to go up the chimney and down the roof. Outside, Alice hears the voices of animals that have gathered to gawk at her giant arm. The crowd hurls pebbles at her, which turn into little cakes. Alice eats them, and they reduce her again in size.

Chapter Five: Advice from a Caterpillar

Alice comes upon a mushroom and sitting on it is a blue caterpillar who is smoking a hookah. Caterpillar questions Alice, who admits to her current identity crisis, compounded by her inability to remember a poem. Before crawling away, the caterpillar tells Alice that one side of the mushroom will make her taller and the other side will make her shorter. She breaks off two pieces from the mushroom. One side makes her shrink smaller than ever, while another causes her neck to grow high into the trees, where a pigeon mistakes her for a serpent. With some effort, Alice brings herself back to her normal height. She stumbles upon a small estate and uses the mushroom to reach a more appropriate height.

Chapter Six: Pig and Pepper

A fish footman has an invitation for the Duchess, which he delivers to a frog-footman. Alice observes this transaction and, after a perplexing conversation with the frog, lets herself into the house. The Duchess’s Cook is throwing dishes and making a soup that has too much pepper, which causes Alice, the Duchess, and her baby to sneeze violently. The Duchess gives Alice the baby and, to Alice’s surprise, the baby turns into a pig. The Cheshire Cat appears in a tree, directing her to the March Hare’s house. He disappears but his grin remains behind to float on its own in the air, prompting Alice to remark that she has often seen a cat without a grin but never a grin without a cat.

Chapter Seven: A Mad Tea-Party

Alice becomes a guest at a “mad” tea party along with the March Hare, the Hatter and an exhausted Dormouse who falls asleep frequently, only to be violently awakened moments later by the March Hare and the Hatter. The characters give Alice many riddles and stories. The Hatter reveals that they have tea all day because Time has punished him by eternally standing still at 6 pm (tea time). Alice becomes insulted and tired of being bombarded with riddles and she leaves, saying it is the stupidest tea party that she has ever been to.

Chapter Eight: The Queen’s Croquet Ground

Alice leaves the tea party and enters the garden where she comes upon three living playing cards painting the white roses on a rose tree red because the Queen of Hearts hates white roses. A procession of more cards, kings and queens and even the White Rabbit enters the garden. Alice then meets the King and Queen. The Queen, a figure difficult to please, introduces her signature phrase “Off with his head!” which she utters at the slightest dissatisfaction with a subject. They ordered Alice to play a game of croquet with the Queen and the rest of her subjects, but the game quickly descends into chaos. They used live flamingos as mallets and hedgehogs as balls, and Alice once again meets the Cheshire Cat. The Queen of Hearts then orders the Cat to be beheaded, only to have her executioner complain that this is impossible since he can only see his head. Because the cat belongs to the Duchess, the Queen releases the Duchess from prison to resolve the matter.

Chapter Nine: The Mock Turtle’s Story

They bring the Duchess to the croquet ground at Alice’s request. She thinks about finding morals in everything around her. The Queen of Hearts dismisses her on the threat of execution and she introduces Alice to the Gryphon, who takes her to the Mock Turtle. The Mock Turtle is very sad, even though he has no sorrow. He tries to tell his story about how he used to be a real turtle in school, which the Gryphon interrupts so they can play a game.

Chapter Ten: Lobster Quadrille

The Mock Turtle and the Gryphon dance to the Lobster Quadrille, while Alice recites (rather incorrectly) ‘Tis the Voice of the Lobster. The Mock Turtle sings them “Beautiful Soup” during which the Gryphon drags Alice away for an impending trial.

Chapter Eleven: Who Stole the Tarts?

Alice attends a trial for the Knave of Hearts, who is accused of stealing the Queen’s tarts. They composed the jury of various animals, including Bill the Lizard, the White Rabbit is the court’s trumpeter, and the judge is the King of Hearts. During the proceedings, Alice finds she is steadily growing larger. The dormouse scolds Alice and tells her she has no right to grow at such a rapid pace and takes up all the air. Alice scoffs and calls the dormouse’s accusation ridiculous because everyone grows and she cannot help it. Meanwhile, witnesses at the trial include the Hatter, who displeases and frustrates the King through his indirect answers to the questioning, and the Duchess’s cook.

Chapter Twelve: Alice’s Evidence

Alice is then called up as a witness. She accidentally knocks over the jury box with the animals inside them and the King orders the animals to be placed back into their seats before the trial continues. The King and Queen order Alice to be gone, citing Rule 42 (“All persons more than a mile high to leave the court”), but Alice disputes their judgement and refuses to leave. She argues with the King and Queen of Hearts over the ridiculous proceedings, eventually refusing to hold her tongue, only to say, “It’s not that I was the one who stole the tarts.” Finally, the Queen confirms Alice was the culprit responsible for stealing the tarts after all (which automatically pardons the Knave of Hearts of his charges), and shouts, “Off with her head!”, but Alice is unafraid, calling them just a pack of cards; although Alice holds her own for a time, the card guards soon gang up and swarm all over her. Alice’s sister wakes her up from a dream, brushing what turns out to be some leaves and not a shower of playing cards from Alice’s face. Alice leaves her sister on the bank to imagine all the curious happenings for herself.

Quotes from Alice in Wonderland

Here are some of my favorite quotes from Alice in Wonderland. I have written how I interpret each one, but because writing is subjective, you may infer something totally different.

Begin at the beginning, the King said, very gravely, and go on till you come to the end: then stop

My Take: Although life is not a straight path, you need to have a starting point and know the direction you are headed so you can get there.

Curiouser and curiouser!

My Take: Be curious, and ask questions when you don’t understand something.

Everything is funny, if you can laugh at it.

My Take: You can always find a reason to laugh even when the sky is falling on your head.

I don’t think — Then you shouldn’t talk.

My Take: Think before you speak. If you don’t, you could say something inappropriate or hurtful.

If everybody minded their own business, the world would go around a great deal faster than it does.

My Take: Worry about yourself and what you can accomplish instead of wondering what everyone else is up to. Comparison is a thief of joy.

I’m not strange, weird, off, nor crazy, my reality is just different from yours.

My Take: Not everyone sees things the same way. Two people can have the same experience and come away with different takes.

If you don’t know where you are going any road can take you there.

My Take: You need to have a goal or something to work towards otherwise you will just drift through life without purpose.

It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.

My Take: There is no use looking back at the past. Live in the moment and look at the future.

We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad

My Take: Mad isn’t necessarily bad. Embrace your weirdness. Life is crazy. You might as well enjoy it.

Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

My Take: To me, this quote means if you believe in something, you can achieve it. Believe in the impossible things, follow your dreams and open your mind.

Final Thoughts

I hope this blog has brought back some of your childhood memories. What are your favourite quotes? Let me know in the comments.

Until next time

Frankie 

 

Feature photo from Free Clip Art.

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