Let’s go down the rabbit hole!
Lewis Carroll says that’s where “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” start!
Who Should Read “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”? And Why?
Especially everybody’s children!
It’s one of those books.
Those very few books.
Lewis Carroll Biography
Lewis Carroll is the pen name of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, an English writer, mathematician, Anglican deacon, and photographer.
He is possibly the foremost author in the genre of literary nonsense, best remembered for his “Alice” novels: “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass.”
Both of them include equally famous nonsense poems, such as, for example, “The Jabberwocky.” “The Hunting of the Snark (An Agony in 8 Fits)” is another classic in the genre written by the brilliant Carroll.
First of all, it’s not “Alice in Wonderland” but “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”
Secondly – it has very little to do with Tim Burton’s 2010 movie.
And, thirdly, most of its adaptations – and, believe us, there are many! – merge “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” with its sequel, “Through the Looking-Glass.”
Yes, even the one which has firmly engraved the images of its characters in your brain:
Anyway, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” – the one Lewis Carroll wrote and published in 1865 – consists of 12 chapters.
Let’s summarize them, one by one.
Chapter One: Down the Rabbit Hole
Alice, a seven-year-old girl, is sitting on the riverbank with her elder sister, trying to wrap her head around the idea of her sister reading a book “without pictures or conversations”!
Suddenly, a talking white rabbit with a pocket watch runs past her.
She does what you would do to if a fully clothed white rabbit runs close by you shouting: “Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late”: namely, she follows it down a rabbit hall.
She falls a long way and ends up in a curious hall, surrounded with many locked doors. She finds a key, but both the key and the door it’s supposed to unlock are too small for her.
So, she leaves the key on the table where she finds a bottle labeled “DRINK ME.”
Alice does exactly what you shouldn’t do if you find such a bottle: she actually drinks it.
And, in a second, she shrinks – but now she’s too small to reach the key on the table!
Fortunately, below it, there’s a little glass box with a very small “EAT ME” cake.
Can you guess what Alice would do?
That’s right: she eats the cake.
Chapter Two: The Pool of Tears
You already know the effect:
Alice is now extremely large – and her head hits the ceiling.
She’s unhappy about how things turned out, so she starts crying – and her large tears flood the hallway.
The White Rabbit appears once again, and Alice startles him, so he drops the white kid gloves and the fan it’s carrying.
Alice starts fanning herself and shrinks down again, which essentially means that she now needs to swim through the pool of her own tears.
Chapter Three: The Caucus Race and a Long Tale
Alice manages to swim out of the sea of tears and joins a group of animals who have done the same.
They seem to face a new problem now: how to effectively get dry again.
A Dodo suggests a Caucus-Race – which, essentially, means running around in circles until nobody wins.
Unfortunately, Alice loses all of her newfound friends – mostly, small animals and birds – the minute she starts talking about the exploits of her cat named Dinah.
Chapter Four: The Rabbit Sends a Little Bill
Alice starts to cry but stops once she sees the White Rabbit yet again. He seems to be looking for the Duchess’s gloves and fan.
For some reason, the White Rabbit confuses Alice with his maidservant, Mary Ann, and he orders her to go into the house and retrieve the fan and the gloves.
However, once Alice gets inside the house, she starts growing once again and gets stuck inside.
The Rabbit and his animal friends try to get her out by throwing pebbles at her and – interestingly – the plan works: the pebbles turn into cakes, and once Alice eats them, she shrinks again.
Chapter Five: Advice from a Caterpillar
Alice goes into the woods, and there she meets a blue Caterpillar.
The Caterpillar is smoking a hookah and acts a bit rudely.
However, Alice manages to get his attention eventually and explains to him that she’s started forgetting things.
After failing his test – Alice is unable to remember the words of the poem “You are old, Father William” – the Caterpillar teaches Alice how she can control her size, by eating different chunks of different pieces of a mushroom.
One side enlarges her, and the other shrinks her.
Alice tries this – and, lo and behold, readjusts her size back to normal!
Chapter Six: Pig and Pepper
At the edge of the wood, Alice sees a house.
As she approaches it, she notices a Fish-Footman delivering an invitation to a Frog-Footman: “For the Duchess. An invitation from the Queen to play croquet,” says the Fish-Footman.
After a strange conversation with the Frog, Alice enters the house.
There, she finds the Duchess, her Cook, and a baby.
And also – the grinning Cheshire-Cat which has a strange habit of appearing and disappearing.
By the end of the chapter, Alice takes the baby which then transforms into a pig, and the Cheshire-Cat starts vanishing slowly leaving behind it only its grin:
‘Well! I’ve often seen a cat without a grin,’ thought Alice; ‘but a grin without a cat! It’s the most curious thing I ever saw in all my life!’
After hearing out her options from the Cheshire-Cat (which claims that everybody in Wonderland is crazy), Alice decides to visit the March Hare.
Chapter Seven: A Mad Tea-Party
The Cheshire-Cat is dead on!
Meaning: meet the March Hare, the Mad Hatter, and the endlessly tired Dormouse!
And welcome to the strangest – though Alice calls it “the stupidest” – tea party in the history of the world, filled with non-sequiturs and a bunch of riddles nobody (did we say nobody?) can answer.
Such as everyone’s favorite: “Why is a raven like a writing-desk?”
And that’s what Alice thinks as well so, after noticing a door in a tree, she heads there.
Chapter Eight: The Queen’s Croquet Ground
And what’s behind the door?
A beautiful garden.
And three living playing cards painting some white roses red, because their queen, The Queen of Hearts hates white roses.
She likes to say “Off with his head!” a lot, though – demanding the head of anyone who displeases her even in the least.
The Queen invites Alice to play a game of croquet with her, but it soon becomes clear that this will not be your regular game of croquet since all the game pieces are alive and there can be only one winner.
Soon enough, mayhem ensues, which exacerbates further when the Cheshire-Cat appears, and the Queen wants its head as well.
And that’s a bit tricky since that’s the only thing the executioner can see of the Cheshire-Cat.
Chapter Nine: The Mock Turtle’s Story
Because the Cat belongs to the Duchess, at the recommendation of Alice, they send for her.
The Duchess has a curious habit of finding morals in absolutely everything around her, and soon, on the threat of execution, the Queen of Hearts banishes her.
She introduces Alice to the Gryphon, and the Gryphon takes Alice to the Mock Turtle.
Chapter Ten: Lobster Quadrille
For Alice’s amusement, the Mock Turtle and the Gryphon dance to the Lobster Quadrille, but, soon after, as the Mock Turtle starts singing “Beautiful Soup,” the Gryphon takes Alice away for some impending trial.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Epilogue
Chapter Eleven: Who Stole the Tarts?
Into the courtroom, Alice watches as the Knave of Hearts is tried for stealing the Queen’s tarts.
But it’s a funny trial since none of the witnesses has witnessed anything and the jury consists of foolish animals (though, humans are sometimes even less rational).
To make matters even more surreal, Alice starts to grow during the trial.
Chapter Twelve: Alice’s Evidence
Alice is called up as a witness.
But, instead, she is ordered to leave Wonderland, since she is in breach of the highly specific Rule 42: “All persons more than a mile high to leave the court.”
Alice thinks otherwise, and she is attacked.
As she brushes the insignificantly small card-soldiers away, Alice is woken up by her sister from her extremely “curious” dream.
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“Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland PDF Quotes”
Our Critical Review
Walter Besant, a famous novelist and historian, wrote by the end of the 19th century, that “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” is “a book of that extremely rare kind which will belong to all the generations to come until the language becomes obsolete.”
He was ahead of his time.
And more than just right.