Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass
Freedom and Confinement Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
"There's no sort of use in knocking," said the Footman, "and that for two reasons. First, because I'm on the same side of the door as you are: secondly, because they're making such a noise inside, no one could possibly hear you." And certainly there was a most extraordinary noise going on within – a constant howling and sneezing, and every now and then a great crash, as if a dish or kettle had been broken to pieces.
"Please, then," said Alice, "how am I to get in?"
"There might be some sense in your knocking," the Footman went on, without attending to her, "if we had the door between us. For instance, if you were inside, you might knock, and I could let you out, you know." (Wonderland 6.6-8)
Being on one side of a door is a puzzling situation in Wonderland (and, later, in Looking-Glass World). Alice seems to think that she should try to get in, but the Footman suggests two other possibilities – that she might want to try to get out, or that she doesn't need to go through the door at all. Perhaps Alice's ideas about what freedom and confinement really are need some work.
. . . she looked back once or twice, half hoping that they would call after her: the last time she saw them, they were trying to put the Dormouse into the teapot. (Wonderland 7.99)
Alice's more philosophical dilemma about trying to escape from a world that seems to shrink around her is parodied by a series of scenes in which other characters are stuffed into tiny containers. Here we see the Dormouse getting put in the teapot – which real-life Victorian children used as makeshift cages for their hibernating pet mice. (The teapots were, of course, empty of tea at the time.)
Once more she found herself in the long hall, and close to the little glass table. "Now, I'll manage better this time," she said to herself, and began by taking the little golden key, and unlocking the door that led into the garden. Then she set to work nibbling at the mushroom (she had kept a piece of it in her pocket) till she was about a foot high: then she walked down the little passage: and then – she found herself at last in the beautiful garden, among the bright flower-beds and the cool fountains. (Wonderland 7.102)
Alice's escape from the hall into the garden is the result of a lot of trial and error, not to mention being in the right place, with the right things, at the right time. She's lucky enough to get a second chance at effecting her escape, and this time she's not going to squander it.