Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass
Freedom and Confinement Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
"You shan't be beheaded!" said Alice, and she put them into a large flower-pot that stood near. The three soldiers wandered about for a minute or two, looking for them, and then quietly marched off after the others. (Wonderland 8.27)
Sometimes confinement can be protective, as in this scene, where Alice saves three foolish soldiers-turned-gardeners from what seems to be certain execution by hiding them in a flowerpot. Maybe Alice's own feeling of being trapped as she grows larger (or perhaps older) is also unfair; perhaps the restrictions she feels are also for her own good.
"Here!" cried Alice, quite forgetting in the flurry of the moment how large she had grown in the last few minutes, and she jumped up in such a hurry that she tipped over the jury-box with the edge of her skirt, upsetting all the jurymen on to the heads of the crowd below, and there they lay sprawling about, reminding her very much of a globe of gold-fish she had accidentally upset the week before.
"Oh, I beg your pardon!" she exclaimed in a tone of great dismay, and began picking them up again as quickly as she could, for the accident of the gold-fish kept running in her head, and she had a vague sort of idea that they must be collected at once and put back into the jury-box, or they would die. (Wonderland 12.1-2)
Just as the goldfish have to stay in their bowl to live, people are so attached to their circumstances, customs, and forms that their entire lives seem threatened when the social order is momentarily broken – even if it's just in a wacky Wonderland way.
"But oh!" thought Alice, suddenly jumping up, "if I don't make haste, I shall have to go back through the Looking-glass, before I've seen what the rest of the house is like! Let's have a look at the garden first!" She was out of the room in a moment, and ran down stairs – or, at least, it wasn't exactly running, but a new invention for getting down stairs quickly and easily, as Alice said to herself. She just kept the tips of her fingers on the hand-rail, and floated gently down without even touching the stairs with her feet: then she floated on through the hall, and would have gone straight out at the door in the same way, if she hadn't caught hold of the door-post. (Looking-Glass 1.41)
Alice feels an incredible lightness and freedom when she enters Looking-Glass World. Yet at the back of her mind, she knows that she has to get in all the fantasy and enjoyment she can before the real world calls her back. There are strict limits on the release she can find in her imagination.