Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass
Identity Quotes Page 3
How we cite our quotes:
"This must be the wood," she said thoughtfully to herself, "where things have no names. I wonder what'll become of my name when I go in? I shouldn't like to lose it at all – because they'd have to give me another, and it would be almost certain to be an ugly one. But the fun would be, trying to find the creature that had got my old name! That's just like the advertisements, you know, when people lose dogs – 'answers to the name of "Dash": had on a brass collar' – just fancy calling everything you met 'Alice,' till one of them answered! Only they wouldn't answer at all, if they were wise." (Looking-Glass 3.64)
Alice imagines that her name and her person are separate but stable things; if they became separated, the name and the identity that went with it would still exist somewhere in the world.
So they walked on together through the wood, Alice with her arms clasped lovingly round the soft neck of the Fawn, till they came out into another open field, and here the Fawn gave a sudden bound into the air, and shook itself free from Alice's arm. "I'm a Fawn!" it cried out in a voice of delight. "And, dear me! you're a human child!" A sudden look of alarm came into its beautiful brown eyes, and in another moment it had darted away at full speed.
Alice stood looking after it, almost ready to cry with vexation at having lost her dear little fellow-traveler so suddenly. "However, I know my name now," she said: "that's some comfort. Alice – Alice – I won't forget it again." (Looking-Glass 3.73-74)
As long as they're ignorant of their names, Alice and the Fawn are able to live together in peace; but when the Fawn remembers their names and identities, it also remembers that there is strife between them. The book suggests that, in some sense, all conflict comes from our insistence on putting ourselves and others into prescribed social roles.
"He's dreaming now," said Tweedledee: "and what do you think he's dreaming about?"
Alice said "Nobody can guess that."
"Why, about you!" Tweedledee exclaimed, clapping his hands triumphantly. "And if he left off dreaming about you, where do you suppose you'd be?"
"Where I am now, of course," said Alice.
"Not you!" Tweedledee retorted contemptuously. "You'd be nowhere. Why, you're only a sort of thing in his dream!"
"If that there King was to wake," added Tweedledum, "you'd go out – bang! – just like a candle!" (Looking-Glass 4.37-42)
Alice has been assuming that the entire Looking-Glass World is something she owns, a fantasy that she came up with. Now she's faced with the possibility that she is only a character in someone else's fantasy, and she doesn't really like the idea.