Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass
by Lewis Carroll
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass Madness Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph)
"In that direction," the Cat said, waving its right paw round, "lives a Hatter: and in that direction," waving the other paw, "lives a March Hare. Visit either you like: they're both mad." (Wonderland 6.52)
Madness is a fact of life in Wonderland. No matter where you go, everyone there is crazy. This ubiquitous madness seems to make everyone equivalent in some way – the Hatter is exchangeable with the Hare because they're both mad.
"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here." (Wonderland 6.53-56)
It's Alice's own streak of madness that makes it possible for her to get to Wonderland in the first place. Perhaps we as readers feel implicated, too – we wouldn't be able to follow her adventures if we didn't share her madness to some degree.
Alice didn't think that proved it at all; however, she went on: "And how do you know that you're mad?"
"To begin with," said the Cat, "a dog's not mad. You grant that?"
"I suppose so," said Alice.
"Well, then," the Cat went on, "you see, a dog growls when it's angry, and wags its tail when it's pleased. Now I growl when I'm pleased, and wag my tail when I'm angry. Therefore I'm mad."
"I call it purring, not growling," said Alice.
"Call it what you like," said the Cat. (Wonderland 6.57-62)
The Cheshire Cat reminds us that we often come up with complicated explanations for the crazy things we do to try and make them sound normal. But no matter how we try to excuse it, much of what we do is, well, mad.