Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass Violence Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph)
Alice replied eagerly, for she was always ready to talk about her pet: "Dinah's our cat. And she's such a capital one for catching mice, you can't think! And oh, I wish you could see her after the birds! Why, she'll eat a little bird as soon as look at it!"
This speech caused a remarkable sensation among the party. […] On various pretexts they all moved off, and Alice was soon left alone.
"I wish I hadn't mentioned Dinah!" she said to herself in a melancholy tone. "Nobody seems to like her, down here, and I'm sure she's the best cat in the world!" (Wonderland 3.45-47)
Alice's faux pas is funny at first – oops, mentioning a cat's hunting prowess to birds and a mouse! But then we realize that, since these animals can think and talk, we're really talking about murder.
"We must burn the house down!" said the Rabbit's voice. And Alice called out, as loud as she could, "If you do, I'll set Dinah at you!" (Wonderland 4.29)
Both the Rabbit and Alice respond with radical violence to a situation that just needs some clever engineering. A few chapters ago, Alice was sad that none of the creatures she met liked the idea of her cat Dinah, but as soon as she feels threatened she's only too ready to threaten them back.
Alice did not at all like the tone of this remark, and thought it would be as well to introduce some other subject of conversation. While she was trying to fix on one, the cook took the cauldron of soup off the fire, and at once set to work throwing everything within her reach at the Duchess and the baby – the fire-irons came first; then followed a shower of saucepans, plates, and dishes. The Duchess took no notice of them even when they hit her; and the baby was howling so much already, that it was quite impossible to say whether the blows hurt it or not. (Wonderland 6.29)
The treatment of the baby at the Duchess's house is probably the most disturbing element of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. The narrator seems to think that, as readers, we'll be amused by the baby's wailing and the abuse it receives. All we can say is that we're quite relieved when Alice rescues it and it turns into a pig, but we still can't forget this scene – the crying baby being shaken and hit really crosses the line.