Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass
by Lewis Carroll
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass Youth Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph)
"And that's the jury-box," thought Alice; "and those twelve creatures," (she was obliged to say "creatures," you see, because some of them were animals, and some were birds,) "I suppose they are the jurors." She said this last word two or three times over to herself, being rather proud of it: for she thought, and rightly too, that very few little girls of her age knew the meaning of it at all. However, "jurymen" would have done just as well. (Wonderland 11.4)
Alice is proud, not just of knowing something, but of knowing something unusual for a child her age. But as the narrator reminds us, her knowledge isn't especially useful, so there's no reason for her to be proud.
Just at this moment Alice felt a very curious sensation, which puzzled her a good deal until she made out what it was: she was beginning to grow larger again, and she thought at first she would get up and leave the court; but on second thoughts she decided to remain where she was as long as there was room for her.
"I wish you wouldn't squeeze so," said the Dormouse, who was sitting next to her. "I can hardly breathe."
"I can't help it," said Alice very meekly: "I'm growing."
"You've no right to grow here," said the Dormouse.
"Don't talk nonsense," said Alice more boldly: "you know you're growing too."
"Yes, but I grow at a reasonable pace," said the Dormouse: "not in that ridiculous fashion." (Wonderland 11.28-33)
Alice's sudden growth spurt is embarrassing those around her. But as she notes, she can't help growing up, and she can't control the rate at which she grows. Aging is inevitable and out of her hands.
Lastly, she pictured to herself how this same little sister of hers would, in the after-time, be herself a grown woman; and how she would keep, through all her riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood; and how she would gather about her other little children, and make their eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even with the dream of Wonderland of long ago; and how she would feel with all their simple sorrows, and find a pleasure in all their simple joys, remembering her own child-life, and the happy summer days. (Wonderland 12.63)
Alice's sister imagines childhood as part of the cycle of life. Even though Alice herself won't always be a child, she can hold on to the memory of her childish adventures and tell the story to her own children. By doing so, she'll hold on to her own "child-life" in some way.