Study Guide

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass Summary

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Alice is sitting on a riverbank with her sister feeling bored when a White Rabbit runs by, checking its pocket-watch and announcing that it's late. Alice leaps up, follows it down an enormous rabbit hole, and embarks on a series of wild and wacky adventures in a world known as Wonderland.

At first Alice is trapped in a hall of locked doors, unable to go through the only door to which she has a key because it's tiny and she's too big. She decides to make it her goal to find a way to get into the beautiful garden that she sees through the tiny door. Unfortunately, before that can happen, she undergoes a series of changes in size caused by eating and drinking mysterious substances she finds in the room. While she is a giant, she cries a pool of tears; then she shrinks again and almost drowns in it. After swimming out of the pool, she joins a group of animals that all fell into the water, and they embark on a strange exercise called a "Caucus-race" to dry themselves. Unfortunately, Alice alienates her new friends, most of whom are birds or other small animals, when she describes the exploits of her cat, Dinah.

Left alone, Alice begins to cry, but then she sees the White Rabbit run by again. The Rabbit mistakes her for his servant and sends her on an errand to his house, where she is tempted into drinking another mysterious cordial. (In this case, a "cordial" is a syrupy fruit drink, like a thick lemonade.) After drinking this cordial, Alice inflates to an enormous size and gets stuck in the house. The Rabbit and his friends try several methods of getting her out; eventually they settle on throwing a handful of pebbles in the window. These pebbles turn into cakes, and Alice eats a few and finds herself shrinking. She rushes out of the house, away from the angry mob waiting outside, and finds herself in a wood.

In the wood she meets a Caterpillar smoking a hookah (an Indian water pipe). Although the Caterpillar is a bit vague and more than a bit rude, he teaches Alice to eat different pieces of the mushroom in order to control her changes in size. After a few mishaps, in which she shrinks until her head hits her foot and expands until her head soars above the treetops on a long neck, Alice gets the hang of using the mushroom. Armed with this new knowledge, Alice continues her journey through the wood.

In a clearing at the edge of the wood, Alice sees a house. Approaching it, she watches two footmen (who resemble a frog and a fish) exchange an invitation: apparently the Queen is inviting the Duchess to play croquet. Despite the rude and ridiculous behavior of the footmen, Alice eventually enters the house, where she discovers the Duchess, a baby, and a cook. The air is filled with pepper, the baby is howling, the cook is throwing pots and pans at everyone, and the house is generally filled with rage and fury. The house also contains a strangely grinning Cat that the Duchess says is a Cheshire-Cat. Alice rescues the baby from the house, only to discover that it has metamorphosed into a pig.

Alone in the wood again, Alice sees the Cheshire-Cat materialize on a tree branch. The Cat tells her about the people that live in the area and also claims that everyone in Wonderland is mad (insane). After considering the different people described by the Cat, Alice decides to visit the March Hare.

On arriving at the March Hare's house, Alice encounters a Mad Tea Party consisting of the Hare, the Mad Hatter, and a Dormouse. She tries to join this party, but eventually tires of the rudeness of the Hare and Hatter, who argue about everything she says, and the drowsiness of the Dormouse, which keeps falling asleep in the middle of its own story. Returning to the wood, she finds a tree with a door that leads her back to the hall of doors. This time, by eating different bits of the mushroom, Alice is able to get the key to the tiny door, become the right size, and walk into the beautiful garden.

No sooner does Alice arrive in the beautiful garden than a royal procession comes by, consisting of personified playing cards, with the hearts as the royalty, the clubs as soldiers, the spades as gardeners, and the diamonds as courtiers. The Queen of Hearts, despite being bloodthirsty and constantly ordering the executions of everyone around her ("Off with his head!"), invites Alice to join her in a game of croquet. This game is harder than usual, since all the game pieces are alive – hedgehogs for balls, flamingoes for mallets, and playing-card soldiers for hoops. The Queen of Hearts strides around the game ordering executions of players who irritate her.

Eventually the Cheshire-Cat appears, causing a distraction and irritating the King. In order to get rid of the Cat, Alice recommends that they send for its owner, the Duchess. The Duchess is brought, but the Cat has disappeared. Alice and the Duchess take a brief stroll together, and the Duchess (in a much better mood without all the pepper around) tells Alice the morals of things they discuss. The Queen then dismisses the Duchess and takes Alice back to the game, but soon after she has ordered everyone executed except Alice and the King.

At this point, the Queen asks Alice if she has met the Mock Turtle. When Alice says that she hasn't, the Queen sends her to meet him in the company of a Gryphon. The Gryphon and the Mock Turtle tell Alice about their school days in the sea and perform a rowdy dance, the Lobster Quadrille, for Alice's amusement. Their time together is interrupted by a shout that the trial is beginning.

The Gryphon takes Alice back to the court and into a courtroom, where the King is acting as judge. Alice watches as the Knave of Hearts is tried for the theft of some tarts made by the Queen. The trial, however, is ridiculous, since the animals in the jury are foolish and none of the witnesses know anything about the crime. Finally Alice herself is called as a witness, but she has begun growing to her usual size again and towers over all the others. They attack her, but she brushes them away, since they're nothing but a pack of cards.

Alice wakes up to find that her sister is brushing away dead leaves from her face as she sleeps on the riverbank. She tells her sister about her adventures and runs home. Her sister remains under the tree, daydreaming about the strange people Alice met and the odd things she did while in Wonderland.

Through the Looking-Glass

Alice is sitting indoors winding a ball of yarn and playing with her kittens and cat. Alice asks a kitten if it can play chess. She thinks maybe it can, because it seems to look very intently at the pieces when Alice is playing. She pretends that the kitten is the Red Queen, since it looks a little bit like that piece.

Alice imagines that the mirror over the fireplace is growing soft like gauze, then discovers that it really is. She climbs up onto the mantelpiece and drops down into the room on the other side, finding herself in Looking-Glass World, where everything is the opposite of what she's used to. She explores the mirror image of her own living room, finding living chess pieces and reading a strange nonsense poem called "Jabberwocky." She goes out of the house and explores the garden, where the flowers can talk. At first she has trouble because she has to walk the opposite of the direction she wants to go in order to get anywhere, but she soon figures it out.

Then Alice meets the Red Queen. The Red Queen shows her a view of the countryside, which is divided into an enormous chessboard. Alice asks to be allowed to play in the giant living game of chess, and the Red Queen assigns her the role of White Pawn. Alice is to start in the Second Square, cross six brooks (the divisions between squares), and end up in the Eighth Square, where she will become a Queen.

Alice's adventure continues with a train trip through the Third Square. She moves quickly through this square because pawns are allowed to move two squares the first time they move. After the train trip Alice lands in the Fourth Square, where a Gnat tells her about the strange insects in Looking-Glass World. Alice then meets the brothers Tweedledum and Tweedledee, nursery rhyme characters, who recite poetry to her and have a fight about a broken rattle. They are driven apart by a giant crow. While hiding from the crow, Alice meets the White Queen, who is chasing a shawl that was blown away by the wind. Alice tries to help the Queen tidy herself. As they are walking, they cross another brook. The Queen turns into a sheep, the wood turns into a shop, and Alice finds herself in the Fifth Square.

Alice browses around in the shop run by the sheep and is startled when it turns into a boat on a river. Alice rows the boat along, pauses to pick rushes, and at one point is thrown down when her oar gets stuck. Then the boat disappears and they are back in the shop, where Alice buys an egg. As she walks toward the egg, it grows larger and larger. She crosses another brook and enters the Sixth Square, where the egg turns into Humpty Dumpty.

Humpty Dumpty is fond of puns and wordplay, recites even more poetry to Alice, and impresses her with his pompous self-importance. He refuses to believe that he might fall off the wall and break. Of course, after she leaves him, this is exactly what happens. Alice is caught up in the stampede of all the King's horses and men who will try to put Humpty Dumpty back together. Then she meets the White King and the Lion and Unicorn, who are fighting for the King's crown. They take a break from the fight for snacks, and Alice shares white and brown bread and plum-cake with them. When the drummers start drumming them out of town, Alice is so startled that she leaps over another brook into the Seventh Square.

In the Seventh Square, Alice is briefly threatened by a Red Knight, but rescued by a White Knight. The White Knight, despite his clumsiness and daydreaming, guides her through the square, telling her about his strange inventions and singing her a song on their way. He leaves her at the brink of the last brook.

Alice leaps across and finds herself in the Eighth Square with a crown on her head – she has become a Queen at last! Before she gets to celebrate, though, the White and Red Queens reappear and insist on quizzing her. Their examination doesn't make much sense, but Alice seems to pass anyway. She finds herself at a banquet in her honor, but she's not allowed to eat anything because she keeps getting introduced to the food. Things start to get really weird as the guests and food switch places.

Alice picks up the Red Queen and decides to shake her into a kitten. As the Red Queen transforms into Alice's pet, Kitty, Alice finds herself back in her own house, waking up from a dream. But she's not sure whose dream it was – did she dream up the game, or did the Red King dream about her?

  • Wonderland, Chapter 1

    Down the Rabbit-Hole

    • Alice, tired and bored, is sitting with her sister on a riverbank. Her sister is reading, but Alice isn't interested in the book.
    • Out of nowhere, a White Rabbit runs by, muttering that he's going to be late and pulling a watch out of his pocket to check the time. Alice gets up and runs after him. He disappears into a giant rabbit-hole and she goes in after him.
    • At first Alice is simply walking through a tunnel, but suddenly it makes a ninety-degree turn and becomes a deep shaft straight down, like a well. Alice falls down the shaft before she can stop herself!
    • Alice falls for a long time. She notices that the walls of the tunnel are covered with cupboards, shelves, maps, and pictures, as though she were inside a house. She takes a jar for orange marmalade off one of the shelves, but it's empty, so she puts it into another cupboard as she's falling. (She must be falling really slowly!)
    • Alice starts trying to apply the knowledge she's learned in school to her situation. She guesses that she's fallen all the way to the center of the earth, which she thinks is 4,000 miles down. She starts talking to herself about her latitude and longitude – not that she knows what they mean, but they're fancy long words and they sound good.
    • Alice continues to fall. Now she starts to wonder if she'll fall all the way through the earth and come out the other side – where she figures people walk upside-down. She tries to practice curtseying while asking which country she's in, but it's not easy when you're falling down a shaft.
    • Alice talks to herself about her cat, Dinah. She thinks Dinah will miss her if she doesn't come home in the evening, since Alice is the one who always remembers to give her a saucer of milk. She wishes Dinah were with her and thinks Dinah could catch bats in the air as they fell.
    • Alice becomes drowsy and starts murmuring about cats and bats – she can't remember which eats which.
    • With a thump, Alice lands on a pile of sticks and leaves.
    • Jumping up, Alice finds herself in another long passageway. The White Rabbit is just barely in sight, hurrying along down the passage. Alice runs after him. The White Rabbit turns a corner, but when Alice rounds the corner, he's gone.
    • Alice is in a long hall with chandeliers and doors along all the walls. She walks around the edge of the hall and tries to open the doors, but they're all locked.
    • When Alice returns to the middle of the room, a three-legged glass table has appeared out of nowhere with a tiny golden key on it. She picks up the key and tries it in the locks of all the doors, but it's the wrong size.
    • Alice discovers a small curtain on her second circuit around the room. Pulling the curtain aside reveals a little door, about fifteen inches high. The golden key opens this door.
    • When Alice looks through the little door, she sees a small passage that leads into a beautiful garden. She really wants to get out into it, but she can't fit through the doorway – even her head is too big.
    • Alice wishes she could collapse and fold into herself, the way a pocket telescope does, so that she could get through the door. She reasons that some pretty weird things have been happening, so maybe it's just possible.
    • Alice goes back to the glass table to see if anything else helpful has appeared on it. She finds a bottle labeled "Drink Me."
    • At first, Alice is suspicious of the bottle. Remembering horror stories she's heard about how other little kids managed to hurt themselves with everyday objects, she examines it to make sure it's not labeled "poison." Since it isn't, she decides to follow the instructions and drink it. It's pretty tasty, and she downs every last drop.
    • The drink does in fact make Alice fold up like a collapsible telescope. In the end, she's about ten inches high – just the right size to go through the little door. Unfortunately, the door is locked and she left the key on top of the table. She's too short to reach the key, and the table (it's made of glass, remember?) is too slippery for her to climb.
    • Alice starts crying, then tells herself not to. Apparently she likes to pretend she's two people, so she often punishes herself or gives herself advice. This kid needs help.
    • Now that she's little, Alice can see a small glass box under the table. She opens it to find a cake with currants (a kind of berry) labeled "Eat Me." Alice starts to eat it slowly, holding her hand on top of her head so that she'll be able to feel herself growing larger or smaller. Nothing seems to happen, so she settles down to polish off the whole cake.
  • Wonderland, Chapter 2

    The Pool of Tears

    • The cake that Alice just ate starts to take effect: she grows and grows until her feet seem too far away for her to put on her own shoes.
    • Alice starts to worry that, if she isn't nice to her now-distant feet, they won't walk where she wants them too. She decides she'll give them a new pair of boots every Christmas, and imagines how she'll have to address the package so that the postman can deliver the boots to her feet.
    • Alice's head hits the roof of the hall; she's now more than nine feet tall. She takes the golden key off the table and goes back to the tiny door.
    • Alice unlocks the door and looks through. If she lies on her side and puts her eye to the door, she can see the garden, but she's definitely way too big to go through.
    • Alice starts crying again. Because she's so big, her tears are enormous, and she quickly cries herself a big puddle about four inches deep.
    • Alice hears footsteps in the distance. She dries her tears and looks up to see the White Rabbit coming back, dressed in a fancy outfit and carrying a fan and a pair of white kid gloves. (Kid is a very soft kind of leather, so these are expensive leather gloves.) The Rabbit mutters to himself that the Duchess (whoever that is) is waiting for him.
    • When the White Rabbit sees Alice, he jumps in surprise, drops his fan and gloves, and runs off.
    • Alice picks up the Rabbit's fan and gloves. She begins fanning herself as she muses on the weirdness of her day so far.
    • Remembering that yesterday seemed relatively normal, she wonders if she has changed in the night. She decides that she does feel different, so she starts running through the list of all the other girls she knows to figure out which of them she has turned into.
    • Alice starts to worry that she might be Mabel, a really ignorant little girl. To prove she's not Mabel, she starts reciting multiplication tables, but messes up right away. Then she tries to go through a geography lesson, but once again she mixes things up.
    • Verse Alert: Alice tries to recite a poem she had to memorize, "How doth the little," but it goes all wrong, too. There's a lot of nonsense poetry in the Alice books, but don't worry – we'll tip you off with a Verse Alert whenever it begins!
    • After reciting the poem wrong, Alice decides that she must indeed be Mabel.
    • Alice doesn't want to be Mabel. It sounds like Mabel is somewhat poor and doesn't have many toys or a very nice house. So Alice decides that she'll stay in Wonderland and won't go back to England unless she's someone she likes being.
    • Suddenly Alice notices that she has absent-mindedly put on one of the White Rabbit's gloves. She realizes that she must be shrinking again, and figures out that the fan is making her shrink. She drops the fan, but now she's less than two feet high and can probably get into the garden.
    • Of course, once again the little door is locked and the key is on top of the glass table, out of her reach. You didn't think she was going to make it into the garden in Chapter 2, did you?
    • Alice slips on a wet spot and falls into a pool of salt water. At first she thinks she's in the ocean, but then she realizes that she's in the pool of tears she cried when she was nine feet tall.
    • Alice swims toward the sound of splashing nearby and finds a mouse. She asks the Mouse if it knows the way out of the pool, but it doesn't answer.
    • Alice wonders if the Mouse is French – she knows that the French once conquered England (the Norman Conquest), but doesn't realize how long ago it happened (1066, or about nine hundred years before Alice's time). She asks the Mouse a question from her French textbook. Unfortunately, the question she remembers is "Où est ma chatte?" which means "Where's my cat?" It's not really the ideal question to ask a mouse.
    • The Mouse is offended and frightened by Alice's question. Alice apologizes and tries to explain how wonderful her cat, Dinah, really is. But she simply makes things worse as she describes Dinah catching mice.
    • Alice tries to change the subject and asks the mouse if it likes dogs. She's really put her foot in it this time, though – she starts talking about the terrier that lives next door to her, which catches rats.
    • The Mouse, thoroughly offended, starts swimming away. Alice calls out an apology. The Mouse comes back and offers to tell Alice its life story, to explain why it dislikes cats and dogs so much.
    • Alice and the Mouse, along with a group of other animals that have fallen into the pool, swim to the shore and gather together. The other animals include a group of birds: a Duck, a Dodo, a Lory, and an Eaglet.
  • Wonderland, Chapter 3

    A Caucus-Race and a Long Tale

    • Alice and the various animals that fell into the pool of tears get out of the water and gather together. They argue about the best way to get dry.
    • Alice has a long argument with the Lory (a kind of bird) about what to do. The Lory says that it's older than she is and knows better, but it won't say exactly how old.
    • Finally the Mouse decides what they should do. It calls everyone to order and makes them sit in a circle, then it starts giving a really boring history lecture. The Mouse, you see, is using the wrong definition of "dry." The lecture is "dry" in the sense of "boring," but it isn't dry in the sense of "not wet."
    • The still-wet animals get a little restless. The Duck starts arguing with the Mouse about the meaning of the word "it." The Mouse was talking about "it" in a fancy abstract argumentative sense, but the Duck wants it to be something concrete, like a worm or a frog. The Mouse ignores the Duck and keeps going.
    • The Mouse asks Alice how she's doing, and she says that she's as wet as she was at the beginning. The Dodo suggests that they do something more energetic and proposes that they have a "Caucus-race."
    • What's a "caucus-race," we hear you asking? Well, here's what the animals do: the Dodo marks out a circle for the racecourse, like a track. All the animals begin at different places on the course and start and stop running whenever they want. After about half an hour, the Dodo announces that the race is over.
    • OK, now we hear you asking another question: why is the "caucus-race" funny? Well, a caucus is a political event – you know, before an election each party has a caucus, which is just a big convention where it officially chooses candidates. So it's funny to think of a caucus as a totally random race, where everyone's running in circles instead of getting somewhere. Everyone has different advantages and disadvantages (they start at different places), and it's not clear when you're supposed to start campaigning (running). And, of course, it's totally unclear who won, or even how you would really "win."
    • Since nobody knows who won, the Dodo announces that everyone won and everyone should get a prize. Who has to give the prizes? Alice, of course.
    • Alice finds a little box of comfits (hard candy) in a tin in her pocket. Luckily, they were sealed tight and didn't get wet. She hands them around and has just enough to give one to each animal, but she doesn't have one left over for herself. The Dodo asks what else she has in her pocket, and all she's got is a thimble – a little metal cap that you put over your finger as you sew so that you don't prick yourself with the needle. It's not much of a present, but the Dodo presents it to her with a little speech. Alice stifles her laughter and tries to act serious.
    • The animals eat their comfits. If you can imagine feeding a lemon drop or a peppermint to a bird, you can probably guess that this is a pretty chaotic activity.
    • Next, the animals sit down in a circle and ask the Mouse to tell them another story. Alice reminds the Mouse that it said it would tell her its life story and explain why it hates cats and dogs.
    • Verse Alert: The Mouse tells its story, but Alice confuses the words tale and tail.
    • As the Mouse speaks, Alice imagines its tale in rhymed couplets that appear in the pattern of its curving tail. In the book, the story is printed in the tail's shape – a technique called concrete poetry.
    • This is only the second of many poems that are interjected in the Alice books (the first was Alice's messed-up recitation of "How doth the little" in Chapter 2), and like the rest it's mostly nonsense. Here's what the poem is about:
    • A cat named Fury meets a mouse.
    • Fury tells the mouse that he wants to put it on trial. He offers to be the prosecutor.
    • The mouse objects that there's no point in having a trial if they don't have a judge or a jury.
    • Fury says that he can be judge and jury, too, and condemn the mouse to death!
    • The poem stops there, because the Mouse in Wonderland realizes that Alice isn't listening to him. Alice says she knows exactly where he is – the fifth "bend" in his tale.
    • This just makes the Mouse angrier and it says it did not do that. Alice thinks it means there is a "knot" in the "tail" and offers to help untangle it.
    • Frustrated and offended, the Mouse leaves. Alice and the animals ask it to come back, but it ignores them.
    • Alice says that she wishes Dinah, her cat, were there to bring the Mouse back. The other animals ask her about Dinah, and Alice starts describing Dinah's mouse- and bird-catching abilities. This makes the birds uncomfortable, and they make excuses to leave.
    • Alice is left alone, wishing that she hadn't mentioned her cat. But she also misses Dinah and starts to cry. Then she hears footsteps in the distance.
  • Wonderland, Chapter 4

    The Rabbit Sends in a Little Bill

    • The White Rabbit comes slowly toward Alice, looking all around him for something he's lost and muttering to himself about this mysterious Duchess. Alice remembers the fan and gloves that he dropped earlier and starts looking for them herself, but they seem to have disappeared. In fact, everything is different – the hall full of doors and the glass table are gone.
    • The Rabbit notices Alice and, calling her "Mary Ann," orders her to go home and get him a new pair of gloves and a fan. Alice is so surprised and scared to be mistaken for his housemaid that she just runs off in the direction he points.
    • She quickly comes to a house that has the rabbit's name ("W. Rabbit") on a brass plate on the door. She goes in and makes her way upstairs.
    • As she does this, Alice thinks about how strange it is that she's taking orders from a rabbit, and she imagines how strange her life at home would be if her cat could order her around.
    • In one of the rooms upstairs, Alice finds a table with a selection of gloves and fans on it. She chooses one of each and gets ready to leave, but then she notices a bottle next to the mirror. The bottle doesn't have any label, but Alice drinks it anyway, wondering what will happen to her and hoping it will make her grow larger.
    • Her wish is granted – she starts growing right away, and soon her head hits the ceiling. She's too big to get out the door, but she keeps growing larger. She has to kneel, then lie down, then put one arm out the window and one foot up the chimney! Now she's stuck in the room, seemingly forever.
    • Alice starts weighing the pros and cons of her adventure in Wonderland. Back at home, she didn't change size and mice and rabbits didn't give her orders. But here, things are exciting and strange, like a fairy tale. She decides that a book should be written about her adventures and thinks she might write it herself when she grows up.
    • Then Alice realizes that she can never grow up because she's stuck in a room and can't get any larger. This makes her happy, because she'll never be an old woman. Then she worries that, if she remains a child, she'll always have to learn lessons – but then she thinks there's no room for textbooks in the house with her.
    • Alice hears the Rabbit call for her outside – it's still calling her "Mary Ann." She hears it come up the stairs and starts to shake with fear, forgetting how big she is.
    • The Rabbit tries to come into the room, but the door is pressed shut by Alice's elbow. The Rabbit says to himself that he'll go around and come in the window. Alice waits until she hears him and then makes a snatch with her hand. Frightened, the Rabbit falls into some cucumber-frames (mini-greenhouse-like things in the garden outside).
    • The Rabbit calls for help from someone called Pat, who is apparently the gardener. (Since Alice is stuck in the room and can't see him, we don't know what he looks like.) The Rabbit shows Pat the giant arm stuck in his window and orders him to take it away. Pat doesn't really know what to do.
    • Alice makes another snatch with her hand, and the Rabbit and Pat both fall into cucumber-frames. There's lots of broken glass.
    • Then Alice hears a bunch of noises – a cart arriving and voices discussing ladders, ropes and the roof. The voices decide that Bill, whoever that is, has to go down the chimney.
    • Alice prepares for Bill by pulling her foot as far up the chimney as she can. When she hears Bill scrabbling around in it, she gives a kick.
    • Outside, all the voices cry, "There goes Bill!" The animals retrieve Bill, give him some brandy, and ask him what happened. He says he doesn't really know – something just came at him and shot him out the chimney.
    • The White Rabbit suggests burning the house down, and Alice says loudly that she'll set Dinah on them if they try it.
    • There is a long silence, and then Alice hears the animals decide on a barrowful of something. Just as she's wondering what, a bunch of pebbles come in the window and smack her in the face. She shouts at them to stop.
    • Strangely, the pebbles turn into little cakes. Alice decides that eating them will probably make her change sizes, like everything else she's eaten in Wonderland so far. Since she's already as big as she can be in the room, she decides the cakes will make her smaller. She starts eating them.
    • Soon Alice is the right size to get out of the house. She runs out and sees a crowd of animals, including Bill, who is a lizard. The animals rush toward Alice, but she runs away into a wood.
    • Alone in the wood, Alice makes a plan: she's going to get back to her correct size, then find the beautiful garden that she saw through the tiny door. Unfortunately, she doesn't have a clue how to do either of these things.
    • While she's wandering around in the woods, Alice finds an enormous puppy. Well, actually the puppy is normal size, but Alice is only a few inches tall. The puppy tries to play with Alice, who is afraid it might try to eat her.
    • Using a little stick, Alice plays with the puppy until it's tired. The whole time, she's afraid that it will trample her, but finally it lies down panting with its eyes closed.
    • Alice goes away quickly before the puppy gets its energy back. She starts looking for something to eat or drink to make herself change size again. She finds a large mushroom nearby. Getting up on tiptoe, she peeks over the top of it and discovers a large blue caterpillar smoking a hookah (a fancy kind of pipe that filters the smoke through water).
  • Wonderland, Chapter 5

    Advice from a Caterpillar

    • For a moment, Alice and the Caterpillar simply stare at each other. Then the Caterpillar takes the hookah out of its mouth and asks Alice who she is.
    • After her strange adventures, Alice doesn't really have a good answer for the Caterpillar's question. She says that she knew who she was when she got up that morning, but she thinks she's changed several times since then.
    • The Caterpillar asks her to explain, but she can't. She says it's too confusing being so many different sizes each day. The Caterpillar denies that this is confusing.
    • Alice tries to compare her constantly changing size to the metamorphosis, or change in shape, that the Caterpillar will experience when it becomes a butterfly. The Caterpillar, however, insists that this won't feel strange to it.
    • Alice starts to get irritated that the Caterpillar makes such terse comments and demands things of her, so she asks the Caterpillar to tell her who he is first. The Caterpillar asks why, but Alice doesn't have an answer. She finally decides to walk away.
    • The Caterpillar calls Alice back and tells her he has something important to say. Alice returns and waits.
    • The Caterpillar tells Alice to keep her temper. Ironically, this makes Alice angry, and she asks if that's the whole message. The Caterpillar says no, and Alice waits for a few minutes while it smokes.
    • Next, the Caterpillar asks Alice about the changes she's gone through. She explains that she doesn't remember things she used to know.
    • Verse Alert: The Caterpillar tells Alice to recite "You are old, Father William," and Alice does. Here's what happens in her version:
    • A young man tells Father William that he is old – his hair is white. The youth wants to know why Father William still stands on his head; it doesn't seem like proper behavior for an old man.
    • Father William answers his son (apparently the young man is his son). He says that when he was young, he worried that standing on his head was bad for his brain, but now that he's old he knows he doesn't have one so it doesn't matter.
    • The son points out Father William's age and the fact that he has gotten fat. In spite of this, Father William still does backwards somersaults, and the son wants to know why.
    • Father William answers that he's stayed limber by using a special ointment and offers to sell some to his son.
    • Next, the son wants to know how Father William managed to eat an entire goose, including the bones and the beak, with his old, weak jaws.
    • Father William answers that he used to argue legal cases with his wife, and this made his jaw unbelievably strong.
    • Finally, the son wants to know how Father William managed to balance an eel on his nose. Father William refuses to tell him, says he's already answered three questions, and threatens to kick his son down the stairs. (If you couldn't guess, that's the end of the poem.)
    • The Caterpillar tells Alice that her version of the poem is completely wrong. There's an awkward pause. (We'd feel awkward, too, if a caterpillar were critiquing our public speaking and memorization abilities.)
    • The Caterpillar asks Alice what size she wants to be. Alice says she doesn't care, but she doesn't like changing. Then she admits that she wants to be a bit larger, because three inches is a terrible height. This offends the Caterpillar, which is exactly three inches high (or long, if you will).
    • Alice waits as the Caterpillar smokes some more. Finally, the Caterpillar gets off the mushroom and crawls away, telling Alice as it leaves that one side will make her grow taller and the other will make her shorter. She wonders what that means, and the Caterpillar explains that it's talking about the mushroom. Then it's gone.
    • For a moment Alice stares at the mushroom, which is round. How is she supposed to know where the sides are? Then she wraps her arms around it and breaks off a piece where each of her hands falls.
    • Alice starts experimenting by nibbling at the different pieces of mushroom. The piece in her right hand makes her grow shorter – her chin hits her foot! It's hard for her even to open her mouth, but she manages to eat some of the piece in her left hand. Then she does grow taller, but her head is on top of an immensely long neck. When she looks down, all she sees is her neck disappearing into the canopies of the trees.
    • Alice moves her hands around, but she can't see them. She tries to get her head down to her hands instead and discovers that her neck is super-flexible, like the body of a snake.
    • While Alice is playing with her flexible neck, a pigeon suddenly flies into her face and starts smacking her with its wings, calling her a serpent.
    • Alice tells the pigeon that she's not a serpent, but it won't listen to her. The pigeon says it's tried putting its nest of eggs in lots of different places, but serpents always try to steal them. Finally the pigeon put its nest on top of the highest tree it could find, but then Alice's serpentine neck came coiling down from the sky!
    • Alice argues with the pigeon about whether or not she is a serpent. She admits that she has eaten eggs, but tells the pigeon that little girls eat eggs as much as serpents do. The pigeon argues that that makes little girls a type of serpent, which confuses Alice.
    • Finally Alice tells the pigeon that she doesn't like raw eggs, and it gives up and tells her to go away.
    • Alice manages to get her neck down among the trees and nibble at the piece of mushroom that makes her smaller. Then she goes back and forth for a bit, eating some of each piece and growing correspondingly taller and shorter, until she is her own height again.
    • Now Alice has achieved one of her two goals, and she sets out to achieve the other – getting into the beautiful garden she saw earlier.
    • First, however, she sees a little house. In order to visit whomever lives there, she eats some of the mushroom again until she's about nine inches high. Then she sets out to see who's in the house.
  • Wonderland, Chapter 6

    Pig and Pepper

    • Alice arrives at the house and wonders what to do next. Before she can decide, a footman (a kind of servant) who looks like a fish comes running out of the woods behind her and knocks at the door.
    • The door is opened by another footman who looks like a frog. Alice, hiding in the trees at the edge of the wood, listens to their conversation.
    • The Fish-Footman gives a huge letter to the Frog-Footman and tells him it is an invitation from the Queen for the Duchess to play croquet. The footmen bow to each other and their curly hair gets tangled together.
    • Alice has to run away so they don't hear her laughing. When she comes back, the Frog-Footman is alone, sitting near the door and staring at the sky.
    • Alice goes up to the house and knocks at the door. The Frog-Footman tells her there's no point in knocking, since they're both on the same side of the door. Plus, there's so much noise inside that none of the other people will hear her.
    • At this point, Alice notices that there are a lot of weird noises coming from inside the house – howling, sneezing, and things breaking.
    • Alice asks the Frog-Footman how she can get in again, but he just sits there staring into the sky and rambling about the fact that they're both on the same side of the door.
    • Suddenly the door opens and a plate is thrown out. It grazes the Footman's nose and breaks against a tree. He doesn't react at all.
    • Alice still wants to get in, but the Footman won't open the door for her. He says he's going to go on sitting there for days.
    • Finally Alice opens the door herself and goes into the house. Inside, she finds the Duchess holding a baby and a cook stirring a cauldron of soup.
    • The first thing Alice notices is that there's a lot of pepper in the soup. She and all the inhabitants of the house keep sneezing because there's so much of it in the air.
    • The only thing not sneezing is the cat, which has a wide grin on its face.
    • The Duchess explains to Alice that it's a Cheshire-Cat, which always grins. Then the Duchess is rude and Alice is at a loss for words.
    • The cook starts throwing things, especially dishes, at the Duchess and the baby. Neither seems to notice.
    • Alice begs the cook to stop, but the cook doesn't react. The Duchess tells her to mind her own business, and they get in an argument.
    • The Duchess sings a disturbing lullaby to the baby, shaking it at the end of each line. Then she starts tossing it up and down. Alice is relieved when the Duchess hands the baby off to her. (To be strictly accurate, she throws the baby to Alice!)
    • Alice catches the baby and figures out how to hold it still by twisting it up in an awkward position. She decides that she can't leave the baby with the abusive Duchess and Cook, so she leaves, taking it with her.
    • Alice looks at the baby, which has started grunting and looking like a pig. In fact, it turns into a pig, and Alice sets it down. The pig trots away into the forest.
    • Suddenly, Alice notices the Cheshire-Cat sitting on a nearby tree branch. She asks it which direction to go, but the cat tells her it doesn't matter – every direction leads somewhere.
    • Alice asks the Cat about the local inhabitants. The Cat describes a Hatter and a Hare, both of which, it says, are mad (insane). In fact, the Cat claims that everyone in the area is mad, including Alice.
    • After saying that it will see her at the Queen's croquet match, the Cat vanishes. Then it reappears and asks what happened to the baby. Alice explains, and the Cat disappears again.
    • Alice walks on and tries to decide whether to visit the Hatter or the Hare and chooses the Hare. The Cat reappears on another branch to ask her another question, and Alice asks it to stop appearing and disappearing so fast. The Cat apologizes and vanishes gradually this time, eventually leaving nothing but its grin.
    • Alice comes to a large house with chimneys shaped like rabbit ears, which she decides must be the March Hare's house. She eats a bit of the left-hand piece of mushroom to make herself large enough for the house and then walks up to it.
  • Wonderland, Chapter 7

    A Mad Tea-Party

    • In front of the March Hare's house is a table where the Hare and the Mad Hatter are having tea with a Dormouse. There are only three of them at the table, but there are lots of other places set.
    • Alice sits down despite the protests of the Hare, Hatter, and Dormouse, who claim there is no room.
    • The March Hare offers Alice wine. She says she doesn't see any on the table and he admits that there isn't any. She's irritated with him for offering something he doesn't have, and he responds that he's irritated that she sat down uninvited.
    • The Hatter tells Alice that she needs a haircut, and she tells him it's rude to say things like that.
    • Next, the Hatter asks Alice a riddle: "Why is a raven like a writing desk?" Alice says she thinks she can guess, but quickly gets into trouble as the other three question her and find holes in her logic. Saying what you mean is not the same, they tell her, as meaning what you say.
    • The Hatter asks Alice what day it is and checks her answer against his watch. He discovers that the watch is two days off and argues with the Hare about the butter they put into the watch earlier.
    • Alice asks the Hatter about the watch, which tells the day of the month but not the time. The Hatter explains that it's because time stays the same for him.
    • The Dormouse falls asleep (as it does frequently) and the Hatter wakes it up by pouring tea on its nose.
    • The Hatter asks Alice to guess at the riddle. Alice gives up, and it turns out the Hatter doesn't know the answer either.
    • Alice says the Hatter is wasting time. The Hatter tells her that Time is a friend of his and explains that's why it's always teatime. He made Time angry last March by "murdering the time" of a song he was singing, and now time doesn't pass for him.
    • The Hacker starts singing the song for Alice, a parody of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." The Dormouse, which has fallen asleep again, wakes up a little and starts singing along. They pinch it so it will stop.
    • Alice figures out that the time problem is the reason the table is so big: the three tea party participants just keep moving down and using new place settings.
    • The Hatter and Hare grow bored of talking to Alice about time and ask her to tell a story. She says she doesn't know any, so they wake the Dormouse up and get him to tell one instead.
    • The Dormouse starts telling a story about three sisters who live at the bottom of a treacle well. Alice is puzzled by this strange setting.
    • The March Hare offers Alice more tea. She says she can't have more because she hasn't had any. He replies that she can't take less.
    • The Dormouse gets frustrated with Alice, who is arguing about the story. She stops and asks him to go on.
    • The Dormouse says that the three sisters are learning to draw. Because there's nothing else in the well, they draw treacle.
    • The Hatter insists that everyone move one seat down. He gets a clean plate, but everyone else gets their neighbor's dirty one.
    • Alice keeps trying to argue with the Dormouse about his story, but it responds with a pun or play on words each time.
    • The Dormouse says that the sisters draw things that begin with the letter m. Some of them make sense, like mousetraps and the moon, but others are silly, like memory and muchness.
    • Finally the Hatter offends Alice so much that she gets up and walks away. She looks back to see the Dormouse falling asleep again and the other two trying to put it in the teapot.
    • Alice resolves never to go back to the Mad Tea Party.
    • Alice notices a door in a tree and goes through it. She's back in the hall with the glass table and all the doors. This time, she knows what to do. She takes the little golden key from the table, unlocks the door, eats a piece of mushroom until she's the right size, and walks into the garden.
  • Wonderland, Chapter 8

    The Queen's Croquet-Ground

    • Near the doorway in the garden is a white rose bush, but Alice sees three gardeners painting the roses red. Alice asks why, and they explain that they planted the wrong color bush and don't want to offend the Queen.
    • Suddenly a procession arrives, including soldiers carrying clubs, courtiers decorated with diamonds, the royal children, other guests, the White Rabbit, and the King and Queen of Hearts. Most of the procession are personifications of playing cards – the clubs, diamonds, and hearts, along with the spades who act as the gardeners. (Get it?)
    • The gardeners, who are afraid the Queen of Hearts will have them beheaded because of the mix-up with the bush, throw themselves on their faces. Their backs look like all the rest of the cards.
    • Alice waits until the Queen is opposite her. The Queen asks Alice her name, and Alice responds politely.
    • The Queen asks Alice who the three face-down cards are (the gardeners). Alice says it's none of her business.
    • The Queen becomes extremely angry and orders that Alice be beheaded. Alice says this is nonsense and the Queen is silent.
    • The Queen gets the Knave to turn over the gardeners. She figures out what they were doing with the tree and orders their executions.
    • To protect the gardeners, Alice puts them into a flowerpot and hides them from the soldiers. The soldiers report to the Queen that the gardeners' heads are gone and she is satisfied with this answer.
    • The Queen invites Alice to play croquet. Alice joins the procession and finds herself walking beside the White Rabbit.
    • Alice asks the Rabbit where the Duchess is – after all, she saw the Duchess get an invitation to the croquet game. The Rabbit explains that the Duchess is in prison under a sentence of execution because she boxed the Queen's ears.
    • They arrive at the croquet ground and the Queen orders everyone to their places. Alice discovers that the croquet game is quite strange: the balls are live hedgehogs, the mallets are live flamingoes, and the soldiers bend themselves into the hoops. Because everything is alive and squirming around, and because nobody takes turns, the game is chaos.
    • The Queen strides around the game ordering executions. Alice worries that she might get executed and tries to find a way to escape.
    • Suddenly Alice sees the Cheshire-Cat slowly appearing in the air. She puts down her flamingo and tells the Cat how hard the game is. Only the Cat's head appears.
    • Alice notices the Queen behind her and, to avoid getting killed, says something flattering. The Queen smiles and keeps going.
    • The King comes up and notices Alice talking to the Cat. He doesn't like the look of the Cat or the way it's looking at him and wants it removed.
    • The King calls the Queen over and asks her what to do about the Cat. The Queen orders the Cat executed. A conflict ensues, with executioner arguing that he can't behead the Cat because it doesn't have a body to separate the head from. The King argues that the Cat can be beheaded because it does, after all, have a head. And the Queen argues that if something isn't done soon, she'll have everyone killed.
    • Alice suggests that they fetch the Duchess, the Cat's owner. By the time they bring her there from prison, the Cat is completely gone. The King and executioner search for it and everyone else goes back to playing croquet.
  • Wonderland, Chapter 9

    The Mock Turtle's Story

    • The Duchess says she's glad to see Alice and takes her by the arm. The walk together, and Alice is relieved that the Duchess is less cranky than the last time they meet. She wonders if this is because there's less pepper in the air.
    • The Duchess rebukes Alice for forgetting to talk and says she can't remember what the moral of that is. She insists that everything has a moral, if only you can find it.
    • Alice makes polite conversation about the game and the Duchess applies a totally irrelevant moral to her comment. Alice is irritated that the Duchess is holding her arm and resting her chin on her shoulder. The Duchess wants to put her arm around Alice's waist, but she's afraid of Alice's croquet-mallet flamingo.
    • The Duchess keeps applying complicated-sounding morals to everything Alice says, even the remark that mustard is a vegetable.
    • Suddenly the Queen steps in front of Alice and the Duchess. The Queen gives the Duchess the choice of leaving or being executed, and the Duchess quickly leaves. The Queen takes Alice back to the croquet game.
    • As the game continues, the Queen keeps ordering that other players be executed. Each time she does, the soldiers have to stop being arches to take them into custody. Finally, only the King, Queen, and Alice are left playing.
    • The Queen asks Alice if she's seen the Mock Turtle, which is supposedly the animal that mock turtle soup is made from. Alice says no, and the Queen says she'll introduce her. As they leave, the King pardons all the people that the Queen condemned to death.
    • The Queen introduces Alice to a Gryphon and asks it to take her to meet the Mock Turtle and hear his story. Then the Queen leaves to attend to the executions she's ordered. The Gryphon watches her go and laughs to himself, telling Alice that "they never executes nobody."
    • The Gryphon leads Alice to the Mock Turtle, who is crying. The Gryphon tells Alice that he doesn't really feel any sorrow – he just imagines that he does.
    • The Mock Turtle begins telling Alice his story. Once, he says, he was a real turtle. There are long pauses in this story where he sobs, which makes Alice impatient.
    • The Mock Turtle describes his schooldays in the sea. His teacher was a Tortoise – so named because he "taught us."
    • The Mock Turtle lists the subjects that he studied in school and seems anxious to prove that his education is just as good as, if not better than, Alice's. All the subjects he describes are parodies of things you really learn in school: ambition instead of addition, mystery instead of history, and so on.
    • The Mock Turtle explains that all his subjects were taught in lessons, which lessened from day to day. Alice wonders what they did on the last day, when they had lessened away to nothing, but the Gryphon changes the subject and says to tell Alice about the games (sports).
  • Wonderland, Chapter 10

    The Lobster-Quadrille

    • The Mock Turtle sighs and pauses for a bit, crying to himself. Finally he tells Alice that she may not know what a Lobster-Quadrille is, and she says she doesn't. He explains that it's a dance, and the best way to explain it is to show it to her.
    • The Mock Turtle and Gryphon begin dancing the Lobster Quadrille for Alice's amusement. (A "quadrille" is a lively kind of Victorian dance, fashionable at the time Lewis Carroll was writing.)
    • As the Mock Turtle and Gryphon dance, they get more and more excited and begin shouting a description of the dance to Alice. Suddenly they finish the first "figure" – the first part of the dance – and become completely still.
    • Alice says she'd like to see more, so the creatures dance the first figure again, singing a tune for themselves. The Gryphon says he's forgotten the words, so the Mock Turtle sings a slow, sad song. Verse Alert!
    • The Mock Turtle's song is a silly story about a whiting and a snail dancing together with a porpoise, a lobster, and turtles.
    • When they're finished, Alice says that it was very interesting to watch, but really she's just glad that it's over.
    • The Mock Turtle and Gryphon keep asking Alice which sea-creatures she is familiar with. She begins describing seafood that she would eat at the table – lobsters covered in crumbs, and so on. Then she has to stop herself so that she doesn't offend her new friends.
    • The Gryphon tells Alice that the whiting (a crustacean) is called that because it "does the boots and shoes" in the sea, just like we use blacking to polish our boots on land.
    • Alice asks about the "porpoise" in the song, and the Mock Turtle replies with a play on words, interpreting it as "purpose."
    • The Gryphon asks to hear some of Alice's own adventures. Alice tells them the story of her travels through Wonderland, beginning with the White Rabbit.
    • When Alice starts explaining how she mis-recited "You are old, Father William," the animals are curious and ask her to recite another poem, "'Tis the voice of the sluggard." It's another Verse Alert!
    • Alice tries to recite the poem, but, of course, it comes out all wrong. Instead of being a moral lesson about a lazy boy, it becomes the story of a baked lobster. The Mock Turtle and Gryphon tell her she's talking nonsense.
    • Finally Alice gives up on reciting the poem, which she can't even explain. The animals offer to go on with the dance or sing her a song. Alice asks for a song, and – Verse Alert again! – the Mock Turtle sings a song about soup.
    • In the distance, Alice hears someone call out that the trial is beginning. The Gryphon takes her by the hand and they run toward the call. The Mock Turtle remains behind, still singing the chorus of his song about soup.
  • Wonderland, Chapter 11

    Who Stole the Tarts?

    • Alice and the Gryphon arrive at the court to find the King and Queen of Hearts on their thrones with a crowd of people around them. The Knave, who is the defendant, is in chains. The White Rabbit is the announcer and has a trumpet and a scroll. On display is a pan of tarts.
    • Alice sits down and starts thinking about all the people and things in the trial. She notices that the King is wearing a wig along with his crown, making him the Judge. Twelve of the little animals Alice has met in her adventures, including Bill the Lizard, are in the jury box writing on slates.
    • The White Rabbit calls for silence. Alice is irritated by the squeaking pencil that Bill is using on his slate and takes it away from him.
    • The King asks the White Rabbit to read the charge. The Rabbit unrolls his scroll and reads (Verse Alert!) a poem about the Knave of Hearts stealing some tarts that the Queen of Hearts made.
    • The King is ready for a verdict from the jury, but the Rabbit reminds him that they have to finish the trial first.
    • The King calls the first witness: the Mad Hatter. He's still drinking tea and eating bread and butter, which he takes with him into the witness box.
    • The Hatter gets in trouble right away. The King doesn't understand that it's always teatime for him. He wants him to take off his hat, but he can't, because it's not his own but one for sale.
    • The Hatter is so nervous that he bites his teacup instead of the bread.
    • Alice notices that she is growing larger again. The Dormouse, sitting beside her, complains that she is squeezing him.
    • The Queen stares at the Hatter, then asks for the list of singers from the last concert, which makes him even more nervous. (Remember, that was when he offended her by "murdering the time" of his song.)
    • The King tries to get the Hatter to give his evidence, but he keeps rambling on about the tea party and trying to blame the Dormouse or the Hare for what he knows. Finally, the King gets frustrated and lets him stand down. He runs away before the Queen can have him executed.
    • The King calls the next witness, who is the Duchess's cook. She brings the box of pepper with her and everyone starts sneezing.
    • The cook refuses to give evidence, and the Rabbit tells the King he'll have to cross-examine her.
    • The King asks the cook what tarts are made of, and she says they're mostly pepper.
    • The Dormouse, talking in its sleep, interrupts. The Queen freaks out and has him turned out of court.
    • The King dismisses the cook and calls the next witness – Alice herself!
  • Wonderland, Chapter 12

    Alice's Evidence

    • Alice jumps up to get into the witness box, forgetting that she has grown huge again. She knocks over the jury box and all the jurors spill out onto the floor, like goldfish knocked out of a bowl.
    • Alice apologizes and picks up the jurors, putting them back in the box. At first she puts Bill the Lizard in upside-down, and the King makes her turn him right-side-up.
    • The King asks Alice what she knows about the trial and she tells him nothing. The King says this is very important, but the Rabbit corrects him, saying it's unimportant.
    • The King reads a rule saying that people more than a mile high must leave the court. Alice says this is nonsense and refuses to go.
    • The King calls for the verdict again, but the Rabbit says there is still more evidence: a letter from the prisoner.
    • The Knave says he didn't write the letter, but the King refuses to accept this and has the White Rabbit read it. This is – you guessed it – our last Verse Alert for Wonderland.
    • The White Rabbit reads out an incomprehensible poem. What's particularly confusing about it is that there aren't any proper names. It begins, "They told me you had been to her / And mentioned me to him," and just gets more confusing from there.
    • The King thinks this poem is an important piece of evidence, but Alice thinks that it's nonsense.
    • The King persists in trying to come up with elaborate interpretations of different passages in the poem. Alice argues with him, showing the flaws in his reasoning.
    • The Queen is angered by the suggestion that she has fits and throws an inkstand at Bill the Lizard. Alice argues with the Queen, who wants to have the sentence first and the verdict afterwards. The Queen orders Alice executed, but none of the soldiers try to arrest her since she is now enormous.
    • Alice announces that she doesn't care what any of them think, since they're only a pack of cards. The whole pack leaps up at her and she begins beating them away with her hands.
    • Alice wakes up to discover that she has been lying asleep under the tree beside her sister. What she thought were playing cards are dead leaves in her face.
    • Alice tells her sister about her adventures in Wonderland. Her sister sends her into the house for tea.
    • Alice's sister remains by herself under the tree. She daydreams about Alice, about the fantasy creatures that Alice described, and about what Alice will be like as an old woman telling the story to her own children.
  • Looking-Glass, Chapter 1

    Looking-Glass House

    • The narrator begins by telling us that "it" – whatever "it" is – is the fault of the black kitten, not the white one. The white one has been having its face washed by the old cat and couldn't be responsible.
    • "It" turns out to be the unwinding of an enormous ball of yarn that Alice spent a long time winding up earlier, before taking a nap.
    • Alice catches the black kitten and scolds it. Holding and talking to the kitten, she begins winding up the yarn again.
    • Alice tells the kitten that there is going to be a bonfire tomorrow. Then she tries winding yarn around the kitten's neck, but the kitten doesn't like this.
    • Alice begins wondering aloud about punishment, since she's been thinking about how she needs to punish the kitten. She's been saving the kitten's punishments for all the naughty things it does, and she wonders what it would be like if her nurse and parents saved all her punishments up for the end of a year.
    • Looking outside, Alice watches the snow fall and admires the winter landscape.
    • Alice asks the kitten if it can play chess. She thinks maybe it can, because it seems to look very intently at the pieces when Alice is playing. She pretends that the kitten is the Red Queen, since it looks a little bit like that piece.
    • The kitten won't cooperate with Alice's attempts to fold its paws in the position of the Red Queen's arms. She holds it up to the mirror over the fireplace as a punishment and threatens to put it through into Looking-Glass House.
    • Alice tells the kitten what she imagines about Looking-Glass House, the backwards version of her own house that she can see in the mirror. She longs to get through the mirror and explore the parts of it that aren't visible.
    • Alice tells the kitten that they'll pretend the glass is going soft like gauze and they're going through. And then it actually happens! Alice (without the kitten) makes it through the mirror and into Looking-Glass World.
    • Alice jumps off the mantelpiece into the room and begins exploring. The parts of the room that she couldn't see in the mirror are the most exciting and strange.
    • Looking at the hearth, Alice notices that the chess pieces have come to life and are walking around in the cinders. She gets on her hands and knees to watch them, discovering that she is invisible to them.
    • One of the White Pawns on the table has a fit, crying and screaming. The White Queen tries to get back to it but has trouble climbing up the table. Alice picks her up and puts her beside her daughter.
    • The Queen is startled but eventually recovers her breath and warns the White King that there is a volcano nearby that might blow up to the table. Alice picks up the White King and puts him onto the table also, pausing to dust him off with her hand, since he's covered in cinders.
    • The White King is deeply shocked by the experience of being lifted and dusted by an invisible hand. He decides to make a memorandum of his experience in his notebook so that he won't forget about it, but when he takes out his book and pencil Alice holds onto the end of it and writes her own memorandum.
    • Next, Alice sees a book lying on the table. She opens it, only to discover that all the words are printed backwards. She holds it up to the mirror and reads it in the reflection.
    • Verse Alert: Alice reads a poem from the book called "Jabberwocky." We have a lot to say about this poem, so go check it out in the poetry section.
    • Alice doesn't really understand the poem, but decides to leave the house and explore. She rushes out of the room, floats down the stairs, and heads out the door.
  • Looking-Glass, Chapter 2

    The Garden of Live Flowers

    • Having left the house, Alice tries to walk to the top of a little hill to get a view of the garden. But no matter which way she walks, she always finds herself entering the house again.
    • Alice refuses to go back into the house; she's sure that will be the end of her adventures. This time, she comes across a bed of flowers. Talking to herself, she wishes that the Tiger-lily could talk.
    • The Tiger-lily surprises Alice by replying to her. The Rose criticizes Alice's appearance, interpreting her skirt as drooping petals.
    • Alice asks the flowers if they're afraid, being planted alone in the garden and vulnerable to anyone that comes by. They tell her that the tree would protect them by barking – saying "bough-wough."
    • At this, the Daisies begin chattering, and Alice makes them shut up by threatening to pick them.
    • Alice is amazed that there are talking flowers, and the Tiger-lily and Rose explain to her that all flowers can talk, only in most gardens the beds are too soft so they fall asleep.
    • Alice asks the flowers if there are other people in the garden. They tell her there is one "flower" like her, but it has spikes around its head. Alice is puzzled until the Red Queen, wearing a spiky crown, comes walking around the corner. This time, the Queen is Alice's own size and can see her.
    • Alice tries to walk over to meet the Red Queen, but every time she tries, she finds herself walking back in the front door of the house. After she tries and fails several times, the flowers advise her to walk the opposite direction from where she wants to go.
    • Walking in the opposite direction works, and Alice finds herself talking to the Red Queen.
    • The Red Queen asks Alice where she's going, but as Alice tries to explain, the Queen keeps interrupting her with advice and arguments. Eventually, she falls silent and they walk together to the top of the hill.
    • Alice looks out across the country and realizes that this world is an enormous chessboard. Tiny brooks and narrow hedges divide the land into squares, and there are men moving about according to the rules of the game.
    • Alice wishes aloud that she could join the chess game, and the Red Queen says that Alice can be a White Pawn, since Lily, the White Queen's youngest daughter, is too young to play.
    • Suddenly Alice and the Red Queen are running like crazy. Alice is out of breath and the Queen keeps telling her to go faster, but nothing around them seems to move.
    • Finally they stop, and the Red Queen lets Alice rest. The Queen explains that, in Looking-Glass World, you have to run just to stand still.
    • The Queen offers Alice a biscuit (a cookie) and seems to expect this to quench her thirst. Unfortunately, even though this is a world of opposites, it doesn't.
    • The Queen sets out a series of pegs using a tape measure. As she and Alice walk between the pegs, the Queen explains the rules of the game and tells Alice what to do. Because Alice is a pawn, she starts in the second square. She will go through the third square by railway, then enter the fourth square where Tweedledum and Tweedledee live. Next is the fifth square, which is water. The sixth square is Humpty Dumpty's. The seventh square is a forest, which the White Knight will guide Alice through. When she reaches the eighth square, of course, she will be a Queen.
    • Having given these directions, the Red Queen disappears, and Alice is left alone to make her move in the game.
  • Looking-Glass, Chapter 3

    Looking-Glass Insects

    • Alice decides to make a survey of the country. She looks around her, observing the geography. She is distracted by the sight of elephants pollinating enormous flowers.
    • Alice decides to go in the other direction, because she's a little afraid of the elephants. She also wants to go into the Third Square. She leaps over a little brook and suddenly finds herself on a crowded train. The Guard comes through asking everyone for their tickets. Alice doesn't have one. A strange chorus of voices keeps making remarks about her situation.
    • The Guard studies Alice with a telescope, a microscope, and an opera-glass (like binoculars). He decides Alice is traveling the wrong direction and leaves.
    • The man facing Alice in the train compartment, who is dressed in white paper, says that a child of her age should know which way she's going, even if she doesn't know her own name. The other passengers in the train, including a Goat, a Horse, and a Beetle, make rude comments about Alice's ignorance. The Gnat, speaking in a tiny voice in Alice's ear, makes puns.
    • There is a squeal from the engine of the train. The Horse says that the train is going to jump over a brook. This makes Alice nervous, but she realizes it will take her into the Fourth Square.
    • The train carriage lifts into the air, and Alice finds herself sitting under a tree talking to the Gnat.
    • The Gnat asks Alice what the insects are like in her country. Alice says she's frightened of insects, but she knows some of their names. The Gnat wonders what use it is to give insects names if they don't answer to them.
    • The Gnat shows Alice some of the Looking-Glass insects. They include a Rocking-horse-fly, a Snap-dragon-fly, and a Bread-and-butter-fly.
    • The Gnat asks Alice if she wants to lose her name. Alice says she doesn't, and the Gnat warns her that in the wood nearby, the animals have no names.
    • The Gnat keeps making jokes and telling Alice that it wishes she had made them instead. It gets sadder and sadder until it sighs itself away.
    • Alice walks on into the Fourth Square. She comes to a dark wood, and the Gnat is proved right, because she forgets her own name when she enters it. She wonders who has her name and what new name people might give her.
    • Alice encounters a Fawn. The Fawn and Alice can't introduce themselves because they don't remember their own names. They walk along together, Alice putting her arms around the Fawn's neck.
    • At the end of the wood, the Fawn remembers what it is – and that it should be afraid of Alice. It runs away. Alice is sorry to see it go, but she's glad to know her own name again.
    • Alice wonders which way to go next. There are two sign-posts, pointing in the same direction, one to Tweedledee's house and one to Tweedledum's.
    • Alice keeps walking, and there are signs at regular intervals, but they always point in the same direction. Alice decides that Tweedledum and Tweedledee must live together.
    • Alice turns a corner and sees two fat little men standing together.
  • Looking-Glass, Chapter 4

    Tweedledum and Tweedledee

    • Alice stares at Tweedledum and Tweedledee for a long time. She can tell them apart because the ends of their names are written on their collars.
    • One of the brothers tells Alice that, if she thinks they're wax figurines, she should pay for looking. The other brother tells her that, if she thinks they're alive, she should speak to them.
    • Alice apologizes and remembers a nursery rhyme. Verse Alert! – it's the rhyme about the brothers Tweedledum and Tweedledee, who have a battle over a broken rattle until they're disturbed by a giant crow.
    • Alice asks the brothers to tell her the best way out of the wood. They refuse.
    • The brothers tell Alice that she started wrong and that they should all shake hands. They clasp hands and suddenly they're dancing around in a ring together singing "Here we go round the mulberry bush."
    • When they stop dancing, there is an awkward pause. Tweedledee asks if Alice likes poetry, and she says yes in a doubtful way. The brothers confer, and Tweedledee decides to recite "The Walrus and the Carpenter," because it's long. Alice tries to persuade him to show her the way out of the wood before it gets dark, but he insists.
    • Verse Alert: Tweeledee recites "The Walrus and the Carpenter." The poem tells the story of a Walrus and a Carpenter who make friends with a bunch of oysters. They take the oysters for a walk, but it turns out to be a trick – they eat every single oyster.
    • At the end of the poem, Alice says that she likes the Walrus, because he was sorry for the oysters. Tweedledee tells her that he ate more of the oysters. Then Alice says she likes the Carpenter best because he ate fewer, but Tweedledum reminds her that he ate as many as he could. Alice is puzzled and doesn't know what to think.
    • Then Alice hears a strange noise. The brothers tell her that it's the Red King snoring. They take Alice to see him and they scare her by telling her that she is only an imaginary character in his dream. According to Tweedledum and Tweedledee, if he woke up, she would vanish. Alice insists that she's real and begins crying.
    • Finally Alice says that she has to leave the wood because it's dark and might rain. Tweedledum spreads an umbrella over himself and his brother.
    • Alice is about to leave when Tweedledum shows her a broken rattle. He's angry because it was nice and new until his brother broke it.
    • Tweedledee tries to shut himself up in his umbrella, but it doesn't really work.
    • The brothers agree to have a battle. Alice helps them put on their armor, which consists of all kinds of housewares – pots and pans, mattresses, rugs, and so on – which she ties around them.
    • The brothers, who now look like bundles of rags, agree to fight for an hour and a half and then have dinner. They tell Alice to stand well back, because they tend to hit everything they can reach when they fight.
    • Before the brothers can start their battle, a monstrous crow appears. In fact, the darkness overhead is not a rain cloud – it's been the crow all along!
    • The brothers run away. Alice runs into the wood to hide from the crow. While she's there, she finds a shawl blowing away in the wind and catches it.
  • Looking-Glass, Chapter 5

    Wool and Water

    • Alice returns the shawl to its owner, the White Queen, who comes running along behind it. She tries to help the Queen put the shawl back on and straighten her untidy hair which has the brush caught in it.
    • Alice remarks that the White Queen seems to need a lady's maid. The White Queen offers the job to Alice, but they get confused about terms. The White Queen offers jam every other day, and Alice is confused because this seems to mean it's never the day for the jam.
    • The White Queen tells Alice that the confusion comes from living backwards. She explains that, in Looking-Glass World, effects happen before causes. For example, the King's messenger is in prison now, his trial begins on Wednesday, and after that he'll commit the crime.
    • Alice asks what would happen if the messenger never committed the crime at all. The White Queen says that would be even better.
    • Suddenly the Queen starts screaming and shaking her hand, saying that her finger is bleeding. After this, she pricks her finger on the pin of her brooch. Then she's fine. The pain came before the accident, because things happen backwards.
    • Alice begins to feel lonely and starts crying. The White Queen encourages her to stop crying by considering things. She asks Alice's age, and Alice says she's seven and a half. The Queen says she is 101 years old, plus five months and a day.
    • Alice can't believe the Queen's age. The Queen says she used to practice believing impossible things when she was young.
    • The White Queen's shawl is blown away on another gust of wind, and she runs after it and catches it.
    • Alice says she hopes the Queen's finger is better. As they're walking, they cross a little brook, and as the Queen repeats the word "better," it turns into a bleat. She has transformed into a sheep, and they are in the Fifth Square.
    • The Sheep, who sits at a counter knitting, is a shopkeeper. Alice looks around the shop, but it's hard to tell what is being sold because things keep moving around.
    • Alice begins to stare at the Sheep, who is knitting with fourteen pairs of needles at once. She gives a pair to Alice and asks if Alice can row.
    • Alice says she can't row on land with needles, but before she has finished explaining, she finds herself in a boat holding oars. The Sheep keeps telling her to feather so she doesn't catch a crab. Alice thinks she is talking about a literal feather and the animal crab, but of course these are rowing terms: feathering is what you do with the oars in the water, and a crab is when one of the oars gets stuck in a strong eddy and pulled out of your hand.
    • The boat drifts among some beautiful scented rushes. Alice picks as many as she can, but the most beautiful ones are always out of reach.
    • One of the oars gets stuck in the water and the end of it catches Alice under the chin. She is thrown to the bottom of the boat, but she doesn't get hurt. The Sheep says that Alice caught a crab, but Alice still thinks she means the animal.
    • The Sheep asks Alice what she wants to buy, and Alice realizes they are back in the shop. Alice asks to buy an egg and somehow finds the money in her pocket to pay for it.
    • The Sheep sets the egg down at one end of the shop and tells Alice to go get it herself. As Alice walks toward the egg, it seems further and further away. She finds herself walking through a wood. Then she crosses a brook, and – you know what that means – she's in the Sixth Square!
  • Looking-Glass, Chapter 6

    Humpty Dumpty

    • The egg gets larger and larger, and when Alice gets close to it she realizes that it's Humpty Dumpty. She can't help saying aloud how much he looks like an egg.
    • Humpty Dumpty tells her that it's irritating to him to be called an egg. Alice tries to explain that she only said he looked like one, and some eggs are very pretty, anyway. Humpty Dumpty is still offended and won't look at her.
    • Verse Alert: Alice repeats the nursery rhyme "Humpty Dumpty" quietly to herself.
    • Humpty Dumpty tells Alice to stop chattering to herself and tell him her name and business. When she says her name is Alice, he asks what it means. He says that his name indicates his shape, but hers doesn't.
    • Alice tries to warn Humpty Dumpty about the dangers of sitting perched high on a wall. Humpty Dumpty explains that there's no possible chance he could fall off, but if he did, the King has promised to send all his horses and his men.
    • Alice interjects the part about the horses and the men, which she remembers from the rhyme. Humpty Dumpty thinks she has been spying on him and gets angry, but she explains that she read it in a book.
    • They lose track of the conversation and decide to start over. Humpty Dumpty asks Alice her age, and she says she's seven and a half. Humpty Dumpty tells her she should have stopped at seven, and she is offended by this remark.
    • Alice changes the subject by complimenting Humpty Dumpty on his cravat (a kind of necktie) – but she can't decide whether it's really a cravat or a belt. He's offended and explains that it's a cravat, a gift from the White King and Queen for his un-birthday.
    • Alice says she thinks un-birthday presents aren't as nice as birthday presents. Humpty Dumpty says they're better, because you only get one birthday a year, but you get 364 un-birthdays.
    • Humpty Dumpty begins using fancy words, and each time he does, he gives Alice a long explanation of what he's using the word to mean. Alice isn't sure you can make words mean so many different things, but Humpty Dumpty says you can. He explains that he pays them extra when he makes them work really hard.
    • Since Humpty Dumpty seems to be good with words, Alice asks him to explain the poem "Jabberwocky," which she read in Looking-Glass House in Chapter 1. Line by line, Humpty Dumpty explains what the poem means, giving Alice definitions for the words she didn't know.
    • Verse Alert: Humpty Dumpty offers to recite a poem to Alice. Alice tries to stop him, but he's determined. He recites a nonsense poem in couplets about fishes.
    • At the end of the poem, Humpty Dumpty abruptly says goodbye to Alice. She wishes him goodbye until they meet again, but he says he won't recognize her the next time because she looks just like everybody else.
    • Humpty Dumpty shuts his eyes, and Alice walks away. She says to herself that he is a very unsatisfactory person.
    • Suddenly there is a loud crash, and the whole forest shakes.
  • Looking-Glass, Chapter 7

    The Lion and the Unicorn

    • Soldiers come running through the wood in a huge crowd. After them come a bunch of horses. Alice finds her way out of the stampede and into a glade where the White King is sitting, writing in his notebook.
    • The King tells Alice that he's kept his promise, sending all his horses and all his men. Presumably they are going to try to put Humpty Dumpty together again. (Remember that crash at the end of Chapter 6? We think that was probably Humpty Dumpty falling off the wall.)
    • The King tells Alice to look for the Messengers, who went into town. Alice peers off into the distance and sees a man walking toward them, wriggling and skipping and generally making strange gestures. The King tells Alice that these gestures are Anglo-Saxon attitudes and that the messenger's name is Haigha.
    • Alice begins playing a word game with Haigha's name, thinking of other things that start with H – living on a Hill, eating Ham-Sandwiches and Hay, and so on.
    • The messenger arrives and the King is disturbed by his strange gestures. By a funny coincidence, Haigha has a bag of food with just what Alice imagined in her game – ham sandwiches and hay. The White King eats some of both and feels better.
    • The King asks the messenger what is happening in the town. The messenger says that the Lion and the Unicorn are fighting for the crown again.
    • Verse Alert: Alice recites the nursery rhyme about the Lion and the Unicorn.
    • Alice asks the King if the one who wins the fight gets the crown. He says no.
    • Alice and the White King hurry toward the town to see the Lion and Unicorn fighting. They find the other messenger, Hatta, watching the fight, drinking tea, and eating bread and butter. We learn that Hatta is the messenger the White Queen mentioned who went to jail before his trial and crime.
    • The Lion and the Unicorn pause in their fight and everyone takes a ten-minute break for snacks. The refreshments are the same as the ones described in the nursery rhyme: white bread, brown bread, and plum cake.
    • The White Queen goes running by too fast for anyone to catch her. (Remember, Queens can move any number of squares at a time in chess, so her rapid movement is related to a move in the game.)
    • The Lion and Unicorn stop by to say hello to the king. The Unicorn sees Alice and is astonished, saying he didn't believe in children and thought they were imaginary monsters. Alice says that's what she thought about Unicorns. Alice and the Unicorn agree to believe in each other from now on.
    • Alice helps out by handing around the next food described in the nursery rhyme, the plum cake. At first she has trouble cutting it, but then they explain to her that it is a Looking-Glass cake; it gets handed around first and cut afterwards.
    • The drums begin in the distance. (As we're sure you remember, the last line of the nursery rhyme is about the Lion and Unicorn getting drummed out of town.)
    • Alice is frightened by the drums and jumps to her feet, leaping over a brook in the process –
    • – and she lands in the Seventh Square.
  • Looking-Glass, Chapter 8

    'It's My Own Invention'

    • The noise dies away and Alice looks up. She wonders again whether she is in her own dream or the Red King's.
    • A Red Knight gallops up and takes Alice prisoner. Then a White Knight gallops up and challenges him to a battle over her.
    • Alice hides behind a tree while the Knights fight. Their battle is silly and haphazard; they hold their clubs with their arms instead of their hands and they fall off their horses a lot. Eventually the Red Knight gallops away and the White Knight seems to be victorious.
    • The White Knight offers to take Alice to the Eighth Square and she accepts.
    • Alice helps the White Knight take off his helmet. He's dressed in ill-fitting armor and there are all kinds of strange things strung around his horse.
    • The Knight tells Alice about one of his inventions – a box for storing things that's hung upside down so the rain doesn't get in. Unfortunately, all the things have fallen out. The Knight hangs it on a tree instead so that it can be used as a beehive.
    • Alice notices a beehive and a mousetrap hanging from the Knight's saddle. They talk about these items and the Knight explains that he wants to be prepared for anything.
    • The Knight notices the dish Alice is still carrying. He tucks it away into his bag in case they find any more plum-cake.
    • As they start their journey, the Knight asks Alice if her hair is fastened adequately. He tells her about a silly invention for keeping hair from falling off by making it grow up sticks.
    • Alice notices that the Knight is a very bad rider; he falls off every time the horse stops and starts. She says the Knight must not have had very much practice riding, which offends him.
    • Alice suggests that the Knight use a wooden horse on wheels instead, since it would go more smoothly.
    • There is a pause and then the Knight tells Alice about a new plan he's invented for getting over a gate by doing a headstand.
    • Alice comments on the Knight's strange helmet. He tells her about another helmet he made for himself that was so large he once fell into it. The other White Knight came to put it on, and he had to kick the Knight in the head.
    • Alice asks the Knight how he can keep talking when he falls over, and the Knight says his brain keeps working no matter where his body is.
    • The Knight tells Alice about a strange pudding (the British term for "dessert") that he invented, made with blotting-paper, gunpowder, and sealing wax.
    • They arrive at the end of the Seventh Square. The Knight offers to sing Alice a song before she leaves him. He spends a long time telling her the title of the song – it seems to have a whole series of titles, including titles of the titles.
    • The Knight sings for Alice. He is a picturesque figure, and years later she remembers the scene vividly.
    • Verse Alert: the Knight sings a song all about his daydreams and strange plans and inventions.
    • When the Knight finishes singing, he gives Alice directions and rides away. He asks Alice to wave to him as he turns the corner, and she does.
    • Alice turns and leaps across the last of the brooks and finds herself in the Eighth Square. A huge golden crown appears on her head.
  • Looking-Glass, Chapter 9

    Queen Alice

    • Alice tries to get used to the idea that she is now a Queen. She gets up and walks back and forth, feeling the weight of her crown on her head.
    • Suddenly the Red and White Queens are sitting on either side of Alice. They tell her that she won't really be a Queen until she has passed an examination.
    • Alice tries to talk to them, but they twist her words and don't let her finish her sentences. She gets frustrated, and they tell her that she's bad-tempered.
    • There is a silence. The Red and White Queens invite each other to Alice's dinner party that afternoon. Alice didn't even know about the party, but they still think she's rude for not issuing the invitations.
    • The Queens begin asking Alice about what she learned in her lessons. The White Queen asks an addition question, but Alice loses count. The Red Queen asks a subtraction question, but Alice says it's impossible.
    • The White Queen gives Alice a division problem: divide a loaf by a knife. The Red Queen answers before Alice can: "bread and butter."
    • The Red Queen asks Alice what happens when you subtract a bone from a dog. The answer is that the dog's temper remains, because the dog loses its temper and then runs away.
    • Confused, Alice asks the White Queen if she can do these kinds of sums. The White Queen admits that she can do addition, but not subtraction – which she calls substraction.
    • The White Queen and Alice talk about the alphabet. The White Queen brags that she can read words of one letter.
    • The Red Queen tries to ask Alice a "useful question" about how to make bread, but she stops Alice every few words and makes her define her answer.
    • The Queens decide that Alice must be feverish with so much thinking and fan her madly.
    • Next, the Queens ask questions about languages and about the cause of lighting. This brings up the subject of weather, and the White Queen talks about the thunderstorms that happened on the last set of Tuesdays. As the Queens explain, days and nights come two or three at a time in Looking-Glass World.
    • Alice gives up on trying to understand, but the Queens keep telling stories about their strange country. The White Queen says that during the thunderstorm Humpty Dumpty came to her door carrying a corkscrew and looking for a hippopotamus.
    • The White Queen admits that she was frightened of the thunderstorm. The Red Queen asks Alice to excuse her for saying foolish things and tells Alice to pat the White Queen on the head.
    • The Red Queen begins singing a lullaby for the White Queen, who goes to sleep in Alice's lap. Then the Red Queen also falls asleep. Alice doesn't know what to do.
    • The Queens begin snoring, the sound of which turns into a tune. The Queens vanish, but Alice hardly notices. Looking up, she sees that she is standing in front of an arched doorway with the words "Queen Alice" over it.
    • Alice wants to go through the doorway, but there are two bells – one for visitors and one for servants – and she doesn't fit either category. She doesn't know what to do.
    • A footman sticks his head out the door and tells her that she can't get in until the week after next. Then he slams the door shut.
    • Alice knocks and rings both bells for awhile, to no avail. An old frog sitting under a tree gets up and comes to see what she's up to.
    • Alice says that she's trying to get someone to answer the door. The frog wants to know what the door has been asking.
    • Alice and the frog argue for awhile, then the frog shuffles away.
    • The door is flung open and Alice hears a song from inside. The song is about her, welcoming Queen Alice to her banquet. Each time they come to the refrain, the number of guests gets larger. Alice finally goes in when they get to "ninety times nine" guests, afraid the hall just won't hold them all.
    • When Alice appears, the crowd falls silent. The hall is full of about fifty guests, including many of the creatures she met on her adventure in Looking-Glass World.
    • Alice joins the Red and White Queens at the head of the table. The Red Queen tells Alice that she missed the first two courses of the meal.
    • The third course, the Joint, arrives at the table. The Red Queen introduces Alice to the Joint, which is a Leg of Mutton. The Mutton gets up and bows to Alice. Alice offers to carve the Mutton and give slices to the other Queens, but they tell her it's rude to cut someone she's been introduced to. ("Cut" in Victorian slang meant "pretend not to know" – so to "cut" someone was to snub them in public. Yes, it's yet another pun.)
    • The waiters take away the Joint and bring a Plum Pudding. Alice asks not to be introduced, because she wants to eat it. The Red Queen introduces her anyway and sends the pudding away.
    • Alice orders the Plum Pudding brought back and cuts slices of it. The Pudding tells her that she is being impertinent.
    • The Red Queen tells Alice to make conversation, so she tells the Pudding that she's heard a lot of poetry over the course of the day, mostly about fishes.
    • This reminds the White Queen that she knows a poem that is a riddle about fishes. She recites it to Alice and the guests.
    • While Alice thinks about the riddle, the guests drink a toast to her health.
    • The Red Queen tells Alice to make a speech. While she does, the Queens try to support her – literally. They push from either side and Alice rises up in the air.
    • Suddenly, all the candles grow tall, the bottles on the table make themselves wings out of plates, and everything becomes strange and chaotic.
    • The guests and tableware start changing places. The White Queen ends up in the soup tureen and the Leg of Mutton in her chair.
    • Alice pulls on the tablecloth and everything comes tumbling down in a big crash.
    • The Red Queen, who has shrunk small again, is running around on the table chasing her shawl. Alice grabs her and decides to shake her until she turns into a kitten.
  • Looking-Glass, Chapter 10


    Alice picks up the Red Queen and says that she'll shake her into a kitten. The Red Queen begins to change shape and size, and then …

  • Looking-Glass, Chapter 11


    Alice discovers that she is holding the black kitten after all.

  • Looking-Glass, Chapter 12

    Which Dreamed It?

    Back at home in England, Alice rubs her eyes, apparently waking from a dream.

  • Alice tries to talk to Kitty, the black kitten, about her adventure, but it simply purrs.
  • Alice finds the Red Queen among the chess pieces and shows it to Kitty, trying to make the kitten admit that it's the Red Queen. It won't, but Alice is convinced that it knows.
  • Looking over at Snowdrop, the White Kitten, Alice finds that she is still being washed by Dinah, the old cat. She realizes that Snowdrop turned into the White Queen.
  • Looking at Dinah, Alice thinks she must have turned into Humpty Dumpty.
  • Turning back to Kitty, Alice tells it that she heard a lot of poetry on this adventure, all about fishes. She promises to recite "The Walrus and the Carpenter" for the kitten the next day.
  • Alice asks Kitty whether she herself (Alice) dreamed the adventure, or whether they are simply all characters in the Red King's dream.
  • The narrator ends by asking us the same question: which of them dreamed it?