Study Guide

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass Looking-Glass, Chapter 4

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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.

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