Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass

Book: Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll

"Off with her head"

Synopsis: Alice begins her adventures when she follows the frantically delayed White Rabbit down a hole into the magical world of Wonderland, where she meets a variety of wonderful creatures, including Tweedledee and Tweedledum, the Cheshire Cat, the hookah-smoking Caterpillar, the Mad Hatter, and the Queen of Hearts—who, with the help of her enchanted deck of playing cards, tricks Alice into playing a bizarre game of croquet. Alice continues her adventures in Through the Looking-Glass, which is loosely based on a game of chess and includes Carroll’s famous poem “Jabberwocky.”

Throughout her fantastic journeys, Alice retains her reason, humor, and sense of justice. She has become one of the great characters of imaginative literature, as immortal as Don Quixote, Huckleberry Finn, Captain Ahab, Sherlock Holmes, and Dorothy Gale of Kansas. [via Barnes & Noble]

Book Notes: I've always had a vague memory of Alice in Wonderland. It was definitely one of my childhood films growing up, but not particularly one of my favourites. I have to admit, i know of the characters fairly well, but Alice has become more of a pop culture icon that one forgets that she originally came from imaginative fiction. Most of what i really know about this character and her story are blurry memory recalls that were freshened up by a trip to Storybook land in a Disney theme park riding through the story in a caterpillar or taking a spin in one of the Mad Hatters tea cups. I know of but i dont really know. So i decided to take a trip down the rabbit hole and join the creatures of Wonderland for a tea party and a game of croquet or two.

Getting through the two books, one would be completely insane not to notice that this is simply absurd. There really isnt much of a story plot but more of a narration of all these strange, illogical creatures that inhabit Wonderland. Most of the conversation in the book are rhymes without reason and questions without any answers. But despite what seems like "nonsense" you strangely discover that its in the nonsensical that makes so much sense.

Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass created an inverted world that we are not familiar with. Perhaps because of routine, its easy to get jaded when you're stuck in the rat race. we dull our senses to the amazing world we have in front of us. these books are exactly what every adult (despite being a 'childrens book') must read. When we were younger, we were curious. we were in WONDER-land. The telling of this tale reminds us to go back. remain curious, stay curious. WONDER! its funny cause this was my first lesson in Epistemology—i am a student of Philosophy after all. (i say am, because wonder and curiosity should never stop.)

As children we rush to adulthood, but as adults we must constantly look back and relearn all these beautiful ideals we had when we were kids. Butterflies can be insects made out of bread and butter, the realm of the imagination is an abyss—continue to imagine. We all came from Wonderland once, now its time for all of us to step through the looking-glass and rediscover what Wonderland has in store for us now...Believe in six impossible things before breakfast.


"Oh dear, oh dear. I shall be too late."

"I was all very well to say 'Drink me' but the wise little Alice was not going to do that in a hurry. 'No I'll look first,' she said, 'and see whether its marked poison or not'"

"Who are YOU?" said the Caterpillar.
This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, "I--I hardly know, sir, just at present-- at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then."

"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."

"Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin," thought Alice; " but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever say in my life!"

`If everybody minded their own business,' the Duchess said in a hoarse growl, `the world would go round a deal faster than it does.'

"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.
"I don’t much care where--" said Alice.
"Then it doesn’t matter which way you go," said the Cat.
"--so long as I get SOMEWHERE," Alice added as an explanation.
"Oh, you’re sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

The Hatter opened his eyes very wide on hearing this; but all he said was, "Why is a raven like a writing-desk?"

"Thats very curious!" she thought. "but everythings curious today. i think i may as well go in at once." and in she went.

"'Would you tell me, please,' Alice asked timidly, 'why you are painting those roses?' Five and Seven said nothing, but looked at Two. Two began, in a low voice, 'Why, the fact is, you see, Miss, this here ought to have been a red rose tree, and we put a white one in by mistake; and if the Queen was to find out, we should all have our heads cut off, you know."

"Off with their heads!"
"'Why did you call him Tortoise if he wasnt one? Alice asked. 'We call him Tortoise because he taught us,' said the Mock Turtle angrily. 'Really you are very dull.'"

"Sentence first—verdict afterwards."

"So she sat on, with closed eyes and half believe herself in Wonderland, though she knew she had but to open them again, and all would change to dull reality."


Alice laughed. "There's no use trying," she said: "one can't believe impossible things."

"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

"Who did you pass on the road? the King went on, holding out his hand to the Messenger for some new hay. "Nobody," said the Messenger. "Quite right," said the King: "this young lady saw him too. So of course nobody walks slower than you."

"Contrawise," continued Tweedledee, "if it was so right, it might be: and if it were so, it would be; but as it isnt, it aint. That's logic."

"Thats the effect of living backwards," the Queen said kindly: "it makes one a little giddy at first—."

"I never ask advice about growing," Alice said indignantly. "Too proud?" the other inquired. Alice felt even more indignant at this suggestion. "i mean," she said, "that one can't help growing older." "One cant, perhaps," said Humpty Dumpty, "but two can. With proper assistance, you might have left off at seven."

"I mean, what is an un-birthday present?" "A present given when it isnt your birthday of course."

"You dont know how to manage Looking-glass cakes," the Unicorn remarked. "Hand it round first and cut it afterwards."


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