Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll summary



Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll summary


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Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll summary


Lewis Carroll Biography


Lewis Carroll was born in England on the 27th of January, 1832 as Charles Lutwig Dodgson.  He was the third child of eleven children who were all artistically inclined.  (They produced magazines of word games and acrostics.)  He went to Rugby school and had attended undergraduate studies at the prestigious Christ Church College.  He later became a Math Professor at Oxford from 1855-1881.  He wrote a number of children’s books including Adventures in Wonderland (1865), written for Alice Liddell.  He died at his sister’s home in Guilford in 1898.  Both Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel, Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (1872), are extremely popular to this day.


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Introduction


Alice in Wonderland was written in 1865 by Lewis Carroll.  Originally the book was not written for the public but for Alice Pleasance Liddell (the second daughter of the Dean of the Christ Church College).  On a warm summer day the author, a friend his friend Reverend Robinson Duckworth, and the three young Liddell sisters (Lorina Charlotte, age thirteen, Alice Pleasance, age ten, and Edith, age eight),  made a short trip up the Thames River in a rowboat.  On this boat trip Carroll told the story of  Alice, the young girl who goes on an unimaginable adventure into an unimaginable world. 

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has been translated into many languages, including Latin, Yiddish and Swahili.


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Summary



Alice in Wonderland begins with a poem about a lovely afternoon rowing a boat on a river.  Three girls plead with the speaker to tell them a story.  As he tries to stop, they plead for more of the story.  This is, in essence, how Alice in Wonderland truly came to be. 


Alice is sitting outside under a tree with her sister, bored from doing her studies when she decides to make a daisy chain.  While picking daisies, she spots a White Rabbit.  The White Rabbit is certainly no ordinary rabbit.  He has a pocket watch he pulls out of his waistcoat to exclaim how very late it is.  Intrigued by him she decides to follow him, and she does, right into a rabbit hole.  She falls for what seems like eternity.

  "Well!" thought Alice to herself. "After such a fall as this, I shall think nothing of tumbling downstairs! How brave they'll all think me at home! Why, I wouldn't say anything about it, even if I fell off the top of the house!" (Which was very likely true.)

   Down, down, down. Would the fall never come to an end? "I wonder how many miles I've fallen by this time?" she said aloud. "I must be getting somewhere near the centre of the earth. Let me see: that would be four thousand miles down, I think -- " (for, you see, Alice had learnt several things of this sort in her lessons in the schoolroom, and though this was not a very good opportunity for showing off her knowledge, as there was no one to listen to her, still it was good practice to say it over) " -- yes, that's about the right distance -- but then I wonder what Latitude and Longitude I've got to ?" (Alice had no idea what Latitude was, or Longitude either, but thought they were nice grand words to say.)

   Presently she began again. "I wonder if I shall fall right through the earth! How funny it'll seem to come out among the people that walk with their heads downwards! The Antipathies, I think -- " (she was rather glad there was no one listening, this time, as it didn't sound at all the right word) " -- but I shall have to ask them what the name of the country is, you know. Please, Ma'am, is this New Zealand or Australia?" (and she tried to curtsey as she spoke -- fancy curtseying as you're falling through the air! Do you think you could manage it?) "And what an ignorant little girl she'll think me! No, it'll never do to ask: perhaps I shall see it written up somewhere." Pgs. 12-13

 Finally she reaches the bottom and it is a long hallway with many doors, which are all locked. 


She finds a tiny key on a glass table.  Initially, she believes it is too small for the doors, and then finds the tiny, secret door behind the curtain.  Now the key works, but the door is too small for her. 

Through the keyhole Alice can see a lovely green garden, then she decides she must go in.  So, she goes back to the table and there is a bottle that says “DRINK ME”.  After checking to see if it was poisonous, she drinks all of it and Alice shrinks to the perfect size.  But soon realizes she has left the key on the table, which she is now too short to reach.  She begins to cry, but then she discovers a cake which has a note labeled “EAT ME”. Alice eats a bit and waits.



Alice begins to grow larger as the cake begins its effect.  She grows too large, the size of a giant, actually. 

Just then her head struck against the roof of the hall: in fact she was now more than nine feet high, and she at once took up the little golden key and hurried off to the garden door.

   Poor Alice! It was as much as she could do, lying down on one side, to look through into the garden with one eye; but to get through was more hopeless than ever: she sat down and began to cry again.

   "You ought to be ashamed of yourself," said Alice, "a great girl like you" (she might well say this), "to go on crying in this way! Stop this moment, I tell you!" But she went on all the same, shedding gallons of tears, until there was a large pool all round her, about four inches deep and reaching half down the hall. Pgs 22-23

Alice begins to cry again wondering how she will ever fit through the door now.  The white rabbit comes scurrying down the hall.  She stops crying and tries to talk to him, but he is so frightened he runs away.  In his haste he forgets his white gloves and his fan.  Alice wonders why this is happening, yesterday was a normal day, but today everything is so strange.  She thinks that maybe she, herself has changed. 


Alice tries on the gloves of the rabbit and they fit.  She realizes she is shrinking and it is due to the fan she is holding, so she drops it quickly.  She is the right size for the door now, but still has forgotten the key.  She falls into the pool of her very tears she cried as a giant.  She sees a mouse in the water, and tries to ask him, but offends him by talking about her cat chasing mice, and a dog eating rats.  Alice apologizes and the mouse comes back and tells her to swim with him to the shore and he would tell her his story.  When they get near the shore Alice sees a very curious party of animals.  A duck, a dodo, a lory an easglet as well as some other animals have fallen into the water.



They all make it to the shore none too happy.  The mouse tries to dry them all off by telling a dry story: he tells English history in dull, monotonous prose.


 At last the Mouse, who seemed to be a person of authority among them, called out, "Sit down, all of you, and listen to me! I'll soon make you dry enough!" They all sat down at once, in a large ring, with the Mouse in the middle. Alice kept her eyes anxiously fixed on it, for she felt sure she would catch a bad cold if she did not get dry very soon.

   "Ahem!" said the Mouse with an important air. "Are you all ready? This is the driest thing I know. Silence all round, if you please!" William the Conqueror, whose cause was favoured by the pope, was soon submitted to by the English, who wanted leaders, and had been of late much accustomed to usurpation and conquest. Edwin and Morcar, the earls of Mercia and Northumbria -- -"

   "Ugh!" said the Lory, with a shiver.

   "I beg your pardon!" said the Mouse, frowning, but very politely. "Did you speak?"

   "Not I!" said the Lory hastily.

   "I thought you did," said the Mouse. -- "I proceed. `Edwin and Morcar, the earls of Mercia and Northumbria, declared for him: and even Stigand, the patriotic Archbishop of Canterbury, found it advisable -- "

   "Found what?" said the Duck.

   "Found it," the Mouse replied rather crossly: "of course you know what `it' means."

   "I know what `it' means well enough, when I find a thing," said the Duck: "it's generally a frog or a worm. The question is, what did the Archbishop find?"

   The Mouse did not notice this question, but hurriedly went on, "` -- found it advisable to go with Edgar Atheling to meet William and offer him the crown. William's conduct at first was moderate. But the insolence of his Normans -- -' How are you getting on now, my dear?" it continued, turning to Alice as it spoke.

 "As wet as ever," said Alice in a melancholy tone: "it doesn't seem to dry me at all." Pgs. 36-37

Finally the Dodo says he knows of another way to get dry, a Caucus race. 

All the animals race around in circles, but stopping whenever they please.  Soon they are all quite dry.  Alice is responsible for giving them all prizes (one piece of candy from a jar, and the Dodo gives her the thimble she already has in her pocket.)


Alice asks the mouse to tell his tale, and so he begins.  But Alice focuses on the mouse’s tail.  He tells his tale and she can only think about his tail, and in the book his story is written in the shape of a mouse’s tail.  The mouse angrily accuse her of being inattentive and storms off.  Alice is quite upset and says outloud that she wished Dinah were with her.  The birds ask about Dinah and she says Dinah is her cat whom is quite good at catching birds.  The birds are quite upset and they all begin to leave.  Alice is again lonely until she hears the sound of little steps coming her way.



When the White Rabbit sees Alice, he mistakes her for his maid.  He is fretting about missing his gloves and fan and the angry Dutchess.  When Alice looks around she notices the hallway has changed completely.  When he orders her back to his house to collect his things, she simply obeys. 

In his house, she finds not only a fan, and white gloves, but yet another bottle, but without any markings.  She drinks it nonetheless and she grows so large that she can barely fit in the house.  She hears the rabbit outside calling for his maid, but the door is blocked, so he decides to try the window.  Alice, fearful of being caught as a giant, puts her arm out the window.  She hears shattering glass and then the rabbit calling for his servant Pat, demanding the arm be removed.  She grabs again and hears a second crash.  This time two animals fall.

 "It was much pleasanter at home," thought poor Alice, "when one wasn't always growing larger and smaller, and being ordered about by mice and rabbits. I almost wish I hadn't gone down that rabbit-hole -- and yet -- and yet -- it's rather curious, you know, this sort of life! I do wonder what can have happened to me! When I used to read fairy-tales, I fancied that kind of thing never happened, and now here I am in the middle of one! There ought to be a book written about me, that there ought! And when I grow up, I'll write one -- but I'm grown up now," she added in a sorrowful tone: "at least there's no room to grow up any more here."

   "But then," thought Alice, "shall I never get any older than I am now? That'll be a comfort, one way -- never to be an old woman -- but then -- always to have lessons to learn! Oh, I shouldn't like that!" 

   "Oh, you foolish Alice!" she answered herself. "How can you learn lessons in here? Why, there's hardly room for you, and no room at all for any lesson-books!" Pgs. 49-50

The rabbit tells his other servant, Bill, to climb down the chimney.  Alice puts her foot into the fireplace and when she hears him coming she gives him a good kick and launches him through the air.  Later the animals throw rocks through the window which turn into little cakes.  Alice eats one and becomes the size of the animals.  She runs away as fast as she can.  She finds herself in a forest and wants to find something to restore her to her natural size.  Suddenly Alice is faced with a puppy.  At first she wants to play with it, then realizing the size difference she is scared and runs narrowly escaping being crushed.


Wandering along Alice sees giant flowers.  Alice is still searching for something to restore her size when she comes across a mushroom with a caterpillar perched on top smoking a hookah.



The caterpillar asks Alice about herself.


   "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."

   "What do you mean by that?" said the Caterpillar sternly. "Explain yourself!"

   "I can't explain myself, I'm afraid, sir," said Alice, "because I'm not myself, you see."

   "I don't see," said the Caterpillar.

   "I'm afraid I can't put it more clearly," Alice replied very politely, "for I can't understand it myself to begin with; and being so many different sizes in a day is very confusing."

   "It isn't," said the Caterpillar.

   "Well, perhaps you haven't found it so yet," said Alice; "but when you have to turn into a chrysalis -- you will some day, you know -- and then after that into a butterfly, I should think you'll feel it a little queer, won't you?"

   "Not a bit," said the Caterpillar.  Pgs. 60-62

The caterpillar, again,  asks her who she is, and the caterpillar senses Alice’s anger and tries to tell her to control her anger. He asks her to recite “You are Old, Father William.”  She does, they both agree, quite unsuccessfully.  She then tells the caterpillar of her wish to become small.  He tells her after much talking that eating one side of the mushroom would make her smaller and the other would make her bigger.


She is unsure which side is which and at first eats the small side, shrinks tremendously, then the other side, her neck stretches higher than the trees.  After and encounter with an egret who is sure Alice is a serpent, she finally eats and gets herself to the size she wants to be.  She wants to find the garden she saw earlier, but comes upon a delightful little house and decides to check there first.



Alice watches the house and a fish dressed as a footman comes and knocks on the door.  A frog dressed as a footman opens the door and the fish hands him an invitation for the Dutchess to play croquet with Queen.  The two animals bow and their curls become intertwined and Alice must leave she is laughing so hard, upon her return, has  a brief interaction with the footman.


…the Fish-Footman was gone, and the other was sitting on the ground near the door, staring stupidly up into the sky.

   Alice went timidly up to the door, and knocked,

   "There's no sort of use in knocking," said the Footman, "and that for two reasons. First, because I'm on the same side of the door as you are -- secondly, because they're making such a noise inside, no one could possibly hear you." And certainly there was a most extraordinary noise going on within -- a constant howling and sneezing, and every now and then a great crash, as if a dish or kettle had been broken to pieces.

   "Please, then," said Alice, "how am I to get in?"

   "There might be some sense in your knocking," the Footman went on without attending to her, "if we had the door between us. For instance, if you were inside, you might knock, and I could let you out, you know." He was looking up into the sky all the time he was speaking, and this Alice thought decidedly uncivil. "But perhaps he can't help it,  she said to herself; "his eyes are so very nearly at the top of his head. But at any rate he might answer questions. -- How am I to get in?" she repeated, aloud.

   "I shall sit here," the Footman remarked, "till to-morrow -- -"

   At this moment the door of the house opened, and a large plate came skimming out, straight at the Footman's head : it just grazed his nose, and broke to pieces against one of the trees behind him.

   " -- or next day, maybe," the Footman continued in the same tone, exactly as if nothing had happened.

   "How am I to get in?" asked Alice again, in a louder tone.

   "Are you to get in at all?" said the Footman "That's the first question, you know."

   It was, no doubt: only Alice did not like to be told so. "It's really dreadful," she muttered to herself, "the way all the creatures argue. It's enough to drive one crazy!"   Pgs. 77-82

She goes in looking for the Dutchess.  In the kitchen Alice finds her nursing a baby while the cook is preparing food.  There is a cat grinning widely and Alice asks the Dutchess why the cat is grinning and the Dutchess replies (quite rudely) that he is a cheshire cat. 


The cook and the Dutchess start fighting, the cook starts throwing things at the Dutchess and the baby.  The Dutchess makes no notice of this even though she is being hit by flying objects.  Alice is terrified, but the Dutchess tells her it is not her business.  The Dutchess begins to toss the baby into the air while singing a song about beating children and finally tosses the baby to Alice.  The Dutchess goes off for her croquet match and Alice takes the baby with her, being concerned for the child.  But before long the baby has turned into a pig and trots away. 


Alice runs into the cheshire cat who helps her find her way and tells her to be aware that everyone here is mad, even himself and Alice (why else would she have come here?).  Throughout their entire conversation, he repeatedly disappears and reappears until he finally disappears for good, tail first, grin last.  She decides to go to the March Hare’s house, but is nervous when she arrives, as his house is covered in fur with two long ears.  She uses the mushroom to grow two feet, but she doesn’t feel much better.



Once there she is treated to a Mad Tea Party.  The company included March Hare the Hatter and the Dormouse. 

 "Have some wine," the March Hare said in an encouraging tone.

   Alice looked all round the table, but there was nothing on it but tea. "I don't see any wine," she remarked.

   "There isn't any," said the March Hare.

   "Then it wasn't very civil of you to offer it," said Alice angrily.

   "It wasn't very civil of you to sit down without being invited," said the March Hare.

   "I didn't know it was your table," said Alice; "it's lain for a great many more than three."

   "Your hair wants cutting," said the Hatter. He had been looking at Alice for some time with great curiosity, and this was his first speech.

   "You should learn not to make personal remarks," Alice said with some severity; "it's very rude." Pg. 92

These animals are the most argumentative in all of Wonderland.  The Mad Hatter tells Alice that Time stopped working for him about a month ago, but the Queen of Hearts accused him of murdering time.  It is always six o’clock which is tea time.  Every place is set at the table, so that when they need a clean plate, they all just move down one.    The Dormousee begins a strange story about three sisters that live in a well, and Alice questions and contradicets him several times, so they are all increasingly rude until Alice irritatedly leaves.


Alice wanders in the forest until she finds a tree with a door in it.   She goes inside and it is the long hallway she was in before.  She thinks quicker this time and grabs the key off of the table, then eats a bit of the mushroom, shrinks to size and goes through the door into the lovely garden.



Alice goes in and finds three card-shaped gardeners quickly painting the white roses of the rose trees red.  Alice inquires as to why and the Two gardener admits they were supposed to have planted red rose trees.  If the Queen were to know she would surely cut off their heads.


The Queen’s procession arrives including many card-shaped guards, her children, various guest and the White Rabbit. Lastly, the Knavc of Hearts and the King and Queen.

When the procession came opposite to Alice, they all stopped and looked at her, and the Queen said severely, "Who is this?" She said it to the Knave of Hearts, who only bowed and smiled in reply.

   "Idiot!" said the Queen, tossing her head

impatiently; and, turning to Alice, she went on, "What's your name, child?"

   "My name is Alice, so please your Majesty," said Alice very politely; but she added, to herself, "Why, they're only a pack of cards, after all. I needn't be afraid of them!"

   "And who are these?" said the Queen, pointing to the three gardeners who were lying round the rose-tree; for, you see, as they were lying on their faces, and the pattern on their backs was the same as the rest of the pack, she could not tell whether they were gardeners, or soldiers, or courtiers, or three of her own children.

   "How should I know?" said Alice, surprised at her own courage. "It's no business of mine."

   The Queen turned crimson with fury, and, after glaring at her for a moment like a wild beast, screamed, "Off with her head! Off -- -"

   "Nonsense!" said Alice, very loudly and decidedly, and the Queen was silent.

   The King laid his hand upon her arm, and timidly said, "Consider, my dear: she is only a child!" Pgs. 110-111


As the soldiers come forward, Alice vows to save them and  secretly hides them in a flower pot.

When the remaining soldiers tell her the three are gone, the queen seems to forget about them and invites Alice to play croquet with her and the guest—including the White Rabbit.   She learns that the Dutchess is under sentence of execution.  Also croquet is very different here in Wonderland as the balls are hedgehogs, the mallets are live flamingoes and the hoops are card people.  No one waits for their turn and soon the queen is furious, and Alice fears it will soon be fury at her.


The Cheshire Cat comes, much to Alice’s pleasure.  He asks how she likes the Queen and when Alice says she doesn’t she notices that the queen is listening and quickly saves her words and the Queen satisfied moves on.  The King is curious about who Alice is talking

 "Who are you talking to?" said the King,

coming up to Alice, and looking at the Cat's head with great curiosity.

   "It's a friend of mine -- a Cheshire Cat," said Alice: "allow me to introduce it."

   "I don't like the look of it at all," said the King: "however, it may kiss my hand if it likes."

   "I'd rather not," the Cat remarked.

   "Don't be impertinent," said the King, "and don't look at me like that!" He got behind Alice as he spoke.

   "A cat may look at a king," said Alice. "I've read that in some book, but I don't remember where."

   "Well, it must be removed," said the King very decidedly, and he called the Queen, who was passing at the moment, "My dear! I wish you would have this cat removed!"

   The Queen had only one way of settling all difficulties, great or small. "Of with his head!" she said, without looking round.

   "I'll fetch the executioner myself," said the King eagerly, and he hurried off.  Pgs. 118-119

Alice tries croquet again, with little pleasure and returns to find the executioner, the King and the Queen arguing.  The executioner says that because the Cheshire cat is only a head, there is nothing to behead.  The Queen frustrated, says if someone doesn’t find a solution, everyone will be beheaded.  After asking Alice, she says they should find the Dutchess, it is, after all, her cat.  By the time the Dutchess arrives, the cat has vanished.



The Dutchess is quite civil to Alice, waling with her and engaging her in conversation.

She had quite forgotten the Duchess by this time and was a little startled when she heard her voice close to her ear. "You're thinking about something, my dear, and that makes you forget to talk, I can't tell you just now what the moral of that is, but I shall remember it in a bit."

   "Perhaps it hasn't one," Alice ventured to remark.

   "Tut, tut, child!" said the Duchess. "Everything's got a moral, if only you can find it." And she squeezed herself up closer to Alice's side as she spoke.  Pg. 124

       "Somebody said," whispered Alice, "that it's done by everybody minding their own business!"

   "Ah, well! It means much the same thing," said the Duchess, digging her sharp little chin into Alice's shoulder as she added, "and the moral of that is -- `Take care of the sense, and the sounds will take care of themselves.' "

   "How fond she is of finding morals in things!" Alice thought to herself.  Pg. 126

 Alice feels it quite unpleasant as the Dutchess is digging her chin into Alice’s shoulder.  The Dutchess’ conversation is riddled with cliché morals, which she references in response to anything Alice says or does. 

 "Very true," said the Duchess : "flamingoes and mustard both bite. And the moral of that is -- `Birds of a feather flock together.'"

   "Only mustard isn't a bird," ALice remarked.

   "Right, as usual," said the Duchess: "what a clear way you have of putting things!"

   "It's a mineral, I think," said Alice.

   "Of course it is," said the Duchess, who seemed ready to agree to everything that Alice said; "there's a large mustard-mine near here. And the moral of that is -- `The more there is of mine, the less there is of yours.' "

   "Oh, I know!" exclaimed Alice, who had not attended to this last remark. "It's a vegetable. It doesn"t look like one, but it is."

   "I quite agree with you," said the Duchess; "and the moral of that is -- `Be what you would seem to be' -- or if you'd like it put more simply -- `Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise than what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.'" Pg. 126-127

They see the Queen who tells the Dutchess to leave or off with her head.  Alice, quite nervous at this point, returns to croquet.  The Queen can be heard repeatedly shouting “Off with his/her head” and within half an hour all the players have been pulled into custory and are awaiting execution.  The card soldiers, now having to hold prisoners are no longer serving as arches, so the arches are all gone.  The Queen then says they will find the Mock Turtle, so he can tell Alice his story.  As they leave, Alice hears the King quietly pardon all of the prisoners.


The queen takes Alice to meet the Gryphon, who, in turn, takes Alice to meet the Mock Turtle.  The queen goes to see about her executions and the Gryphon assures Alice no one is ever executed.  After meeting the Mock Turtle he begins to tell his very strange story of how he changed from a normal turtle  to a Mock Turtle.  The description is packed with puns.

 "Yes, we went to school in the sea, though you mayn't believe it -- -"

   "I never said I didn't!" interrupted Alice.

   "You did," said the Mock Turtle.

   "Hold your tongue!" added the Gryphon, before Alice could speak again. The Mock Turtle went on: --

   "We had the best of educations -- in fact, we went to school every day -- -"

   "I've been to a day-school, too," said Alice; "you needn't be so proud as all that."

   "With extras?" asked the Mock Turtle a little anxiously.

   "Yes," said Alice, "we learned French and music."

   "And washing?" said the Mock Turtle.

   "Certainly not!" said Alice indignantly.

   "Ah! then yours wasn't a really good school " said the Mock Turtle in a tone of great relief. "Now at ours they had at the end of the bill "French, music, and washing -- extra.' "  "You couldn't have wanted it much," said Alice; "living at the bottom of the sea."

   "I couldn't afford to learn it," said the Mock Turtle with a sigh. "I only took the regular course."

   "What was that ?" inquired Alice.

   "Reeling and Writhing, of course, to begin with," the Mock Turtle replied; "and then the different branches of Arithmetic -- Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision."

   "I never heard of `Uglification,' " Alice ventured to say. "What is it?"

   The Gryphon lifted up both its paws in surprise, "What! Never heard of uglifying!" it exclaimed. "You know what to beautify is, I suppose?"

   "Yes," said Alice doubtfully: "it means -- to -- make -- anything -- prettier."

   "Well, then," the Gryphon went on, "if you don't know what to uglify is, you must be a simpleton."

   Alice did not feel encouraged to ask any more questions about it, so she turned to the Mock Turtle, and said, "What else had you to learn?"  Pgs. 135-137

 Alice, again, irritates the story teller by asking too many questions.



The Mock Turtle and the Gryphon talk in non-stop puns.  They tell Alice about the Lobster Quadrille, which is one of the many dances they used to have.  It sounds remotely like square dancing barring the exception of having a lobster as a partner.  They demonstrate it for her, without lobsters, and Alice politely joins, but is greatly relieved when it is finished. 

 "Oh, as to the whiting," said the Mock Turtle, "they -- you've seen them, of course?"

   "Yes," said Alice, "I've often seen them at dinn -- -" she checked herself hastily.

   "I don't know where Dinn may be," said the Mock Turtle, "but if you've seen them so often, of course you know what they're like."

   "I believe so," Alice replied thoughtfully. "They have their tails in their mouths -- and they're all over crumbs."

   "You're wrong about the crumbs," said the Mock Turtle: "crumbs would all wash off in the sea. But they have their tails in their mouths; and the reason is -- -" here the Mock Turtle yawned and shut his eyes. "Tell her about the reason and all that," he said to the Gryphon.

   "The reason is," said the Gryphon, "that they would go with the lobsters to the dance. So they got thrown out to sea. So they had to fall a long way. So they got their tails fast in their mouths. So they couldn't get them out again. That's all."

   "Thank you," said Alice, "it's very interesting. I never knew so much about a whiting before."  Pg. 142


After explaining, through pun after pun, parts of the song, Alice is asked about her story.  When she gets to the part about being unable to recite “You are Old Father William” correctly, they ask her to reicte it and , as before, it comes out all wrong.  The Mock Turtle tearfully sings a song about Turtle Soup and when he is about to repeat the chorus they hear shouting that the trial is about to begin.  Alice is dragged to the trial by the Gryphon.



The judge is the King of Hearts and the jury is comprised of various animals, including some of whom she has already met.  The White Rabbit recites the nursery rhyme about the knave of hearts stealing tarts from the Queen of Hearts, thus the accusation. 

 On this the White Rabbit blew three blasts on the trumpet, and then unrolled the parchment-scroll, and read as follows: --

"The Queen of hearts, she made some tarts,
All on a summer day:
The knave of hearts, he stole those tarts,
And took them quite away!"

 "Consider your verdict," the King said to the jury.

   "Not yet, not yet!" the Rabbit hastily interrupted. "There's a great deal to come before that!"  Pgs. 153-154

The first witness is the Mad Hatter.  The hatter gets more and more nervous as he is repeated threatened by the king.  During the cross-examination, Alice feels herself beginning to grow.  Two guinea pigs are heard, then suppressed.     (The narrator explains that being “suppressed” means to be stuffed into a large sack, and then sat upon.)   Alice is happy to witness it, as it is a word she has read many times and never knew the meaning.  The Hatter is excused to go back to his tea party.  Upon getting outside the queen calls for his execution, but he is able to escape.


The next witness is the Cook who is very uncooperative.  The Dormouse speaks up during the cross-examinationand the queen demands for the Dormouse’s suppression, expulson, beheading, etc.  While getting the Dormouse out of court, the Cook escapes.  The White Rabbit calls the next witness: it’s Alice.



Alice, by this point, has forgotten how much she’s grown, gets up and accidentally knocks over the jury box.

At this moment the King, who had been for some time busily writing in his note-book, called out "Silence!" and read out from his book, "Rule Forty-two. All persons more than a mile high to leave the court."

   Everybody looked at Alice.

   "I'm not a mile high," said Alice.

   "You are," said the King.

   "Nearly two miles high," added the Queen.

   "Well, I sha'n't go, at any rate," said Alice: "besides, that's not a regular rule: you invented it just now"

   "It's the oldest rule in the book," said the King.

   "Then it ought to be Number One," said Alice.

   The King turned pale, and shut his note-book hastily. "Consider your verdict," he said to the jury, in a low trembling voice.

   "There's more evidence to come yet, please your Majesty," said the White Rabbit, jumping up in a great hurry: "this paper has just been picked up."  Pgs. 166-167

She puts the jury box and the jurors back into place  and the king begins his cross-examination.  Alice remains composed throughout  the kings illogical bombardment.   The White Rabbit pulls, from an unmarked envelope, a completely ambiguous poem supposably written by the Knave of  Hearts.

  "That's the most important piece of evidence we've heard yet," said the King, rubbing his hands; "so now let the jury -- -"

"If any one of them can explain it," said Alice (she had grown so large in the last few minutes that she wasn't a bit afraid of interrupting him), "I'll give him sixpence. I don't believe there's an atom of meaning in it."  Pg. 170

 Not only is the letter unsigned and the characters in the poem are all referred to in pronoun form, but the poem lacks any relevance to the present situation.  The King interrupts the White Rabbit and claims this is damning evidence against the Knave.


Alice speaks up and denies any substance, much less evidence, in the letter.  When the Queen calls for her beheading, Alice simply declares she is not afraid, after all they are only a deck of cards.  Suddenly the cards all rise up and fly into her face.


Alice wakes up with her head in her older sister’s lap.  She has been dreaming.  She tells her sister of her adventures and then runs off to have tea.  The sister remains for a while, half-dozing, dreaming about Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  She also dreams about the Alice, yet to come, in Adult years, who will retain her child-like wonder and gooness.  The adult Alice will have her own children and quite possibly entertain them with her own story of Wonderland.




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Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll summary

Alice in Wonderland


We’re all mad here…


Plot Summary


Faced with the threat of calculus, Alice chases the white rabbit down a rabbit hole and enters Wonderland! On her journey she meets Wonderland’s many weird and wonderful inhabitants, but is also ensnared in an evil plot by the King of Hearts to kill his murderous and mentally unstable wife (The Queen of Hearts). With the help of Jack (the Knave of Hearts), the Cheshire Cat and all her Wonderland friends, Alice foils the plot, saves the day and is crowned the new Queen of Wonderland!


Character List


Large parts


  • Alice (F)
  • Cheshire Cat (F/M)
  • King of Hearts (F/M)
  • Queen of Hearts (M)
  • Knave of Hearts (F/M)


Medium Parts


  • White Rabbit (F/M)
  • Doorknob (M)
  • Eight (F/M)
  • Ten (F/M)
  • Solitaire (F)
  • Spade (F/M)
  • Diamond (F/M)
  • Club (F/M)
  • Jester (F/M)
  • Tweedle Dee (M)
  • Tweedle Dum (M)
  • Mad Hatter (F/M)
  • Mad March Hare (F/M)
  • Dormouse (F/M)
  • Caterpillar (F/M)
  • Dobbin



Small Parts


  • Alice’s Mother (F)
  • Ace of Spades (F/M)
  • Foxy (F)
  • Kitty (F)
  • Rock (F/M)
  • Paper (F/M)
  • Scissors (F/M)
  • Dan the lion (F/M)
  • Violet (F)
  • Rose (F)
  • Daisy (F)
  • Blue Belle (F)
  • Poppy (F)
  • The Royal Guard (Heart cards) (F/M)
  • Announcer (F/M)




  • Changes- David Bowie (sung by  Alice, Cheshire Cat and Wonderlanders)
  • I’m Still Standing- Elton John (to be sung by the King of Hearts)
  • The Power of Love- Huey Lewis and the News (sung by the Knave)
  • Feast of Fools- Hunchback (to be sung by the Mad Hatter)
  • Who Are You- The Who (to be sung by the Caterpillar)
  • Boogie Wonderland- Earth, Wind and Fire (Finale)




  • Theme Music from E.T.
  • Ace of Spades- Motorhead (Ace's entrance music)
  • Rescue!- Sinbad (swordfight)




  • Countryside/Forest
  • Royal Gardens





Main Character Summary


Alice:                          Definitely not a girly girl. She is a modern apathetic teenager, but becomes swept up in the mystery of Wonderland, which reignites her imagination.


White Rabbit:            Very nervous and shy, quite forgetful and always late.


The Doorknob:          Guardian of the door into Wonderland. Very camp and bitchy.


Queen of Hearts:       The Dame (what else?).  Has a lightning temper and loves to chop off heads. Frightens all the other cards. Wears huge, silly knickers with hearts on.


King of Hearts:          At first appears to be a pushover, but he is actually pure evil. Hates croquet almost as much as he hates his wife.




Knave of Hearts:       The whole ‘tarts’ incident’ goes badly wrong and the ex- Lothario becomes a mentor to all outcasts. Acts and dresses like a rock star. Possibly rather like Lord Flashheart.


The Cheshire Cat:     Speaks in riddles. Drifts in and out of the actual plot and subtly manipulates events for good.


The Mad Hatter:       Has OCD, can’t sit in the same spot for too long, won’t use the same cup/spoon/anything twice. ALWAYS has to be wearing his hat or else he becomes very unhappy.


Mad March Hare:     Essentially the ‘wink wink nudge nudge’ character from Monty Python.


Dormouse:                 Has narcolepsy, always falling asleep.


Tweedle Dum and    Very Posh, always challenging each other to a duel/ finishing

Tweedle Dee:             each other’s sentences. Think the British Airmen from Allo Allo.


Caterpillar:                Huge bug-eye sunglasses, spends the whole day on the “shrooms”, big fuzzy coat, cool as you like. Roughly based on Roger Daltry (lead singer of The Who).


Eight and Ten:           Heart cards and The King’s loyal lackeys.


Solitaire:                     The King’s very own secret agent. Very cool and mysterious, a master of disguise.



Scene Breakdown - featuring script extracts


Scene 1                       Alice escapes the threat of algebra by following a talking rabbit down a rabbit hole.


Scene 2                       Still chasing the rabbit, Alice must befriend the Doorknob, Lord of high-campery and gatekeeper to the entrance to Wonderland.


Alice:            Right…first talking rabbits in waistcoats, now a talking door.


Doorknob:    No dear, I’m a knob.


Alice:            Yes, I was getting that impression.


Scene 3                       The Queen of Hearts storms the stage in a murderous rampage and The King of Hearts explains his evil plot to kill the Queen and blame it all on Alice.


Eight:           How exactly are you going to kill the Queen?


King:            With this exploding hedgehog.


Ten:              (Quietly) He’s finally lost it.


Scene 4                       Alice is caught in the middle of an epic duel between brothers Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee until the Cheshire Cat points her in the direction of the white rabbit.


Scene 5                       The King of Hearts sends his agent, Solitaire, to find and abduct Alice. Meanwhile, our heroine comes across Jack (the Knave of Hearts) and his merry band of misfits.


Knave:         Tell 'er where she is, guys!


All:              Jack’s Camp!


Knave:         Well, maybe a little, but I’m still a raging sex machine.


Scene 6                       With Alice in tow, Solitaire encounters the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Hatter and his friends rescue Alice and ask her to join the unbirthday party celebrations.


Scene 7                       Solitaire earns a second chance by disguising the King of Hearts when the Queen comes looking for him. The King sends his other minions with an enchanted invitation, addressed to Alice.


Scene 8                       Whilst the Knave and Cheshire Cat search for her, Alice meets the Caterpillar and his garden of flowers. The enchanted invitation is delivered and its magic takes hold, forcing Alice to follow them into danger.


Cheshire Cat:  You actually feel something for Alice, don't you?


Knave:             Yeah, my crotch!


Scene 9                       The Knave assembles his team of rebels ready to crash the party, but they gradually abandon him. Meanwhile the King tells the Queen to prepare herself for a very ‘special’ game of croquet.


Knave:             Don’t worry, I’ll think of something.


Exit Knave.


Foxy & Kitty: He’s doomed.


Scene 10                     Alice finds herself at the party. Whilst trying to save the Queen of Hearts from an exploding hedgehog, Alice causes the Queen to expose her frilly kickers for all to see. She is sentenced to death by beheading, but her friends arrive just in time to save the day.


White Rabbit:  Ah! It’s you! The girl who’s been stalking me!


Alice:               I wasn’t stalking you…I was following with intent.


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Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll summary


Summary of the plot:

The novel is about a girl named Alice, who is bored with her life. While sitting at the bank of a river with her sister and feeling absolutely bored, she takes a walk and stumbles upon a a white rabbit , who is in quite a hurry not only pulls out a watch but begins to speak. As he rushes to his destination, Alice decides to follow him. The following is a sequence of events that occurs:

  • Goes down the rabbit hole
  • Experiences a series of body-changes(shrinks  and grows)
  • Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in a beautiful garden during which she meets March Hare
  • Meets a caterpillar
  • Confrontation with Queen of Hearts and deck of Cards
  • Subjected to situations that are both humiliating (court) and exhilarating
  • Leaves Wonderland with new awareness of life
  • Returns realizing it’s a dream
  • Sister shares stories of Wonderland with her children

Character list: Alice The protagonist of the story. She is a young girl who travels through the wonderland.

White Rabbit; The animal who leads Alice into Wonderland

The Duchess; A lady who is sentenced by the Queen.

Queen of Hearts:The queen of Wonderland

King of Hearts:The king of Wonderland

Mad Hatter: One of the persons at the Mad Tea Party.

The Caterpillar: The little animal who tells Alice about the secret of how to grow tall and short.

Cheshire Cat: The animal that Alice meets at the Duchess’ house and later in the beautiful garden.



Summary/Analysis of the Characters

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderful revolve around her childhood experiences and the world of imagination. Through different encounters with characters she comes to self realization and how life changes as one grows. Meeting March Hare and Mad Hatter she feels superior. The Mock Turtle has her grappling with reality. The Queen of Heart shows the sadism and cruelty of the world, while the deck of cards shows how passing and fragile ii is.

General Themes: Alice’s Adventures go beyond a childhood story. Through Carrol’s narrative the senseof adventure permeates. On one level it appeals to the child within each of us, who seeks  something  more. It is deeper since it language and meaning appeals to adults and reveals that life is a filled with bright moments as well  dark ones. Life in all its complexities is to be lived fully and that a child as well as adult needs to experience as much as possible to be fully human

Important Symbols:

Queen of Hearts: sadism of power and rulers

Game of croquet: cruel rules of the land

Courtroom episode: lopsided and despised legal system

Deck of cards: reality can be absurd, which can influence and color one’s experiences

Author Information: Carroll was a brilliant author, poet mathematician, and artist whose sense of logic pervaded throughout all his works. Born on January 27, 1832 in Daresbury, Cheshire, England, Charles Dodgson created and wrote games as a child. At age 20 he received a studentship at Christ Church and was appointed a lecturer in mathematics. Dodgson was shy but enjoyed creating stories for children. His books including "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" were published under the pen name Lewis Carroll. Dodgson. Alice in Wonderland grew out of Dodgson's entertainment of the children of Henry George Liddell, dean of Christ Church. He had a natural affinity for children,. He died in 1898.



Key Facts

full title ·  Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

author · Lewis Carroll

type of work · Novella

genre · Fairy tale; children’s fiction; satire; allegory

language · English

time and place written · 1862–1863, Oxford

date of first publication · 1865

publisher · Macmillan & Co.

narrator · The narrator is anonymous and does not use many words to describe events in the story.

point of view · The narrator speaks in third person, though occasionally in first and second person. The narrative follows Alice around on her travels, voicing her thoughts and feelings.

tone · Straightforward; avuncular

tense · Past

setting (time) · Victorian era, circa publication date

setting (place) · England, Wonderland


Important quotes: “What is the use of a book, without pictures or conversations?” Alice

“If everybody minded their own business, the world would go around a great deal faster than it does.”





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