In Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Alice follows a white rabbit down a hole that leads her into a mysterious wonderland. Upon reaching the bottom, she walks through a series of doors, and finds a small passage that she can not fit into. She soon finds a bottle that says "Drink Me".

She was now only ten inches high, and her face brightened up at the thought that she was now the right size for going through the little door into that lovely garden. First however, she waited for a few minutes to see if she was going to shrink any further: she felt a little nervous about this; "for it might end, you know," said Alice to herself, "in my going out altogether, like a candle I wonder what I should be like then?" And she tried to fancy what the flame of a candle looks like after the candle is blown out, for she could not remember ever having seen such a thing. [p. 24]

After shrinking, she realized that the golden key into the passage was still on the table. She then sees a cake with an "Eat Me" sign attached to it. After eating the cake, her figure suddenly grows until her head touches the roof of the hallway.

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 [p. 27].

In Wonderland, she encounters a Caterpillar on a mushroom. They argue about changing sizes and before he leaves he gives her an option, one side of the mushroom will help her grow, and then other will make her shrink in size.

Alice remained looking thoughtfully at the mushroom for a minute, trying to make out which were the two sides of it; and as it was perfectly round, she found this a very difficult question. However, at last she stretched her arms round it as far as they would go, and broke off a bit of the edge with each hand [p. 54]

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Questions

1. Does the symbol of ‘Drink me' and ‘Eat Me' on bottle of liquid and cake compare to any religious beliefs?

2. Why does Carroll give food the power to change Alice's size?

3. What does the fluctuation in Alice's size represent?

4. Can Alice's innocence compare to Menolly's character?

5. Marc Edmund Jones, speaking about the second chapter, points out that "Long before Lewis Carroll wrote this chapter it was well recognized that man is forced to swim through his own tears in life or that he creates the substance of his own sensation." How can this be related to Alice's dilemma in that chapter?


Victorian Web Overview Lewis Carroll Leading Questions

Last modified 22 March 2004