Alice's Adventures in Wonderland's fantastic setting sets up Alice's need to learn the rules of Wonderland and adjust to it, like a child to the world around it. Alice "[doesn't] know much . . . and that's a fact" (61). She vainly attempts to prove her worth and knowledge though this knowledge does not apply to the world she is in. Alice responds to the Duchess' speech:

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

"Which would not be an advantage," said Alice, who felt very glad to get an opportunity of showing off a little of her knowledge. "Just think what work it would make with the day and night! You see the earth takes twenty four hours to turn round on its axis." [62]

Alice's views do not correspond with the views of Wonderland:

"Well, then," the Cat went on, "you see a dog growls when it's angry, and wags its tail when it's pleased. Now I growl when I'm pleased, and wag my tail when I'm angry. Therefore I'm mad."

"I call it purring, not growling," said Alice.

"Call it what you like," said the Cat. [66]

Alice had realized this skewed state of affairs when "London [became] the capital of Paris, and Paris is the capital of Rome, and Rome- no that's all wrong, I'm certain!"(28).


1. What stylistic techniques warrant the change in reality?

2. Does Alice's development resemlble that of Anodos in Phantastes?

3. Alice uses objects of reality — "Paris," "day and night" — to justify her claims, yet they only weaken her argument. How does this use of comparisons characterize her?

4. How does Lewis Carroll bring out the significance of the Duchess and the Cheshire Cat in these passages?

5. Why does Alice use the word "earth" when speaking of with the Duchess, while the Duchess speaks of the "world"? What does this signify?

Last modified 22 March 2004