Chapters 1-12

1. What do we learn about Alice in the opening chapter of the novel?

2. What is the significance of the scene in which Alice comes to the assistance of the tiny chessmen she finds in Looking-Glass House?

3. How do the flowers Alice meets in the garden look forward to other Looking-Glass characters she meets in the novel?

4. What is Carroll doing with the concepts of time and space in Chapter 2, specifically with respect to Alice's difficulties in "meeting" the Red Queen, and in her having to run fast to stay in the same place?

5. Why does the Red Queen allow Alice to play chess and then immediately explain to her how she will progress to the end of the board? How, as a member of the opposing side, can this possibly be in her own best interests?

6. What is curious about the manner in which the characters Alice meets on the train behave towards her?

7. What is the significance of Alice's encounter with the Fawn in the wood where things have no names?

8. How can we understand the curious directions to Tweedledee and Tweedledum's house in the larger context of both the chess game and Alice's dream journey from innocence to experience?

9. What do the various nursery rhymes and nursery rhyme characters that Alice encounters throughout the novel contribute to our understanding of the story's major themes?

10. Why is Alice unable to wake up the Red King?

11. How are the Red Queen and the White Queen different? Is there any appreciable difference in the way Alice behaves towards each of them?

12. What is the significance of Humpty Dumpty's interpretation of "Jabberwocky"?

13. In Carroll's Dramatis Personae, he links characters in the novel to pieces in the chess game. Is there any difference in how characters associated with the White pieces behave towards Alice and how characters associated with the Red pieces behave towards her? Why are the pieces Red and White and not Black and White?

14. Is there anything special about Alice's encounter with the Unicorn?

15. How does the White Knight display the traditional virtues of knighthood, and how is he unique?

16. Why does Alice end up with a golden crown?

17. What is the significance of the examinations that Alice is put through once she reaches the Eighth Square?

18. What is the effect of the final question that ends the novel?


Victorian Web Overview Lewis Carroll

Last modified 23 October 2002