Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is a novel by Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), published on 4 July 1865, three years after the first telling of the tale to the three Liddell sisters, Ina, Alice and Edith, and promising to write it down at the request of Alice. It is similar to his later novel, Through the Looking-Glass.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
- All in the golden afternoon
Full leisurely we glide;
For both our oars, with little skill,
By little arms are plied,
While little hands make vain pretense
Our wanderings to guide.
- Opening poem, first stanza.
- Thus grew the tale of Wonderland:
Thus slowly, one by one,
Its quaint events were hammered out —
And now our tale is done
And home we steer, a merry crew,
Beneath the setting sun.
- Opening poem, stanza six.
- Alice! a childish story take,
And with a gentle hand
Lay it where Childhood's dreams are twined
In Memory's mystic band,
Like pilgrim's withered wreath of flowers
Plucked in a far-off land.
- Opening poem, stanza seven.
Ch. 1 - Down the Rabbit-Hole
- Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, 'and what is the use of a book,' thought Alice, 'without pictures or conversations?'
- Opening paragraph.
- There was nothing so very remarkable in that; nor did Alice think it so very much out of the ordinary to hear the Rabbit say to itself 'Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!' ...but when the Rabbit actually took a watch out its waistcoat pocket, and looked at it, and then hurried on, Alice startled to her feet.
- After a fall such as this, I shall think nothing of tumbling downstairs!
- So many out-of-the-way things had happened lately, that Alice had begun to think that very few things indeed were really impossible.
There seemed to be no use in waiting by the little door, so she went back to the table, half hoping she might find another key on it, or at any rate a book of rules for shutting people up like telescopes: this time she found a little bottle on it, ('which certainly was not here before,' said Alice,) and round the neck of the bottle was a paper label, with the words 'DRINK ME' beautifully printed on it in large letters.
- If you drink much from a bottle marked 'poison' it is almost certain to disagree with you, sooner or later.
- 'Well, I'll eat it,' said Alice, 'and if it makes me grow larger, I can reach the key; and if it makes me grow smaller, I can creep under the door; so either way I'll get into the garden, and I don't care which happens!'
Ch. 2 - The Pool of Tears
- Curiouser and curiouser!
- How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!
- Alice; this is a parody of "Against Idleness and Mischief" by Isaac Watts:
- How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour,
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower!
- How doth the little busy bee
- 'Would it be of any use, now,' thought Alice, 'to speak to this mouse? Everything is so out-of-the-way down here, that I should think very likely it can talk: at any rate, there's no harm in trying.'
Ch. 3 - A Caucus-Race and a Long Tale
- '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?'
- At last the Dodo said, 'everybody has won, and all must have prizes.'
- Alice thought the whole thing very absurd, but they all looked so grave that she did not dare to laugh; and, as she could not think of anything to say, she simply bowed, and took the thimble, looking as solemn as she could.
Ch. 4 - The Rabbit Sends in a Little Bill
- Oh my ears and whiskers!
- The White Rabbit
- '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.'
Ch. 5 - Advice from a Caterpillar
- The Caterpillar and Alice looked at each other for some time in silence: at last the Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth, and addressed her in a languid, sleepy voice.
'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.'
- 'You are old Father William,' the young man said,
'And your hair has become very white;
And yet you incessantly stand on your head —
Do you think at your age it is right?'
In my youth,' Father William replied to his son,
'I feared it might injure the brain;
But, now that I'm perfectly sure I have none,
Why, I do it again and again.'
Ch. 6 - Pig and Pepper
- 'You don't know much,' said the Duchess, 'And that's a fact.'
- Speak roughly to your little boy,
And beat him when he sneezes:
He only does it to annoy,
Because he knows it teases.
- The Duchess
- 'If everybody minded their own business,' the Duchess said in a hoarse growl, 'the world would go round a deal faster than it does.'
- I speak severely to my boy,
I beat him when he sneezes;
For he can then thoroughly enjoy
The pepper when he pleases!
- The Duchess
- '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
- '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.'
Alice didn't think that proved it at all; however, she went on 'And how do you know that you're mad?'
'To begin with,' said the Cat, 'a dog's not mad. You grant that?'
'I suppose so,' said Alice.
'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.'
- '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 saw in my life!'
- 'It's really dreadful' She muttered to herself, 'The way all the creatures argue. It's enough to drive one crazy!'
Ch. 7 - A Mad Tea-Party
- 'You should learn not to make personal remarks,' Alice said with some severity; 'it's very rude.'
The Hatter opened his eyes very wide on hearing this; but all he said was, 'Why is a raven like a writing-desk?'
'Come, we shall have some fun now!' thought Alice. 'I'm glad they've begun asking riddles. — I believe I can guess that,' she added aloud.
'Do you mean that you think you can find out the answer to it?' said the March Hare.
'Exactly so,' said Alice.
'Then you should say what you mean,' the March Hare went on.
'I do,' Alice hastily replied; 'at least — at least I mean what I say — that's the same thing, you know.'
'Not the same thing a bit!' said the Hatter. 'You might just as well say that "I see what I eat" is the same thing as "I eat what I see"!'
'You might just as well say,' added the March Hare, 'that "I like what I get" is the same thing as "I get what I like"!'
'You might just as well say,' added the Dormouse, who seemed to be talking in his sleep, 'that "I breathe when I sleep" is the same thing as "I sleep when I breathe"!'
'It is the same thing with you,' said the Hatter, and here the conversation dropped, and the party sat silent for a minute, while Alice thought over all she could remember about ravens and writing-desks, which wasn't much.
- The Hatter was the first to break the silence. 'What day of the month is it?' he said, turning to Alice: he had taken his watch out of his pocket, and was looking at it uneasily, shaking it every now and then, and holding it to his ear.
Alice considered a little, and then said 'The fourth.'
'Two days wrong!' sighed the Hatter. 'I told you butter wouldn’t suit the works!' he added looking angrily at the March Hare.
'It was the best butter,' the March Hare meekly replied.
'Yes, but some crumbs must have got in as well,' the Hatter grumbled: 'you shouldn’t have put it in with the bread-knife.'
The March Hare took the watch and looked at it gloomily: then he dipped it into his cup of tea, and looked at it again: but he could think of nothing better to say than his first remark, 'It was the best butter, you know.'
- 'Have you guessed the riddle yet?' the Hatter said, turning to Alice again.
'No, I give it up,' Alice replied: 'what's the answer?'
'I haven't the slightest idea,' said the Hatter.
'Nor I,' said the March Hare.
Alice sighed wearily. 'I think you might do something better with the time,' she said, 'than waste it in asking riddles that have no answers.'
- Twinkle twinkle little bat!
How I wonder what you're at!...
Up above the world you fly
like a tea tray in the sky
- The Mad Hatter
- 'Take some more tea,' the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly.
'I've had nothing yet,' Alice replied in an offended tone, 'so I can't take more.'
'You mean you can't take LESS,' said the Hatter: 'it's very easy to take MORE than nothing.'
- You know you say that things are 'much of a muchness' — did you ever see a drawing of a muchness?
- The Dormouse
- 'Really, now you ask me,' said Alice, very much confused, 'I don't think —'
'Then you shouldn't talk,' said the Hatter.
Ch. 8 - The Queen's Croquet-Ground
- 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 chief difficulty Alice found at first was in managing her flamingo: she succeeded in getting its body tucked away, comfortably enough, under her arm, with its legs hanging down, but generally, just as she had got its neck nicely straightened out, and was going to give the hedgehog a blow with its head, it would twist itself round and look up in her face, with such a puzzled expression that she could not help bursting out laughing: and when she had got its head down, and was going to begin again, it was very provoking to find that the hedgehog had unrolled itself, and was in the act of crawling away: besides all this, there was generally a ridge or furrow in the way wherever she wanted to send the hedgehog to, and, as the doubled-up soldiers were always getting up and walking off to other parts of the ground, Alice soon came to the conclusion that it was a very difficult game indeed.
- They're dreadfully fond of beheading people here; the great wonder is, that there's any one left alive!
- She was looking about for some way of escape, and wondering whether she could get away without being seen, when she noticed a curious appearance in the air: it puzzled her very much at first, but, after watching it a minute or two, she made it out to be a grin, and she said to herself 'It's the Cheshire Cat: now I shall have somebody to talk to.'
'How are you getting on?' said the Cat, as soon as there was mouth enough for it to speak with.
Alice waited till the eyes appeared, and then nodded. 'It's no use speaking to it,' she thought, 'till its ears have come, or at least one of them.'
- 'I don't think they play at all fairly,' Alice began, in rather a complaining tone, 'and they all quarrel so dreadfully one can't hear oneself speak — and they don't seem to have any rules in particular; at least, if there are, nobody attends to them.'
- 'A cat may look at a king,' said Alice. 'I've read that in some book, but I don't remember where.'
- The Queen had only one way of settling all difficulties, great or small. 'Off with his head!' she said, without even looking round.
Ch. 9 - The Mock Turtle's Story
- Everything's got a moral, if only you can find it.
- The Duchess
- '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.'
'I think I should understand that better,' Alice said very politely, 'if I had it written down: but I can't quite follow it as you say it.'
- 'Thinking again?' the Duchess asked, with another dig of her sharp little chin.
'I've a right to think,' said Alice sharply, for she was beginning to feel a little worried.
'Just about as much right,' said the Duchess, 'as pigs have to fly.'
- 'Now, I give you fair warning,' shouted the Queen, stamping on the ground as she spoke; 'either you or your head must be off, and that in about half no time! Take your choice!'
- 'When we were little,' the Mock Turtle went on at last, more calmly, though still sobbing a little now and then, 'we went to school in the sea. The master was an old Turtle — we used to call him Tortoise —'
'Why did you call him Tortoise, if he wasn't one?' Alice asked.
'We called him Tortoise because he taught us,' said the Mock Turtle angrily: 'really you are very dull!'
'You ought to be ashamed of yourself for asking such a simple question,' added the Gryphon.
- '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.'
- 'And how many hours a day did you do lessons?' said Alice, in a hurry to change the subject.
'Ten hours the first day,' said the Mock Turtle: 'nine the next, and so on.'
'What a curious plan!' exclaimed Alice.
'That's the reason they're called lessons,' the Gryphon remarked: 'because they lessen from day to day.'
- 'Take care of the sense, and the sounds will take care of themselves.'
Ch. 10 - The Lobster Quadrille
- "Will you walk a little faster?" said a whiting to a snail.
"There's a porpoise close behind us, and he's treading on my tail.
See how eagerly the lobsters and the turtles all advance!
They are waiting on the shingle — will you come and join the dance?
Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you join the dance?
- 'I could tell you my adventures — beginning from this morning,' said Alice a little timidly: 'but it's no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.'
'Explain all that,' said the Mock Turtle.
'No, no! The adventures first,' said the Gryphon in an impatient tone: 'explanations take such a dreadful time.'
Ch. 11 - Who Stole the Tarts?
- 'Give your evidence,' said the King; 'and don't be nervous, or I'll have you executed on the spot.'
This did not seem to encourage the witness at all: he kept shifting from one foot to the other, looking uneasily at the Queen, and in his confusion he bit a large piece out of his teacup instead of the bread-and-butter.
Just at this moment Alice felt a very curious sensation, which puzzled her a good deal until she made out what it was: she was beginning to grow larger again, and she thought at first she would get up and leave the court; but on second thoughts she decided to remain where she was as long as there was room for her.
- 'But what did the Dormouse say?' one of the jury asked.
'That I can't remember,' said the Hatter.
'You must remember,' remarked the King, 'or I'll have you executed.'
- Here one of the guinea-pigs cheered, and was immediately suppressed by the officers of the court. (As that is rather a hard word, I will just explain to you how it was done. They had a large canvas bag, which tied up at the mouth with strings: into this they slipped the guinea-pig, head first, and then sat upon it.)
'I'm glad I've seen that done,' thought Alice. 'I've so often read in the newspapers, at the end of trials, "There was some attempts at applause, which was immediately suppressed by the officers of the court," and I never understood what it meant till now.'
Ch. 12 - Alice's Evidence
- Rule forty-two. All persons more than a mile high to leave the court.
- It's the oldest rule in the book.
- The White Rabbit put on his spectacles. 'Where shall I begin, please your Majesty?' he asked.
'Begin at the beginning,' the King said gravely, 'and go on till you come to the end: then stop.'
- He sent them word I had not gone
(We know it to be true):
If she should push the matter on,
What would become of you?
- My notion was that you had been
(Before she had this fit)
An obstacle that came between
Him, and ourselves, and it.
Don't let him know she liked them best,
For this must ever be
A secret, kept from all the rest,
Between yourself and me.
- Sentence first, verdict afterwards.
- The Queen of Hearts
- 'Who cares for you?' said Alice, (she had grown to her full size by this time.) 'You're nothing but a pack of cards!'
About Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
- I can guarantee that the books have no religious teaching whatever in them - in fact they do not teach anything at all.
- Lewis Carroll, Letter to "The Lowrie Children" (undated), A Selection from the Letters of Lewis Carroll to his Child-Friends (1933) p.242
- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland quotes analyzed; study guide with themes, character analyses, literary devices, teacher resources
- Lenny's Alice in Wonderland site contains background info, pictures, full texts, story origins, literary analyses, Disney's movie, and more.
- LCSNA: List of illustrators of "Alice" on the web
- Lauren Harman's "Alice in Wonderland" page includes a long list of illustrators with samples for each
- 'The Best Butter' Twitter stream has a random daily quote from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
Online book locations
- British Library:Original manuscript in 3-D with optional voiceover
- University of Adelaide:Text with illustrations by Tenniel
- Art Passions: Text with illustrations by Arthur Rackham
- DocOzone: Illustrations by Arthur Rackham (1907)
- Free eBook of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland at Project Gutenberg
- Indiana.edu: Text only
- GASL.org: Text with illustrations by Tenniel (PDF, coloured edition in the Arno Schmidt Reference Library)
- Duchs.com: Text only (RSS version)
- Sabiana: Text with illustrations by Tenniel, with a commentary by Dr. Marc Edmund Jones