What does the Cheshire Cat mean by the quotation: "Food can make you big in Wonderland (as in life) but only mercy and experience can make you wise"?
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This refers to the theme of growing up. The Cheshire Cat is cautioning Alice that while food is necessary to help one grow up, food alone is not enough and one also needs mercy and experience in order to become a (wise) adult. This can be demonstrated by Alice's experience in the small room when she eats the cake labelled 'EAT ME' and grows large, but is then too large to fit through the door; she has grown up very fast but has not shown wisdom. Nevertheless, the story is intentionally quite illogical and in Wonderland nothing is what it appears.
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