How does Alice enter the train in Through the Looking-Glass?

How Alice enters the train in Through the Looking-Glass is unclear. She goes from running down a hill and jumping over streams to being a passenger on the train. In lieu of a concrete explanation, Lewis Carroll provides a constellation of asterisks.

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In chapter 3 of Lewis Carroll’s novel Through the Looking-Glass, Alice finds herself on the train. In one paragraph, Alice is in the woods. She’s running down a hill and jumping over a series of streams. In the next paragraph, Alice is on a train. It’s not clear how Alice entered this train. There’s a large gap between the paragraph in which Alice is in the woods and the paragraph in which the guard is asking her for her train ticket. The big gulf is occupied by a constellation of asterisks. These asterisks, it seems reasonable to contend, take the place of a concrete explanation for how Alice entered the train.

Alice herself can’t explain why she’s on the train or how she managed to board the train without a ticket. She tells the guard, “There wasn’t a ticket-office where I came from.” Yet, once again, it’s not clear how she came from the woods and into the train. As Alice is in a surreal place where almost anything can happen, the possibilities for how Alice managed to get from one place to another are quite numerous.

Thus, how Alice entered the train is ultimately a mystery. The best one can say is that she found herself on the train after deciding to go a different way. That alternate route leads her down the hills, over streams, and, somehow, onto the train for which she had no ticket.

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