Abstract illustration of the silhouettte of Alice falling, a white rabbit, and a red mushroom

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

by Lewis Carroll
Start Free Trial

Why there are several versions of the same quotation in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland? Where are they taken from? I recently came across some differences in the same quotation from the book. I know that the first one is the original one, but why it is paraphrased? Where do the others come from? Here they are: 1. “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." "I don't much care where –" "Then it doesn't matter which way you go.” 2. “Alice came to a fork in the road. 'Which road do I take?' she asked. 'Where do you want to go?' responded the Cheshire Cat. 'I don't know,' Alice answered. 'Then,' said the Cat, 'it doesn't matter.” 3. “Cat: Where are you going? Alice: Which way should I go? Cat: That depends on where you are going. Alice: I don’t know. Cat: Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

One type of literature is frequently adapted so as to be appropriate for other than the originally-intended audience. It appears you have stumbled across this type of situation.

Your first example is the original text, as written by Lewis Carroll. The vocabulary used in the original text reflects the origin of the story, which was told aloud by an adult (Carroll) to children. As he undoubtedly used different voices and body language to assist in the oral telling of the story, his listeners could easily understand when different characters were speaking.

Your second example appears to be an adaptation of the story created for children to read for themselves. It uses simple language and much shorter sentences, adjustments made to help youngsters succeed in reading the book independently.

Your third example is probably part of an adaptation to be used when the story is being presented as a play. It specifically designates the character for each line of dialogue and doesn't have explanatory text that would be obvious to an audience watching the performance.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team