Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Additional Summary

Lewis Carroll

Summary

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Although Carroll wrote Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland explicitly to entertain children, it has become a treasure to philosophers, literary critics, biographers, clergy, psychoanalysts, and linguists, not to mention mathematicians, theologians, and logicians. There appears to be something in this work for everyone, and there are almost as many interpretations of it as there are commentators.

Alice’s dream becomes her nightmare. A novelty at first, Wonderland becomes increasingly oppressive to Alice as she is faced with its fundamental disorder. Everything there, including her own body size, is in a state of flux. She is treated rudely, is bullied, is asked questions with no answers, and is denied answers to asked questions. Her recitations of poems turn into parodies, a baby turns into a pig, and a cat turns into a grin. The essence of time and space is called into question, and her romantic notion of an idyllic garden of life becomes a paper wasteland. Whether Alice, as some critics argue, is an alien who invades and contaminates Wonderland or is an innocent contaminated by it, one important fact remains the same: She has a vision that shows the world to be chaotic, meaningless, and a terrifying void. In order to escape that oppressive and disorienting vision, she denies it with her outcry that “You’re nothing but a pack of cards!” and happily regains the morally intelligible and emotionally comfortable world of her sister, who sits next to her on the...

(The entire section is 607 words.)

Summary

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is a masterpiece of children's literature and a major contribution to "nonsense" writing, which uses...

(The entire section is 208 words.)

Chapters 1-3: Down the Rabbit Hole

(Novels for Students)

After a short verse prologue, in which he commemorates the day on which he first told his tale, Lewis Carroll begins Alice's Adventures in...

(The entire section is 406 words.)

Chapters 4-7: Learning the Ropes in Wonderland

(Novels for Students)

The White Rabbit then appears again, and mistaking Alice for his servant, orders her to go fetch him another fan and pair of gloves. Alice...

(The entire section is 468 words.)

Chapters 8-10: Alice in the Garden

(Novels for Students)

Alice first encounters a curious spectacle: some playing cards are painting some white roses red. They are doing so, she learns, because red...

(The entire section is 206 words.)

Chapters 11-12: The Trial and the Return

(Novels for Students)

When they arrive at the courtroom, the trial of the Knave (i.e., Jack) of Hearts, accused of having stolen some tarts made by the Queen, is...

(The entire section is 190 words.)