Topics for Discussion
1. Alice almost drowns in her own tears. What might Carroll be suggesting about self-pity by using this image?
2. Discuss the meaning of the word "caucus" and suggest an ironic interpretation of the "Caucus Race."
3. What might be the significance of the fact that the White Rabbit refers to Alice as Mary Ann? Is it likely that there is another little girl in Wonderland who looks like Alice?
4. Why does Alice hurry off on the mission that the White Rabbit assigns her (to fetch him another pair of gloves and a fan) even though she has no idea where she is going?
5. What does Alice's handling of the frightening situation with the huge puppy tell us about her character?
6. Why is the White Rabbit so concerned about the time?
7. Why do we find the behavior of the Duchess to her baby so astonishing? What might be the significance of the fact that the Duchess calls her baby a pig and the baby later turns into a pig?
8. The Mad Hatter's tea party features a series of riddles and puns which make it impossible for Alice to carry on any real communication. Discuss the nature of puns and riddles. Do these two forms of expression make meaning impossible?
9. What might the Mock Turtle be getting at when he explains that he was once a real turtle and then goes on to say that he attended school where he learned "the different branches of Arithmetic Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision?"
10. In spite of the fact that Alice is often frustrated and even frightened in her dream, she remembers it as "a wonderful dream." Why do you think this is so?
11. Although most of the characters in Wonderland take themselves seriously (and Alice seems to do so too) they are actually quite funny. Why?