Headscratchers / Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

The books

  • When Alice grows too large in the White Rabbit's house why doesn't she use the fan again (like she did in the Hall Of Doors) to shrink herself?
    • As soon as she realized the fan was shrinking her, she threw it away and it was lost in the sea of tears.
      • Yes but she found another one in the White Rabbit's house.
      • Not the same fan, and thus unlikely to have the same results.
      • Except that the only reason she ate the carrot was under the reasoning that foodstuffs seemed to be having effects on her size. Wait, are we actually trying to bring logic into Alice in freaking Wonderland??!
      • Alice isn't from Wonderland. She still has logic.
      • But she is in Wonderland and a lot of her frustration comes from the fact that trying to apply logic to situations while she's in it gets her nowhere.
  • Why does this book get so much Darker and Edgier stuff done to it?
    • I suppose its mostly because of the Mind Screw attached to the setting, or maybe because, frankly, the animated Disney version of the setting was quite dark and unusually unsettling for the kind of stuff Disney is most often associated with. The characters themselves, specially the Mad Hatter and the Queen(s), have qualities that make a darker and edgier interpretation seem not too far fetched.
    • Values Dissonance perhaps? In this day and age, people probably find the idea of a girl falling down a dangerously deep hole and wandering around aimlessly and alone with creatures that are either apathetic to her or want to kill her to be very dark and scary. It was probably put best in The Annotated Alice, when the Queen of Hearts first shows up. The annotation mentions that parents have worried about the effect such a murderous character would have on children, but kids themselves seemed quite at ease with her (while the annotation mentioned that adults on the other hand had best be kept away from the Queen).
    • Because madness is a common theme in the books, and madness/mental illness isn't the happy trippy funtimes that media likes to portray it as.
    • My favourite interpretation of the book is that it's about how scary and illogical the world really is. Alice questions who she is, she's aware of changes happening to her body and her mind but can do nothing about them, she has to humour people who she doesn't like or understand, and she's constantly making up her own rules about how to exist in Wonderland because she doesn't understand everyone else's. That's how most of us feel about growing up/starting a new job/starting a new relationship/meeting new people/going abroad etc. That's just my opinion though :)
  • Why is every single Alice "re-imagining" some variation on "OMG DA RED QUEN OF HARTZ IZ EEVIL AND ALIC MUST STOP HER AND STUF!!!1" How is it that the Wizard of Oz has so many good re-imaginings when all Wonderland re-imaginings are ripped off from American Mc­Gee?
    • Because the Queen of Hearts is the closest thing to an antagonist the series has, the Red Queen is probably in second, and people like to combine the stories.
      • Why do they always have to be a Composite Character, okay their both queens and red but can't one adaption have them as separate characters? Especially as one is from a deck of cards and the other from a chess set. Now that's a type of adaption I want to see.
      • If they made the Red Queen a villain, I'd imagine her being a calm and collected woman who is an evilly affible, manipulative bitch who is tricking Alice into becoming queen so she can intercept the white army in some way and win the battle. And she wouldn't be interested in chopping heads off and isn't as violent as the Queen of Hearts. Now that's a type of adaption I want to see.
      • Like the White Queen from the Tim Burton film? Interesting...
      • Symbolically,as a color, red seems to be more prone to outbursts of temper, white's more calculating.
    • Personally, I think the Jabberwock would make a better villain in an Alice re imagining. The Queen of Hearts is all talk, the Red Queen is evil but Alice doesn't really take her seriously, the Duchess is more of a bully than a villain, and in Carroll's other works the "antagonists" barely qualify as such; the Walrus and the Carpenter were just con artists and The Hunting of the Snark had no antagonist (unless you count the Bandersnatch or the Boojum). The Jabberwock seems like a much more serious villain than any of the others.
      • The Jabberwock has been the villian in at least two TV adaptations.
  • Why the (please excuse my language) fuck is everyone convinced that the book is an hallucination by an insane woman, or a drug trip? WHY? Because it's fantasy? But why this book in particular? Why not Harry Potter or the Chronicles of Narnia or the Wizard of Oz or Peter Pan or the Spiderwick Chronicles or the Never Ending Story? Why can't anybody suspend disbelief and use their fucking imagination? No, everything needs to have a rational explanation, even Wonderland.
    • Its mostly because of how outright absurd it seems; from a generic person's view, having Earth's prehistory as magical, with medieval European looking civilisations, with elves, orcs and dwarves and with a fallen dark lord that once disguised himself as a bishounen to fool the elves or a multiverse with a god like particle of which angels are made and with armoured polar bears makes more sense, because as a whole things seem to follow a certain logic. Alice in Wonderland is not by any means logic, in fact its the opposite of it, not even having a recognisable plot, and thats what leads people to think it was the result of drugs, which is quite sad because Mind Screw is an awesome trope.
    • The Catepiller was a big contributor to that. (Know what it was smoking in the hookah? It wasn't tobacco, that's for sure. But the thing it, that was far more common in Victorian England than it was now.)
    • Not to mention the fact that the author was a known drug user and was possibly under the influence while coming up with the story. With that in mind its not that much of a stretch to think that the protagonist too would be under the influence.
      • I've never heard he was a drug user, and I've read several biographies. I think you've mistaken him for someone else.
      • Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) never used drugs. That is pure fiction. He was a surprisingly sane and logical fellow.
      • Although he might have been a paedophile.
      • The pedophilia is also entirely made up by misinformed biographers (and largely based in values dissonance) and any reliable source will tell you so.
      • Speaking of the false rumors of pedophilia, why don't people even mention that the entire book was based around trolling his students? Since from some records that he believed that the mathematics his students were thinking was pure lunacy.
    • Both stories are openly revealed as dreams, at the end. Dreams, hallucination, and madness are all akin.
    • But most people have dreams and they aren't mad. Though YMMV, I suppose.
  • Not necessarily about the book, but why don't we have a separate article for Through the Looking-Glass? It has the same number, if not more characters than the first book, is just as witty as it, and is quite possibly the first major Chess Motif in literature. (We have an article on The Hunting of the Snark, why not this?)
    • It is this troper's personal opinion that the two Alice stories are inseparable. You can't have one without the other. Besides, two separate articles would just confuse people who are unfamiliar with Alice.
    • Why not call it "Through The Looking Glass" with "Alice in Wonderland 2" as an alt title?
      • Because Alice In Wonderland 2 is not and never has been the tile of the story?
    • Many pages for films also include the sequels. The Hunting of the Snark is not really linked as closely to AIW as TTLG.
  • From the Black Comedy-example, exactly what is the dark joke Humpty Dumpty makes? The best I can guess is that Humpty suggests Alice that she should have asked someone to kill her on her seventh birthday, but it still doesn't seem quite right.
    • I guessed it was about aborting a baby.
    • That wouldn't account for the age of seven. It's exactly what it sounds like: Alice says she can't help growing up, and Humpty counters that she could if someone killed her.
      • I (probably not the original poster) am not sure why one can't help aging past six and a half, but two can, since I Cannot Self-Terminate wasn't really implied (unless Values Dissonance between myself and a 19th-century Christian is obscuring the strength of the "no suicide, no heaven" thing).
      • Maybe Humpty Dumpty is saying he would need two people to shove him off the wall.
      • Well, before Queen Victoria took the throne, a child could be hung if they commited a crime, but anyone under seven was too young to be hung. Perhaps the joke is a reference to that?
    • It's definitely an allusion to dying/having someone kill you, but I seriously think Gardener was reaching on this point. As a lot of other examples show, people love stretching to find darkness in Alice in one way or another. Gardener's idea doesn't make much sense — people can commit suicide very well alone, possibly easier than they can find someone willing to kill them. Much more likely (in my opinion) is that the real joke there was Carroll playing on the use of 'one' as a pronoun — he was very fond of creative, illogical misinterpretations like that — and Gardener took it entirely the wrong way.
  • Here's an interesting headscratcher: What sort of animal is Pat, the White Rabbit's servant who was digging for apples? Carroll never specifies. (Most assume he was one of the two guinea pigs who was helping Bill when Alice ran out of the house, but we can only assume that.)
    • I always thought he was either a human or a pig
    • In the 1951 Disney movie he and the Dodo are the same person. In the 1999 Hallmark adaptation it's implied that he's a lizard (he and Bill are shown wearing matching outfits). Ultimately, however, there's no conclusive evidence as to what he is.
    • The Rabbit calls him "you goose" at one point, though this is probably just an insult and has nothing to do with his species. Though one audio drama adaptation ran with this and decided to make him a gander, adding this bit of dialogue to the scene:
    Rabbit: Now tell me, Pat, what's that in the window?
    Pat: It's an arrum, yer honour!
    Rabbit: An arm, you goose!
    Pat: Gander.
    Rabbit: What?!
    Pat: I'm not a goose, yer honour, I'm a gander.
    Rabbit: ...That doesn't matter!
    Pat: It does to me, yer honour.
    • Pat is traditionally pictured as one of the two guinea-pigs we see supporting Bill the Lizard after his terrifying experience with the chimney, and later disrupting the Knave of Hearts' trial.
  • In Through The Looking Glass, are Hatta and Haigha (the White King's messengers) supposed to be the Mad Hatter and the March Hare from the previous book?
    • No, just Expies who happen to have similar-sounding names. Remember, Looking-Glass Land and Wonderland are two different places.
      • Complicated by Tenniel's illustrations, in which Hatta and Haigha look identical to their Wonderland counterparts, including the Hatter's hat with its price tag.
    • Alternate interpretation: since those names are only given by the White King, they might be the literary interpretation of how he pronounces "Hatter" and "Hare" in a posh accent. Alice assumes these to be their names.
  • Another question about that book. Are the White Queen and the sheep (in the shop) meant to be the same character?
    • Given how the Chess Problem is detailed, yes. When she moves into the next square, she becomes the sheep.
  • If Humpty Dumpty only explained the first (and, since it's repeated at the end, last) stanza of "Jabberwocky," what the hell does the rest of the poem mean?
    • It doesn't mean much except for the absurdity of overwrought and poorly written poems that are usually taken seriously.
    • "Somebody killed something" as Alice herself put it.
    • I have my own ideas about word meanings, but remember this list is not canon unless noted:
Jabberwock: A large fearsome draconic animal. Jub-Jub Bird: An enormous bird with a piercing shreik. (Canon) Frumious: Fuming and furious. (Canon) Bandersnatch: A murderous creature of some sort. Vorpal: The quality of being made with the material Vorpal. Manxome: Fearsome, powerful, and mysterious. Tum-Tum Tree: A variety of Carrolian tree. Uffish: A state of mind when the voice is gruffish, the manner roughish, and the temper huffish (Canon) Whiffling: Swift and whistling. (As in moving quickly.) Tulgey: Tangley, ugly, and bulgey. Burble: A sound halfway between a bubble and a gurgle. Snicker-snack: Onomatopoeia for the sound of a sword swinging and cutting. Galumphing: Galloping triumphantly. Beamish: Bright, energetic, or making one beam. Frabjous: Fabulous, rapt, and joyous. Callooh! Callay!: Exclamation of joy. Chortled: Combination of snorted and chuckled.