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Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Alice in Wonderland
Author Lewis Carroll
Illustrator John Tenniel
Publication date November 26, 1865
Publisher Macmillan
Preceded by
Followed by
Through the Looking-Glass

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, sometimes known as Alice in Wonderland, is a 1865 fictional fantasy novel written by English author Charles Dodgson, published under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. The first edition was illustrated by John Tenniel.

It is considered to be one of the best examples of the "literary nonsense" genre, and still has a lasting popularity with both adults and children, resulting in many adaptations based on the novel being produced across all types of media.

Both Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There, serve as the origin of material for the video games American McGee's Alice and Alice: Madness Returns; the plot of the game series follows on as a sequel narrative to the books.


On 4 July 1862, Dodgson, along with Robinson Duckworth, took the daughters of their friend Henry Liddell - Lorina, Alice, and Edith - on a five-mile boat trip from Folly Bridge near Oxford to the village of Godstow. (The girls were 13, 10 and 8 at the time, respectively.)

During the trip, Dodgson told the girls a story about a bored little girl named Alice who goes looking for an adventure. The girls loved it, and Alice Liddell asked him to write it down for her. Dodgson began writing the manuscript of the story the following, elaborating the plot to the story of Alice. In November that year he began working on the manuscript in earnest. He researched natural history for the animals presented in the book, and then had the book examined by other children. He added his own illustrations, but approached John Tenniel to illustrate the book for publication, telling him that the story had been well liked by children.

On 26 November 1864, Dodgson gave Alice the handwritten manuscript of Alice's Adventures Under Ground, with illustrations by Dodgson himself, dedicating it as "A Christmas Gift to a Dear Child in Memory of a Summer's Day." (Some speculate there was an earlier version that was destroyed later by Dodgson when he printed a more elaborate copy by hand.) However, before Alice received her copy, Dodgson was already preparing it for publication, expanding the 15,500-word original to 27,500 words.


Chapter 1: Down The Rabbit Hole[]

Alice holding the Drink Me potion

Alice holding a Drink Me bottle.

Alice and her sister are lazing a river bank in the English countryside. As the bored Alice decides what to do, she spots a White Rabbit in a waistcoat with a pocket watch run by. Curious, having never seen a talking rabbit in clothing before, Alice chases it down a rabbit hole which, after a very long and slow fall, leads to a hallway of doors.

After finding all the doors are locked, Alice discovers a golden key on a glass table that won't fit any door, except a tiny door that she cannot get through, but lead into a beautiful garden. She then finds a vial of potion. After a little consideration, she drinks from it, and it makes her suddenly shrink.

Although she is now small enough for the tiny door, Alice had forgetting the key on top of the table, and she cannot climb the table as the glass is far too slippery. While wondering what to do, she finds a little cake. She eats it, and it makes her grow.

Chapter 2: Pool of Tears[]

Now gigantic, Alice becomes stuck in the hallway and starts to sob inconsolably. She pleads for the White Rabbit's assistance, but he runs away, so frightened at her giant size that he drops his gloves and fan. As Alice goes on a rant to herself about her strange day, she fans herself with the Rabbit's fan, which helps her shrink again.

Alice with Dodo

Alice with Dodo.

She lands in a huge pool of water, and realizes she has cried a pool of tears. In the pool, she comes across a mouse, who is easily offended by talking about her cat, Dinah. The pool soon becomes filled with various creates - a duck, a Dodo, an Eaglet, and several others - and they all swim to the shore.

Chapter 3: A Caucus-Race and a Long Tale[]

Although out of the pool, Alice and the creatures are still soaking wet, so Mouse tells a long, dry tale of William the Conqueror to try to dry them. It does not work, so Dodo suggests a Caucus Race: a race where everyone starts and finishes the race whenever they please. Once they are dry, the Mouse tells Alice a long story about his upbringing, but Alice is too occupied with his tail getting into knots. Alice feels a little homesick and talks about Dinah again, but when its revealed Dinah is a cat, the creatures run away.

Chapter 4: The Rabbit Sends a Little Bill[]

Bill out of the chimney

Bill being shot out of the chimney.

The White Rabbit comes upon the scene and mistakes Alice for his house-maid Mary Anne. He has her fetch a new pair of gloves and a fan for him, but while in his house, Alice sees another bottle and takes her chances to drink it.

Alice begins to grow again and becomes trapped in the room, with an arm out of the window and a foot in the chimney. Rabbit tries to open the door, but of course Alice has blocked the door. When he tries the window, he is frightened by the sight of the large arm and falls into a cucumber box.

He and many of his workers try to think of something to do, and eventually send Bill the Lizard down the chimney. Unimpressed, Alice kicks Bill and sends him shooting out of the chimney again. Rabbit and the workers then start throwing pebbles into the house, which turn into soft sponge cake. Alice eats one and shrinks again, and runs away from the mess.

Alice then comes across an enormous puppy and briefly plays fetch with it, before she comes across a large mushroom where the Caterpillar is.

Chapter 5: Advice from a Caterpillar[]

Alice meeting the Caterpillar

Alice finding the Caterpillar.

The Caterpillar asks Alice who she is, but Alice is not quite sure herself due to all the changes she has been through already. She eventually gets frustrated with Caterpillar's questions and goes to walk away, but Caterpillar tells her to keep her temper and recite the poem You Are Old Father William.

She gets it completely wrong and the Caterpillar, after an awkward silence, asks her what size she would like to be. He is offended when Alice decides 3 inches is a wretched height, because he is exactly three inches height, but tells her the mushroom will help her before he leaves. Alice eats the right side of the mushroom that makes her shrink, but her head strikes down to her feet. The left side makes her neck grow, and a pigeon mistakes her for a serpent. However, with careful eating, Alice manages to make herself 9 inches high when she finds a small house.

Chapter 6: Pig and Pepper[]

Duchess home

Alice in the Duchess' house.

Outside of the house, two footmen exchange an invitation for the Duchess to play Croquet with the Queen of Hearts. Alice storms into the house after a pointless conversation with the Frog-Footman.

Inside, she finds the Duchess, her cook, and her pet Cheshire Cat. In the Duchess' lap, there is a wailing baby who sneezes occasionally. Alice tries to make intellectual conversation with the Duchess, but due to the large amount of pepper in the air, the woman is very short tempered and has a violent speech.

When the Duchess goes to get ready for the croquet party, she hands the baby to Alice. Alice takes her chance to save the baby from the chaotic household, but outside of the house, the baby turns into a pig and she lets it wander off into the woods.

Alice then speaks with the Cheshire Cat, who reveals that she can go to either the home of the Mad Hatter or the March Hare. Alice explains she is uncomfortable around mad people, but the Cat reveals that everyone is mad in Wonderland, and so is she. After the Cat disappears, leaving only his fading grin, Alice chooses to visit the Hare, believing that since it wasn't March he won't be so mad.

Chapter 7: A Mad Tea-Party[]

Tea party

The March Hare, Dormouse, Mad Hatter and Alice in a tea party.

When Alice reaches the Hare's house, she finds a tea party is going ahead with the Hare, Hatter and the Dormouse, who dozes off constantly. Alice sits with the party and listens to the nonsensical chatter of Hatter's crime for literally killing time by reciting Twinkle Twinkle Little Bat, and hearing Dormouse's story about three little sisters who lived in the bottom of a treacle well.

Alice eventually becomes so offended and agitated by the party that she leaves without them even noticing (much to her disappointment), and finds a door in a tree which leads her back into the Hallway of Doors again. Learning from her past mistake, Alice is careful to have the key with her as she shrinks again, and she finally gets into the tiny door, leading to the Queen of Hearts' garden.

Chapter 8: The Queen's Croquet-Garden[]

Alice finds three Card Guards painting white Roses with red paint. As she helps paint the roses, the Queen of Hearts comes to look at her garden and is insulted to find the white roses.

She orders the 3 cards to be executed. She demands to know Alice's relation to the cards, but Alice stands up to the Queen, which is quite shocking to the Queen herself. They decide to play croquet, and the White Rabbit reveals the Duchess is in prison for boxing the Queen's ears. During the crazy party, the head of the Cat makes his appearance and insults the King of Hearts, who orders his head to be cut off. However, the Executioner states he can not behead something without a body. Asked for her advice, Alice suggests they seek the Duchess' opinion. The Cat soon disappears again.

Chapter 9: The Mock Turtle's Story[]

Alice and Duchess in croquet party

The Duchess trying to befriend Alice.

After a conversation with the Duchess (a very lousy one, according to Alice,) the Queen of Hearts demands the Duchess leave the grounds immediately or face execution. The Queen then insists Alice visits the Mock Turtle to get him to tell her his story. She has the Gryphon take the girl to see him. After a long period of sobbing over his past and school-life, the Mock Turtle decides to recite the song, the Lobster's Quadrille.

Chapter 10: The Lobster Quadrille[]

Mock Turtle and Gryphon act out the dance of the Lobster's Quadrille while singing it. Alice joins in happily and afterwards tells the two characters her day in Wonderland. When she gets to the Caterpillar part, the Gryphon proclaims her to recite T'is the Voice of the Sluggard. Alice fails to recite the poem correctly, and Mock Turtle begins to sing a song about himself, Beautiful Soup. Suddenly, the Gryphon whisks Alice away to the trial of the Knave of Hearts.

Chapter 11: Who Stole the Tarts?[]

The King and Queen have accused the Knave of Hearts for stealing the tarts, which are clearly sitting upon the table untouched. Alice steals one of the juror's pens (Bill's) because it squeaks too much. The trial goes ahead and the Mad Hatter is called as the first witness. He is timid and terrified of the Queen, who has a faint memory of him as the singer that murdered time. The Hatter escapes the courtroom before the Queen can call for his head.

Meanwhile, Alice is growing again. The second witness is brought to the court stand, the Duchess' Cook, who makes the whole room sneeze from the pepper. Getting no evidence from her, the King has the Queen cross-examine the next witness: Alice.

Chapter 12: Alice's Evidence[]

The Cards attacking Alice

The Cards attacking Alice.

Alice stands but she has grown to her natural size in the last few minutes and knocks the jury over and the trial won't proceed until she puts them in their right place. Alice does so and when interviewed on the case, she says she has absolutely no idea about anything about the crime. The King demands Alice leave since she is considered more than a mile high, as declared by rule 42.

The White Rabbit declares new evidence has been found - a series of verses. But upon reading the verses, they have nothing to do with the case what so ever. The King makes an awkward joke about the poem to describe the Knave and demands the verdict but the Queen demands the sentence. Alice defies the Queen's logic and stands up to the Queen once more. In her fit of rage, she announces Alice's death, but Alice does not care about what the Queen says and the whole card pack attacks her, and she fends them off until they turn into dry leaves. Alice wakes up and tells her sister her curious adventures and she also dreams of Wonderland.


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