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Through the Looking-Glass
Through the Looking-Glass
Author Lewis Caroll
Illustrator John Tenniel
Publication date 1871
Publisher Macmillan
Preceded by
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Followed by
Image gallery (11)

Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There is a 1871 fictional fantasy novel and the sequel to the 1865 title Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Both novels were written by Charles Dodgson, published under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll, and both the first editions were illustrated by John Tenniel.

The themes and settings of Through the Looking-Glass make it a kind of mirror image to the first Alice title: the first book begins outdoors, in the warm month of May, uses frequent changes in size as a plot device, and draws on the imagery of playing cards; the second begins in a snowy, wintry night in November, uses frequent changes in time and spatial directions as a plot device, and draws on the imagery of chess. In it, there are many mirror themes, including opposites and time running backwards.

Both Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass service as the origin of material for the video games American McGee's Alice and Alice: Madness Returns, and act as sequels to the novels. The beginning of the first Alice game follows on shortly after Through the Looking-Glass.


Chapter 1: Looking Glass House[]

Alice entering the Looking-Glass World

Alice finding the mirror.

While Dinah washes her kitten Snowdrop, Alice lectures Dinah's other kitten, Kitty about manners after unrolling a ball of twine and tries to have her pretend she is the Red Queen. Alice continues to speak about a number of bizarre things and when she climbs onto the chimney-piece and travels through the looking glass. The chess pieces come to life but they cannot see or hear Alice, (notably when she picks the White King up to dust him off he's absolutely horrified and believes it was a volcano.) She finds the Jabberwocky poetry book on the table in the room and reads it only when she holds it up to the Looking glass as it is all backwards. She likes it, but cannot understand it. Deciding to observe the entire house, she floats down the stairs.

Chapter 2: Garden of Live Flowers[]

Red Queen chastises Alice

Alice talking with the Red Queen.

Alice wants to see the garden, and decides the best view is by the hill. However, she keeps returning to the front of the house and becomes a little frustrated. She comes upon a large flower bed where she is surprised that the flowers possess speech. The flowers claim that the Willow tree in the center of the garden protects them from danger, and this starts the daisies into a manic frenzy of high-pitched speech. The garden bed is revealed to be hard-not soft so the flowers don't sleep. A rose informs Alice that a flower that can move (the Red Queen) is somewhere in the garden. Alice finds she must walk the opposite direction to meet the Red Queen. The two go up the hill where Alice realizes the country resembles a chess board. The Queen promises Alice that if she will replace the White Queen's daughter Lily in the game of chess (because she is too young,) she will have the chance to become a Queen of her own. The Red Queen then takes Alice by the hand and runs at super speeds but they haven't gotten anywhere else. The Red Queen marks out pegs, and gives Alice helpful hints about the chess board and leaves Alice to make her move.

Chapter 3: Looking Glass Insects[]

Studying the country from the hill, she sees what she first thinks are gigantic bees but they are in fact elephants. She resists the temptation to converse with them and jumps over a brook into Third Square. Immediately she lands inside a train where the ticket master demands her ticket, and the whole train sings in chorus over anything said. (And one time read Alice's mind.) A gentleman clothed in papers, a beetle and a goat remark how she must be forgetting which way to go (as the ticket master said afterwards she was going the wrong way). A tiny voice makes comments on whatever Alice says, and the other travelers also make remarks about how Alice will have to pull the train, or be sent away as luggage. The tiny voice reveals itself as an insect, which makes Alice very anxious. To add onto her anxiety, the train literally leaps over the brook into fourth square. The voice turns out to be a Gnat, that is the size of a chicken. Alice begins to tell it about the insects she knows about. Each time she describes one insect, the Gnat tells her of its wonderland counterpart, such as a Horse fly and the Rocking-Horse fly. The Gnat advises Alice not to forget her name, and it leaves by sighing in a rather melancholy state. Alice comes across a dark wood where she forgets the names of things such as trees and a Fawn. When the reach a clearing in the woods, the Fawn is stricken with anxiety over the fact it is a fawn and Alice is a human child and darts off. Alice remembers her name and follows a sign post to the house of Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

Chapter 4: Tweedledum and Tweedledee[]

Alice meeting Tweedledum and Tweedledee

Alice meeting the Tweedles.

Tweedledum and Tweedledee stand silently under a tree when Alice finds them. They talk in strange sentences and Alice recites the poem Tweedledum and Tweedledee. When Alice tries to guess which one was born first, they correct her by saying the proper way to greet people is to shake hands. They begin dancing in a ring, until the brothers run out of breath, being so fat. They ignore Alice's question of leaving the wood and recite the poem "The Walrus and the Carpenter." After deciding that both characters were bad, Alice becomes anxious about a sound behind them, but its only the Red King snoring. They Twins conclude that this is all the Red King's dream and should he wake they would all cease to exist which upsets Alice greatly. Suddenly, Tweedledum discovers the broken rattle from the poem about the boys. He insists he and his brother have a battle, with Alice telling them they should not at all while fixing on their "suits of armour." Before the fight can begin, the monstrous crow from the poem appears in a dark cloud and frightens the twins away and leaves Alice into hiding.

Chapter 5: Wool and Water[]

Catching the White Queen's shawl, the Queen finds Alice and laments that the wind has blown her outfit and hair into a mess. Afterwards the White Queen insists on hiring Alice as her new maid, but she rejects the offer. They begin to converse about memory, and that the White Queen claims she can remember things in the future, because she lives backwards. The Queen remembers the King's messenger is in prison, when the trial is not until Wednesday and she will soon remember his crime. The Queen also screams in pain when she hasn't even cut her finger yet. (Earlier she had put on a band-aid.) She then does cut her finger when her brooch unpins itself and she catches it (but expresses no feeling of pain.) Another gust of wind sends her brooch flying away and Alice chases after her across the brook. Suddenly she is in a shop with a Sheep, As Alice looks around the shop, she finds that she cannot get a direct look at whats on sale, but rather a glimpse of them just outside of her line of vision. The Sheep begins to knit with more and more needles and suddenly they are in a boat with Alice having to row along the banks of a river. She picks scented rushes but finds the prettiest ones the furthest away. Shortly they return to shop where Alice decisively buys an egg and has to get it from the shelf, but as she walks up to it, it moves further away and that she shop now has a brook. At each step, more and more trees appear.

Chapter 6: Humpty Dumpty[]

Alice and Humpty Dumpty

Alice reciting the Humpty Dumpty song.

The purchased egg turns out to be the famous Humpty Dumpty. He is offended when she claims he looks very much like an egg. Alice realizes that he has not even been talking to her, but a tree, so she recites the Humpty Dumpty song. Humpty demonstrates his knowledge at Alice's questions rather than simply answering them like they are challenges of logic. He has been assured by the White King's army that he will be put together again should he fall off the wall. In his pride of having spoken to the king, he shakes Alice's hand (nearly falling off the wall in doing so.) They begin to speak of age but Alice tries to compliment his belt (but it is actually a cravat) which makes him quite angry. Humpty informs her it is an unbirthday present and that unbirthdays are the best of days because they appear three hundred and sixty four times a year. They then speak of using words to replace other words when they don't mean what they were used for. Alice has Humpty Dumpty help her with the meaning of the poem Jabberwocky. She laments talking of poetry as he insists on reciting his own. Afterwards he bids her farewell so suddenly and claims he will never remember her should she visit him again. As she leaves, a great crash shakes the forest.

Chapter 7: The Lion and the Unicorn[]

Anglo-Saxon messengers

The March Hare and Mad Hatter in disguise as Anglo-Saxon messengers.

Soldiers are running through the forest, but they continue to trip and stumble over anything in the path of their feet. Alice makes it to a clearing so she does not have to put up with the confusion and for a fear of being trampled. The White king can be seen and claims his messengers have gone to Town. Just then, Haigha appears, and the White King demands he give him a sandwich. Haigha's erratic behavior has him once again frightening the King when he claims to whisper what is going on in the town, only to shout as loudly as he can. As it turns out, the Lion and the Unicorn are fighting for the White King's crown once more. Alice recites the poem of The Lion and the Unicorn on the way to town which is now enveloped by a cloud of dust, with Hatta, the messenger from prison, watching them while eating buttered bread. The combatants get tired of fighting and so the King and his messengers offer them refreshments. The unicorn is shocked upon seeing Alice, as children are thought to him to be fantastic monsters, as are unicorns to Alice, and they agree to believe the other is real from then on.They begin to cut up the Plum cake, which Alice must do backwards, and a loud drumming is heard which Alice runs away from. She leaps over the next brook.

Chapter 8: It's My Own Invention[]

Alice with the White Knight

Alice with the White Knight.

Questioning whether this really is Alice's dream or the Red Kings, one of the Red knights claims Alice his new prisoner, but she is saved by a White Knight. The fight for her is a clumsy one as they both keep falling off their horses. Afterwards, the White Knight tells Alice he will take her to the last brook. He shows her many of his bizarre and impractical inventions, such as an upside down box to hold his clothes when it rains, but she points out his clothes would have fallen out. The knight is awkward and continuously falls off his horse.

He claims he practices riding his horse and Alice suggests he get a wooden horse on wheels. He continues talking of his strange inventions until eventually falling into a ditch, head first. She helps him out and they continue on until they reach the end of the wood. He sings her a sad song, (one he claims is his own tune but its actually the tune of I give thee all, I can't no more.) After his song, he requests she wave him off with her handkerchief. She wastes no time to bound over the next brook and discovers, resting upon her head, is a golden crown.

Chapter 9: Queen Alice[]

White and Red Queens arguing

The White Queen and the Red Queen in a debate.

From pawn to Queen, Alice scolds herself for sitting upon the grass but finds the White Queen and Red Queen sitting either side of her. She and the Red Queen debate the rule of "Speak when spoken to," The Red Queen demands to examine Alice before she calls herself a queen. They ask her questions that make little or no sense, of math and the method of making bread. Logic continues to be defied by the Queens until the two fall asleep on both of Alice's shoulders. Their snoring eventually turns into song and Alice now stands before a door with "Queen Alice" written on it. A beaked creature does not let her in, and a very old frog comes to Alice. The frog tells Alice to leave the door alone and it will leave her alone, at which the doors swing open. The room is filled with a cheering audience singing of Alice's arrival to the feast. The food keeps coming to life whenever she is introduced to it. The White Queen recites a poem on fish. As they propose Alice give a speech, the whole room becomes alive and wild, creating chaos. Alice seizes the table cloth which sends everyone crashing to the ground. Alice picks up the now doll-sized Red Queen and shakes her violently.

Chapter 10: Shaking[]

She shakes the Queen as she gets softer and rounder, and a smaller face.

Chapter 11: Waking[]

Dinah and kittens

Alice with Dinah and her kittens.

The Red Queen is Kitty, Dinah's kitten. Alice has awakened.

Chapter 12: Which Dreamed It?[]

Alice addresses the kitten as the Queen and demands Kitty confess to having turned into the Red Queen. She concludes Snowdrop, Dinah's white kitten had been the White Queen, and Dinah herself had been Humpty Dumpty. She promises Kitty she'll recite the Tweedle boy's poem so it can pretend its food is Oysters. After this offer, Alice asks Kitty if her "husband" really did dream the dream or if he was part of hers. The book asks the reader's opinion on whose dream it was.