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Misadventure(s) in the Hall: Analysis of Chapter Two (1 of 2)

November 3, 2009

I’ve been seeing a pattern, here.

At the start of Chapter Two, the second size change for Alice has begun. Soon after is the third. Alice is certainly in Wonderland, and she has become somewhat desperate over her circumstances. The size changes and her physical disorientation could symbolize her disoriented mentality in this nonsense world. If you look at it one way, such as the way I proposed in my Chapter One analysis, these things (i.e. the “DRINK ME” bottle, cake, and soon the fan and kid gloves) could be a sort of trap. Any outsider not of Wonderland will probably use their reason to drink a “DRINK ME” bottle, and maybe even a cake that says “eat me.” Those trespassers will be stuck in that hall for some time.

Moving on to the actual growth of Alice in the beginning of Chapter Two, she first takes the change rather well. She jokes about it, even talks of sending Christmas packages to her feet. This is a perfect example of her childhood naivete, by the way. Although, once the transformation is complete and she realizes she cannot even fit through the door which she finally is large enough to get the key for, she cries again. She is very short-sighted, as I see it. Then again, so are many children. She sees a solution and does not consider the loophole hidden behind the decision. I sense many more loopholes to come throughout Wonderland.

Her crying creates a pool of her tears as a result. I wonder if this is played off the expression, or even created it, “Cry a river of tears.” Carroll, based on the many notations in Annotated Alice, has hidden dozens of small jokes, so perhaps that is the case. Soon after, the White Rabbit reappears, which is a strange thing, for Alice has been in the hall trying to solve the puzzle for some time. He mentions a new character as well, “the Duchess.” I’m sure we will discover her later on. Another strange occurrence takes place soon after, when Alice calls out to the Rabbit, who makes a mad dash to anywhere but there, seeing the giant Alice. If the Rabbit is in fact, of this “world,” then why does he become so terrified? Hmm, maybe, the White Rabbit did not fear her size at all… maybe he was surprised at seeing this “outsider” in Wonderland. Is Alice a contamination of some sort in their “world?”

The Rabbit is soon gone and Alice is left with his gloves and fan. Alice begins talking to herself all over again, proposing that maybe she has become someone else, this place is so queer. Who is she now? She is certainly the same person, we say, but a change has certainly begun. This “world” is opening her up to new and very strange things. There is no way to return the same, as symbolized from the long fall through the rabbit-hole. Also, as she says, she’ll “stay down here till (she’s) somebody else.” (page 24 of Annotated Alice)

Alice begins to shrink again, she notices with the gloves, and is rapidly doing so. Personally, I saw this as a rather “random” occurrence. It is not exactly explained what the cause of this is until later or why it happened a while after holding it. No particular action was took to trigger the change. She soon notices it is the fan that is causing it and casts it aside, which stops the transformation. Why did this not happen until now, I must ask? Was it something she said..?

She narrowly escapes disappearing altogether and falls into the pool of tears she has made. Ironically, she is drowning in her own tears. Alice scolds herself for crying so much, and now she is being punished for it. Traditionally, no one is punished for crying, but this event could be interpreted as a “coming-of-age” section of sorts. She is being taught not to cry so much, which she has done repeatedly so far. Maybe this will help her in her Wonderland adventure. There are so many lessons to be learned for Alice, even this far into the story, and she already hasn’t done too well with some of the strange circumstances that have come her way. Maybe she will push through some of the queer things here in Wonderland if she learns them.

“However, everything is queer to-day.” (Page 25 Annotated Alice)

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