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It’s a Mad World After All: Analysis of Chapter Seven

November 25, 2009

Chapter Seven brings much development into the overall story. Though the whole plot may seem aimless and faulty, this chapter brings to light a concept Carroll may have been trying to get across. The chapter opens with Alice coming upon a tea-party with a Mad Hatter and March Hare. The two, along with a dormouse, shout out as she approaches.

“No room! No room!” they cried out when they saw Alice coming. “There’s plenty of room!” said Alice indignantly, and she sat down in a large arm-chair at one end of the table.

We are all already well aware of these character’s being mad, as well as the rest of Wonderland, so this exchange brings up an interesting concept. Alice, being from the “real” world, has been conditioned to see this kind of world as mad, so she in turn is sane by the standards. Maybe these Wonderland inhabitants are unwelcoming towards Alice, who is sane, therefore different from their world’s standards. They try to keep her from their table, though she uses reason to justify her sitting down (there is plenty of room). If this weren’t the truth, I would have to add that there isn’t much valid explanation otherwise.

They continue talking, the tea-partiers making their unwelcome clear. As the scene progresses, though, the mad pair begin to point out any technical mistakes Alice makes in her speech. For example:

“I do,” Alice hastily replied, “at leastat least I mean what I saythat’s the same thing, you know.”
“Not the same thing a bit!” said the Hatter. “Why, you might was well say that ‘I see what I eat’ is the same thing as ‘I eat what i see’!”

This is in reference to how Alice says, “I believe I can guess that.” They catch her at any mistake they hear. What does this remind you of? The Cheshire Cat, the Caterpillar… really, all the characters of Wonderland. Although this tea-party is the best example of it. They all seem to be trying to point out that she is in fact mad… or maybe trying to drive her mad. It is a mad world after all.

Here are even more instances as the conversation progresses.

“What a funny watch!” she remarked. “It tells the day of the month, and does’nt tell what o”-clock it is!”
“Why should it?” muttered the Hatter. “Does your watch tell you what year it is?”

“Take some more tea,” the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly.
“I’ve had nothing yet,” Alice replied in an offended tone: “so I ca’n’t take more.”
“You mean you ca’n’t take less,” said the Hatter: “”it’s very easy to take more than something.”

This concept may connect with the party rejecting Alice sitting down. Maybe there is no room for a sane mind, specifically if you talk about the table, overall if you talk about Wonderland. Maybe she is being tested on her sanity, subject to so much madness. On that subject, we can see that she is growing ever more confident in her sanity. Though, she leaves the party after many failed attempts at countering their speculations.

“At any rate I’ll never go there again!” said Alice, as she picked her way through the wood. “It’s the stupidest tea-party I ever was at in all my life!”

Also, this leads into her reentering the hall and defeating the puzzle to enter the small door to the garden. On a side note, I have to reassert my disappointment on the inconsistency of the hall’s presence on a meaningful standpoint, as I have mentioned in the hall entry of mine. Aside from that, it seems that instead of Alice finally getting used to Wonderland enough so that she is able to control it, she is reaffirming her side of reason and able to find her way through any obstacles logically. Maybe this will lead to something.

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