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Sane in a Mad World: Analysis of Chapter Twelve

December 3, 2009

“You’re nothing but a pack of cards!”

Chapter twelve was Alice’s final assertion of her confidence in her sanity. She caught the inhabitants of Wonderland in many of their nonsensical words, much like how they previously pointed out “nonsense” in what she says. The tables have turned. Alice knows that Wonderland is mad and proclaims so many times in chapter twelve.

“That’s the most important piece of evidence we’ve heard yet,” said the King, rubbing his hands; “so now let the jury-”
“If any one of them can explain it,” said Alice, … “I don’t believe there’s an atom of meaning in it.”

“Stuff and nonsense!” said Alice loudly. “The idea of having the sentence first!”

What’s ironic is how the King called Alice to the stand, as if she was now a citizen of Wonderland as well. At this point, she was the farthest from their madness as ever. It seems that maybe they had finally accepted her as as mad as them… but this was not the case.

An argument between the King and Alice took up the majority of the chapter, mainly consisting of Alice defending against nonsensical statements.

“Rule Forty-two. All persons more than a mile high to leave the court.”

“No, no!” said the Queen. “Sentence first verdict afterwards.”

The explaining of the letter was especially ridiculous. I’m even surprised Alice didn’t attack that right away, for he took the smallest technicality in every line to mean something at least slightly relevant to the trial. Well, this kind of behavior isn’t exactly irregular in Wonderland.

The end of the chapter began once Alice finally questioned the speaker behind the nonsense rather than trying to fight the actual nonsense, which would probably never cease. The second Alice questioned his validity, the world fell apart. Maybe this was Carroll’s overall theme: staying mad in a mad world. Her dream exploded with a deck of cards flying into the air and her sister shaking her awake. As expected, one can be fairly disappointed at this ending. The action somewhat rose near the end and in the end it just… stopped. What was Carroll thinking? Was there some reason behind his decision to end this story this way?

It is strange, though, how Carroll went on to have her sister sense the presence of Wonderland after it was over. Does Wonderland really exist? If so, how could that possibly be? What was Carroll getting at here in the story?

For Part One Of The Analysis Visit Lindsay’s Blog

For Part Two Of The Analysis View Alex’s Blog

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