alice in wonderland (1865)


the story
Alice is bored sitting on the riverbank with her sister, when she notices a talking, clothed White Rabbit with a pocket watch run past. She follows it down a rabbit hole and falls into a curious hall with many locked doors of all sizes. Thrugh a hole, she sees a beautiful garden, but the door is too small. She finds a bottle labelled “DRINK ME”. She drinks and becomes too small to reach a key to enter the door. A cake with “EAT ME” on it causes her to grow too much. The Alice cries and her tears flood the hallway. She swims and meets a Mouse with whom she tries to talk: but all she can think of talking about is her cat, which offends the mouse. The sea of tears becomes crowded with other animals and birds swimming. They get on the bank and start thinking how to get dry again. After listening to the mouse’s lecture on William the Conqueror, a Dodo decides to perform a Caucus-Race: everyone runs in a circle with no clear winner. Alice frightens all the animals away, by talking about her cat. The White Rabbit appears again in search of the Duchess’s gloves and fan. Mistaking her for his maidservant, Mary Ann, he orders Alice to go into the house and take them, but once she gets inside she starts growing. The horrified Rabbit orders his gardener, Bill the Lizard, to climb on the roof and go down the chimney. Outside, Alice hears the voices of animals looking at her giant arm and throwing at her little stones, which turn into little cakes. Alice eats them, and they reduce her again in size. Alice meets blue Caterpillar sitting on a mushroom and smoking a hookah. She admits her current identity crisis, and her inability to remember a poem. Before crawling away, the caterpillar tells Alice that one side of the mushroom will make her taller and the other side will make her shorter. She breaks off two pieces from the mushroom, but one side causes her neck to grow high into the trees, where a pigeon mistakes her for a serpent. With some effort, Alice brings herself back to her usual height. A Fish-Footman has an invitation for the Duchess of the house, which he delivers to a Frog-Footman. Alice lets herself into the house where the Duchess’s Cook is throwing dishes and making a soup that has too much pepper. Alice, the Duchess and her baby (but not the cook or her grinning Cheshire Cat) sneeze violently. Alice is given the baby by the Duchess and the baby turns into a pig. The Cheshire Cat appears in a tree, directing her to the March Hare’s house. He disappears but his grin remains floating in the air. Alice states that she has often seen a cat without a grin, but never a grin without a cat.
Alice becomes a guest at a “mad” tea party together with the March Hare, the Hatter, and a sleeping Dormouse who remains asleep. They give Alice many riddles and stories, including the famous ‘Why is a raven like a writing desk?’. The Hatter reveals that they have tea all day because time has punished him by eternally standing still at 6 pm (tea time). Alice leaves claiming that it was the stupidest tea party that she had ever been to and enters the garden where three living playing cards are painting the white roses red because the Queen of Hearts hates white roses. Other cards, kings and queens and even the White Rabbit enter the garden. Alice then meets the King and the Queen. The Queen is always saying her trademark phrase “Off with his head!” Alice is ordered to play a game of croquet with the Queen and the rest of her subjects but the game quickly descends into chaos. Live flamingos are used as mallets and hedgehogs as balls and Alice once again meets the Cheshire Cat. The Queen of Hearts then orders the Cat to be beheaded, but the executioner complains because the head is all that can be seen of him. The Duchess is brought to the croquet ground at Alice’s request. Alice is introduced to the Gryphon, who takes her to the Mock Turtle who is very sad without reasons. He tries to tell his story about how he used to be a real turtle in school, which the Gryphon interrupts so they can play a game. The Mock Turtle and the Gryphon dance the Lobster Quadrille, while Alice recites “‘Tis the Voice of the Lobster”. The Mock Turtle sings them “Beautiful Soup” during which the Gryphon pulls Alice away because there is a trial. The trial is for the Knave of Hearts accused of stealing the Queen’s tarts. The jury is composed of various animals, including Bill the Lizard; the White Rabbit is the court’s trumpeter, the King of Hearts is the judge. Meanwhile, Alice finds that she is steadily growing larger. The tells her she has no right to grow so rapidly and to take up all the air. Alice replies everyone grows. Then she is called up as a witness. She accidentally knocks over the jury box with the animals inside them and the King orders the animals be placed back into their seats before the trial continues. The King and Queen order Alice to go away, but Alice refuses to leave and argues with the King and Queen of Hearts over the ridiculous proceedings. The Queen says “Off with her head!”, but Alice is not afraid and calls them out as just a pack of cards: the cards start flying over her. Alice’s sister wakes her up for tea. Alice brushes away some leaves (not a shower of playing cards) and leaves her sister on the bank to imagine all the curious happenings for herself.

Lascia un commento