Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Summary
Alice is bored, lazily sitting with her sister on the riverbank when all of a sudden, a white rabbit in a waistcoat rushes by. Alice follows the White Rabbit down a rabbit hole and feels herself falling for quite a long time. When she finally lands, she spots the White Rabbit again, but as she turns the corner, Alice finds herself trapped in a dark hallway. She longs to get out into the garden, but she is much too large. Cautiously, Alice begins drinking a bottle labeled “DRINK ME” and she begins shrinking down to the size of the tiny door. Crying in despair, she realizes she doesn’t have the key and she is much too small to fetch it off the table. Soon, she notices another box with the words “EAT ME”. She finishes off the cake and grows to nine feet tall. Tired of being trapped all alone, Alice bursts into tears leaving a four inch pool of water running halfway down the hall.
Rabbit runs past again, dropping his fan and gloves. Alice picks them up and begins fanning herself, happily realizing that she is shrinking again and swimming in her own tears. Alice floats to shore with the Mouse, Lory, Duck, and Dodo who try to figure out a way to dry off; they run a Caucus-race, a race with no clear beginning and no clear end where everyone wins.
White Rabbit trots towards the group anxiously looking for his fan and gloves. Alice searches for the pair she found earlier, but they are gone, along with the hallway, table, and door. Rabbit confuses Alice for his housemaid and sends her to fetch the items, and without hesitation, Alice runs in the direction he is pointing. Alice easily finds his house and his bedroom with the extra fan and gloves, but her curiosity causes her to taste another mysterious drink. She grows and grows until one arm is sticking out of the window and one leg is poking through the chimney.
White Rabbit arrives at the house with Pat, Bill, and some other animals. They work to get Alice out of the house; they send Bill down the chimney, they threaten to burn down the house, and they throw pebbles in through the windows. The pebbles turn into little cakes and Alice eats one to make her shrink. As soon as Alice is small enough, she rushes out of the door and is chased into the thick woods by all the animals. Alice sets her mind to turn her normal size and to find the beautiful garden, but she is unsure of how to accomplish either task.
Tiny Alice explores the area looking for something that will make her grow. Peeking over the top of a mushroom, she meets the Caterpillar. The Caterpillar tells Alice that one side of the mushroom will make her grow and the other will make her shrink, seeing as the mushroom is perfectly round, Alice is confused. She tests one bite and shrinks even further. She tries a second, and her neck grows higher than the trees. She finally gets the right amount of each and is her normal height. Alice now feels ready to search for the garden when she spots a small little house about four feet high. She decides that she is too tall for this house, so she shrinks herself down again to nine inches tall.
In this house, Alice meets the Cheshire Cat. She talks to him about where she will go next, either left to the Hatter or right to the March Hare - both of them are equally mad. Alice arrives at the large house and is so agitated with the tea party with the Hare and Hatter that she just walks away.
Alice finally enters the beautiful garden and meets several of the soldiers who are painting the white roses with red paint. As she curiously questions why they are doing this, the King and Queen’s procession approaches. The Queen invites Alice to play croquet, which is a very confusing game with live hedgehogs for balls, and flamingos for mallets. Alice never knows when it is her turn and the Queen is constantly yelling, “Off with his head” for any and every mistake.
Alice’s last moments in Wonderland are in the King and Queen’s courtroom. Just as all the cards pounce on her and Alice fights them off, she awakes to her sister, still lying on the bank. Alice’s sister admires Alice’s imagination and even closes her eyes to dream of the wonderful adventures herself.
Essential Questions for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
- How is your imagination a powerful thing?
- Why do you think Alice has difficulty with her identity?
- What challenges does Alice face and how does she overcome them?