Table of Contents | Message Board | Downloadable/Printable Version
CHAPTER SUMMARY WITH NOTES
CHAPTER 1 - DOWN THE RABBIT-HOLE
Tired of sitting with her sister at the bank of a river, having nothing to do, Alice decides to make a daisy chain since it would involve getting up and picking up daisies. It is at this time that she spots a dear old rabbit with pink eyes dart across the grass. What intrigues her greatly is the manner in which the rabbit takes out a watch from his pocket and loudly complains of being late.
Burning with curiosity Alice follows the Rabbit down the rabbit hole and after a long journey down the rabbit hole reaches the bottom. There she finds herself in a long passage at the end of which is a long and low hall. It is here that she spots a bottle labeled "Orange Marmalade". On exploring the room, she spots a table on which there is a golden key that fits into a door behind a curtain. Alice discovers that there lies a beautiful garden behind the curtain. However, she is unable to go on to the other side since the door is just as small as a rat hole. Her desire to get to the other side is manifested in her desire to "shut up like a telescope".
It is then that she discovers a small bottle labeled "Drink Me", on the table. She makes sure that there is no label of "poison" on the bottle and then goes on to drink from it. And indeed, on drinking from the bottle she realizes that she has started to shrink. She is now able to get through the door. However, her troubles are not over, since she discovers that she is now unable to reach the top of the table on which she had placed the key to the door. Alice now discovers a small cake with the words "eat me" written on them. By now her experiences have taught her that eating and drinking of anything in this wonderland results in a change in the size of the person. She thus dares to eat the piece of cake.
This chapter unfolds to the reader (both children as well as adults) the kind of experiences that are in store for Alice. Through the narrative there is the line of logic that the author falls back on. It is in the narrative that we notice the appeal that the book has to the readers (for children as well as adults).
While the children are attracted towards the ‘magic’ and the adventure of Alice, the adults are astounded by the kind of events and the manner in which the events are developed. Moreover, what is interesting is the thought process of children that is clearly worked out through the central character (Alice). Carroll seems to state that children are at many times, more logical than adults.
Alice’s entry into wonderland and the innocence and reasoning with which she handles all that she encounters at the bottom of the rabbit hole are commendable. The notion of "growing up" is clearly projected in the manner in which Carroll talks about the manner in which Alice grows tall and becomes short. It is exemplified in the manner in which she rationalizes by the end (as seen at the end of the chapter):
I will eat it, and if it makes me grow larger, I can reach the key; and if it makes me grow smaller, I can creep under the door; so either way I will get into the garden, and I do not care which happens.