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CHAPTER SUMMARY WITH NOTES
CHAPTER 3 - A CAUCUS-RACE AND A LONG TALE
This chapter titled "The Caucus -Race and a Long Tale" relates the efforts on the part of the queer group of birds, animals and Alice to get themselves to dry soon.
The effort begins with the mouse relating a story about "William The Conqueror". This does not help the party in any way and therefore, the ‘dodo’ suggests that the best way to get dry would be a Caucus race. This race required all the members to run in a circular motion. After having run for about half an hour, they discover that they are finally were dry. Alice distributes the comfits and candy in her pocket as prizes and is awarded by the Dodo with her thimble. Eating the ‘comfits’ creates quite a noise and this later is followed by the mouse telling the group of its history. Alice pays particular attention to the mouse’s tail and hardly listens to its tale. The mouse is upset at this kind of disinterest shown by Alice and stops speaking about itself.
A reference to Dinah (Alice’s cat) and her love for birds and mice scares the animals and as usual Alice is left all alone again.
The Caucus-race symbolizes the ways in which the people try to dry themselves from the experiences in the pool of tears. It is coming to terms with the events and perhaps it is helpful if one would go round in ‘circles’. It signifies the ability of an individual to ruminate over experiences and emerge triumphant. However, Carroll seems to assert that there cannot be ‘a’ winner. Everybody is a winner in their own right, since the effort is made by everyone.
The tale as told by the mouse becomes symbolic of how unique each story could be. Alice refers to the ‘tale’ as ‘history’. History takes on a very personal and subjective expression when related. This is highlighted in the way in which Alice listens to the tale. Her idea of the ‘tale’ resembled the ‘tail’ of the mouse. In the process of listening to the ‘history’ Alice becomes so involved with herself and her ‘perception’ of the ‘tale’ that she hardly listens to the rat.
A stage comes when the audience and the ‘history’ become one and there is born a different perception altogether. The mention of ‘Dinah the cat’ upsets the other animals, since the cat becomes the representation of a being that can eliminate their existence. ‘Dinah’ becomes a representation of a ‘world’ that interferes with their world. Therefore, they escape when she is mentioned.