Alice in Wonderland: Novel Summary: Chapter 12
In her excitement, Alice stands up and knocks over the whole jury box (because she has grown so big). All of the animals tumble out onto their heads. She sets the trial back up and proceeds. All of a sudden Alice seems much more like a girl with her toys, than a character in Wonderland. It is here that the fantasy is starting to break down.
The King asks what Alice knows of this business and Alice replies: Nothing. After some confusion regarding this, the King called out: All Persons more than a mile high to leave the court! Alice stays anyway, and the jury is asked to consider its verdict.
However, the White Rabbit finds more evidence in the form of a letter. The letter was written in verse, and in effect it proved that all of the tarts were right there before the king and that they had not been taken at all. At this point the Queen demands that they sentence the Knave first, then read the verdict, which Alice (who was quite larger by then) thoroughly denounced. This started a fight between Alice and the Queen. Then the whole pack of cards rose up and flew at Alice, who then awoke with her head in her sisters lap, the both of them sitting at the edge of the river, as they had been in the beginning of the book. Then Alice told her sister of the dream she had had.
And this might well be the end of the book. But instead, Carroll pulls the camera back, so to speak, and we see Alice's sister alone on the river's edge thinking of Alice's dream of Wonderland. And Alice's sister imagines how Alice will one day be a woman, and that she will have children and be able to tell those children her tales of Wonderland.
And so, Alice has come full circle. She started out a child, but she has come out of Wonderland now prepared to be an adult. She has learned that to be an adult is to honor rules, but not blindly. That there must be rules for a game to mean something, but the rules must be interpreted with a sense of justice and mercy, or they are as meaningless as no rules at all. More importantly, Alice has learned that to be old, or big, is not necessarily to be an Adult. Sometimes, like the Queen, aging leads to a second childhood filled with either the madness of the Hatter or the Sad Nostalgia of the Mock Turtle. Balance seems to be Lewis Carroll's answer to finding a happy life.
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