Alice in Wonderland: Novel Summary: Chapter 7
Alice approaches a tea party which consists of a Mad Hatter, a March Hare and a sleeping Doormouse. The whole party is rude to her, but she chooses to join them anyway and begins to engage them in conversation.
The conversation, in someway, concerns riddles with no answers, but in general consists of a series of wordplays about points of logic. The heart of the matter is that the group is living in a nonsense world and at the end of the chapter, Alice has the good sense to get up and leave.
This chapter is basically an endcap to the lunacy of the preceding books. She is at a mad tea-party with mad animals and a mad hatter where time has stopped and riddles have no answer. The whole thing is a sort of sum up of the craziness of Alice's previous interactions, where meaning has degenerated to a final point of meaninglessness. So Alice leaves, having learned a bit on her journey about being an adult and growing up. She goes through a doorway placed conveniently in a tree and finds herself back in the small hallway with the glass table that she had started out in. Alice has come full circle. Now it will be a question of whether or not Alice can apply what she has learned. Can she be polite? And does she know when being polite ceases to be of any point? That is, will she be able to figure out at what point she should stop being polite and act to prevent things from getting out of hand? Can she both tolerate adulthood, and live up to the responsibility of being grown up?
She makes a good first step. She finds the key on the table and, using good sense and her magic mushroom, she shrinks down to an appropriate size to open the door and enter the garden. She has, at least, learned enough to get what she has wanted all along. Now, does she deserve it?