Quotations and Analysis
“It’s a great huge game of chess that’s being played—all over the world—if this is the world at all, you know.”
Alice says this in Chapter 2 as she looks out on a landscape which appears to be a large chess board. She deduces that Looking-Glass World is like a great chess game, much like her own world. Again, the game of chess plays a central part in the story.
The novel suggests that life does follow an underlying order much like the game of chess, but in fact this order can come undone. What is more, we are not active participants in this world. It may be that we are mere pawns to be moved around by the caprice of others.
“Of all the strange things that Alice saw in her journey Through The Looking Glass, this was the one that she always remembered most clearly. Years afterward she could bring the whole scene back again, as if it had been yesterday—the mild blue eyes and kindly smile of the Knight—the setting sun gleaming through his hair, and shining on his armour in a blaze of light that quite dazzled her—the horse quietly moving about, with the reins hanging loose on his neck, cropping the grass at her feet—and the black shadows of the forest behind—all this she took in like a picture, as, watching the strange pair, and listening, in a half dream, to the melancholy music of the song.”
Coming in Chapter 8, this is the longest sentence in the book. It stands out because the vivid imagery of this passage is nearly photographic in its detail. This alludes to Carroll’s own hobby as a photographer. What is more, the description of the White Knight makes him stand out against every other character in the story.
While the other characters treat Alice with contempt and are rude to her, the White Knight is kind and helpful. He is the truly kind soul who Alice will remember long after he adventures are over. It is as if Lewis Carroll inserted himself and his own feelings for Alice Liddell into the story. Carroll creates his own counterpart to vicariously be close to Alice and be her champion.
“Do you hear the snow against the window-panes, Kitty? How nice and soft it sounds! Just as if someone was kissing the window all over outside. I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.” And when they wake up in the summer, Kitty, they dress themselves all in green, and dance about — whenever the wind blows — oh, that’s very pretty!…And I do so wish it was true! I’m sure the woods look sleepy in the autumn, when the leaves are getting brown.”
This comes on page 126 as Alice anthropomorphizes the seasons. She attributes a life and a consciousness to nature as it is manifest against her window. In this way, the metaphor operates as a mirror to both the looking-glass and the strange human attributes taken on by the characters in Looking-Glass World. Alice shows us that she wants more of the world than what can be seen by the eye. She wants magic and adventure. In this way, we learn about the type of heroine she will be as she experiences her adventures in Looking-Glass World.
“At the next peg the Queen turned again, and this time she said “Speak in French when you can’t think of the English for a thing–turn out your toes as you walk–and remember who you are!”
Spoken by the Red Queen on page 147, these lines reveal the dominating personality of the Red Queen and just how unreasonable she can be. She attempts to regulate absolutely everything. From the way Alice holds her body to the language she speaks. The Red Queen is the very image of unreasonable. In many ways, she is the embodiment of the demanding and often cruelly unreasonable adult world. She, and the adult world, take little interest in Alice as a person. The Red Queen sees everything as a subject to fall under her tyrannical command.