Three fourths of the way through the book now! I hope you’re enjoying reading it as much as I am. Shall we just dive right in to the past week’s reading?
We’ve finally found the Mad Hatter and March Hare in chapter seven. (And don’t forget sleepy little Dormouse.) As Alice invites herself to the tea party, we’re plopped into the middle of chaos. The hosts and guest quibble over propriety and manners, but through all of that we learn why there is a continual tea party going on. I was disappointed to find that it wasn’t an Unbirthday party. I love Unbirthdays. In fact today is MY Unbirthday! But apparently Hatter has been punished by Time. Not some abstract time like we know it, but a person. Hatter’s stuck at 6 o’clock forever and ever. Since this is tea time, he’s always going to be having tea. And now I understand the watch being two days slow. Since it’s always 6 o’clock, he no longer has hours to contend with so his watch only tells the days. I loved the playfulness of language in this chapter. Favorite line: Alice says, “I don’t think—” and Hatter responds, “Then you shouldn’t talk!” (Does everyone else hear Ed Wynn while reading Hatter’s lines?) That’s the last straw for Alice, and she leaves in a huff. As Alice leaves the party, she finds herself back in the long hallway where she began. This time though, she’s learned how to manage and doesn’t panic. She remembers to get the key and unlock the door before she nibbles away on the mushroom. She seems to be starting to get the hang of how Wonderland works.
In chapter seven, Alice finally makes it into the garden where she wanted to go so badly. She thought it would be something fabulous, but it turns out to be just as frustrating to her as the rest of Wonderland. Alice meets the royal court and begins her croquet game but finds all the rules to be nonsense and unenforced. Her frustration is growing, and here’s where you see the first bit of Alice deciding she’s had enough of the craziness. She doesn’t bow when the processional goes by, realizes that the royalty are only playing cards and nothing to be afraid of, talks back to the Queen of Hearts, and is even consulted for her opinion in how to behead Cheshire-cat. Alice is growing braver, but she still tries to follow the rules given by the Queen. She’s not quite ready to completely stand up to her.
After the Queen of Hearts orders everyone’s beheading and there’s no one left to play croquet, she sends Alice off with a Gryphon to meet the Mock Turtle. Mock Turtle is a crier. Apparently he does this for his own amusement and not for any real reason. I love his story about the school he attended. My favorite classes were the branches of Arithmetic – Ambition, Distraction, Uglification, and Derision. If you’ve gotten to know me at all, you know that I majored in math, and it’s my favorite subject. It made me laugh when you compare his versions to the real branches of Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division. I’m making a little poster of those branches and hanging it in my classroom! And again Carroll uses a play on words from the Gryphon, “That’s the reason they’re called lessons, because they lessen from day to day.” His use of language has really made this an amusing book to read. There are several layers of meaning within the words he chooses and both adults and children can enjoy it!
We’re heading into the final three chapters of the book and I would love to have a chat with everyone to wrap it all up! I have set up a tiny chat room for us to use and would love for you to join me Thursday March 31 at 5:30 p.m. PST (8:30 p.m. EST) here. It’s easy to join the chat, and you can do so with a web cam or just by chatting/typing within the feed. I will also send out a link through Twitter for those following me there. I’m excited to hear your thoughts on this book, so please be there!
Reading for week four: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Chapters 10-12 (the end!)
Things to ponder:
- Why IS a raven like a writing desk?
- What commentary is Carroll making about the Victorian government through the King and Queen of Hearts and their court?
- Does everything have a moral to it as the Duchess states?
Contributed by: Lynnette Johnson (NDM#271) Lynnette is the DDL Book of the Month Blogger.