Alice in Wonderland Summary

The heroine of the book, a seven year old girl named Alice, begins her journey to the Land of Wonders unexpectedly for herself. The story begins when Alice, sleepy because of the summer heat and idleness, notices something unusual. She sees a rabbit, which itself is not surprising, but this rabbit owns a pocket watch and is in a great hurry. Curious, Alice follows the rabbit to the rabbit hole and enters it. But the hole appears to be a deep vertical tunnel, where Alice slowly falls through the earth. The walls of the tunnel are covered with strange things such as shelves with marmalade jars.

Alice lands safely in a large room. The rabbit has disappeared. There are many doors around, a table in the middle of the room and a golden key on this table. The girl manages to open the smallest door with that key. The passage leads to a beautiful garden but Alice is too big to get there. Alice is upset but then she notices the bottle with the label “Drink me”. After brief hesitation she decides that she may try and drink, but the potion makes Alice shrink to the size of a mouse. Frightened, the girl looks around and finds a pie with the label “Eat me”. She bites a pie and grows so tall that she isn’t able to see her legs anymore. Alice starts to doubt that she is herself. She tries to recite poems she knows, but they sound not right. Alice decides that she is another girl now and starts crying. She is so big that her tears make an entire sea. Alice uses the fan she picked up and it makes her shrink again to almost drown in her own tears. The girl sees the Mice swimming nearby and tries to start a polite conversation, but makes a mistake mentioning cats and her pet cat in particular. Offended, Mouse swims away.

The sea of tears becomes crowded with other animals and birds who were washed into it by rising water. They finally reach the bench and start thinking how to get dry again, proposing some strange ideas. Alice starts talking about her cat once more and scares everyone away again.

Meanwhile, the Rabbit appears. He forgot Duchess’ fan and gloves at home and is afraid that she will be furious. Mistaking Alice for his maid Mary Ann he orders her to return to his home and bring the things to him. Alice, still thinking she is another girl, perhaps Mary Ann, obeys and enters the Rabbit’s house. But while she searches for gloves and fan, the girl attempts to drink another potion, starts growing again and gets stuck in the house. The horrified Rabbit orders his gardener, Bill the Lizard, to get to the chimney and light it to get rid of a giant girl. Luckily for Alice the crowd around the house starts throwing pebble in her. The pebble turns into pies, eating which the girl shrinks yet again, even smaller than before, and escapes the house.

Wandering the Wonderland, Alice meets the Caterpillar sitting on a mushroom and smoking hookah. The Caterpillar starts asking the girl about her troubles and Alice says that she isn’t sure in herself anymore because of her changing size. Before crawling away the Caterpillar says that one side of the mushroom will make her smaller and the other will enlarge her. After some experiments with biting both sides, Alice regains her original height and goes to the house nearby.

She sees that near the house one footman, shaped like a fish, gives an invitation to another footman, a frog. The invitation is sent by Queen to the Duchess and it’s to croquet play. Alice tries to talk to Frog-Footman but his answers are just more and more puzzling. So she simply enters the house and sees the Duchess in the kitchen. The kitchen is filled with smoke and there is so much grinded pepper in the air that Alice almost can’t breathe. The cook is cooking something very spicy and the Duchess is sitting next to him holding a crying baby in her arms. Behind them, there is a strange cat with a big grin. Surprised by Alice, the Duchess briefly explains that the cat is smiling because he is a Cheshire Cat, adding that in fact all cats know how to smile. Then the Duchess begins to sing a creepy sounding lullaby to the baby and throws the baby to Alice. Alice exits the house and finally stops sneezing. She unwraps baby’s clothes to see that there is no baby inside, just a cute little piglet. Alice lets the piglet go.

The Cheshire cat reappears on the tree, starting from his grin. Alice asks him what she shall do next and they have a meaningful conversation. Cat explains that if Alice doesn’t care where she wants to go she may choose any road she likes. He says that this country is all strange to the roots, so Alice shouldn’t expect much logic there.

Alice chooses the road and comes to the strange tea party where Hatter, March Hare and Dormouse are having tea. They play riddles with Alice including the famous one “Why is raven like a writing desk?” and tell her that they have to drink tea forever because Time punished them by standing still at the tea time. Alice soon gets bored and offended and leaves the place calling it the stupidest tea party she ever attended.

The next location Alice comes too is the royal garden where panicking gardeners who look like playing cards paint white roses red. They say that the Queen of Hearts demanded to grow red roses but the flowers appear to be white and they need to fix it before the Queen beheads them. Soon the Queen herself enters the garden with King of Hearts and other lesser playing cards. The White Rabbit is with them too. Alice is invited (or ordered - the Queen of Hearts isn’t the nicest person in the country) to join the party. Real flamingos are used as mallets and real hedgehogs as balls. Despite the danger to be beheaded after the Queen’s trademark phrase “Off with his head!” Alice isn’t afraid because she decides they all are just playing cards.

At the party, she meets the Cheshire Cat again. The Queen orders to behead the Cat, but he disappears leaving only a grin floating in the air, so the cards are unable to execute him. The Queen decides to release the Duchess (who was imprisoned before for displeasing the Queen) to have her settle the case, because the Cat is considered hers.

The Duchess is brought to the party again and tries to find morals in everything around. She is promptly dismissed from the party by the Queen. Then the Duchess shows Alice the Mock Turtle and the Griffin. The Mock Turtle is very sad and tries to tell his story, but Griffin interrupts, suggesting them all to play a game. The Griffin and Turtle dance the “Lobster Quadrille” and sing a song “A Beautiful Soup”, but the Griffin drags Alice back to the Queen before the Turtle finishes.

The Queen of Hearts now is present on another trial. The King is the judge, the Rabbit is a trumpeter and almost every other character also attends the court. The case is stealing Queen’s tarts by the Knave of Hearts. During the proceeding Alice finds herself growing larger again. The Dormouse scolds her for inappropriate behaviour in the court, but Alice rejects the accusations saying that everyone grows up eventually. Alice keeps arguing with Queen and King refusing to leave the court and objecting the entire trial procedure. The short-tempered Queen of Hearts orders to behead Alice also, but the girl says that they are all just a pack of cards and wakes up.

It appears that Alice has fallen asleep near her sister and what she thought were cards are just some dried leaves falling on her face. The sister goes away, leaving Alice to curiously think if it was all a dream.