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Alice in Wonderland Quotes

31st May 2020

Black and white illustration of Alice in Wonderland at the Mad Hatter Tea Party

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll was written in 1865, some 152 years ago and yet still remains a classic children's tale. Today, quotes from the book are almost as famous as the tale itself. Ordinarily, I squirm a little when people recommend 'classic' books instead of some of the brilliant contemporary books available to children. Not that I think that classic books don't deserve reading, just that sometimes we default to them, simply because we have no knowledge of more recently published titles. But Alice in Wonderland (and its sequel, Alice through the Looking Glass) has been enjoyed by generation after generation, and deservedly so. They are gripping, witty and thoughtful books and the quotes are worth pondering over. 

When Alice falls down the rabbit hole, she finds herself in Wonderland where she embarks upon the most bizarre adventure, encountering many outlandish creatures as she goes. Some of the best-known characters include the White Rabbit with his pocket watch, the grinning Cheshire Cat, the Caterpillar and his hookah, the Mad Hatter and the March Hare at their tea party and of course the terrifying despot the Queen of Hearts screeching “Off with their Heads!”. These whimsical characters, amongst many others, make Alice’s journey into a world of nonsense completely spellbinding.

Books and quotations are always open to interpretation and scholars will continue to argue over what Lewis Carroll really intended in his bestseller for many years to come. But here is our point of view on a couple of the most renowned lines from Alice in Wonderland and its sequel Alice Through the Looking Glass

“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.” “How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice. “You must be,” said the Cat, or you wouldn’t have come here.”

Alice and The Cheshire Cat, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

The Cheshire Cat’s comment that “we’re all mad here” is intriguing. It certainly seems that madness is simply a fact of life in Wonderland, where guards paint white roses red and people use flamingos as croquet mallets. The Cheshire Cat is reminding us that we often rationalise the things we do, making excuses for wild behaviour to make it sound normal. But no matter what excuses we make, a lot of what we do is just mad! And anyway, if you want to be in an adventure, maybe you need to be a little bit crazy and be willing to follow a talking rabbit down a rabbit hole, just like Alice.

“Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” 

The White Queen, Alice Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll

This is one of the most popular quotes from Lewis Carroll’s books. What does it mean? Well, there are many complicated theories but the one we like best is that Carroll wants to convey a valuable lesson – imagination is essential. Only through believing in the impossible, can people innovate - so dream the impossible and achieve the unbelievable!

And the meaning of the book itself? On one level Alice in Wonderland should just be enjoyed as the story of a girl falling down a rabbit hole to a fantastical world full of crazy adventures. However, lots of people think it is also about the challenge of growing up and knowing yourself, Alice is constantly pondering the question “who am I?”. She learns a lot in the story about the madness of authority and the lack of logic in the world and in the end realises that the wayward characters in Wonderland are “nothing but a pack of cards”. Having come to this realisation, she can wake up and join the land of adults.

Whether the book is one more big riddle set for us by mathematician and author Lewis Carroll or just joyful nonsense – I say it doesn’t matter. The story is fuel for imaginations and has inspired generations of children and adults, shown by the many films, Disney spin off, stage plays, songs etc.

Here is our list of some of our other favourite quotes and Alice in Wonderland books (And if you love literary quotes, check out our Peter Pan Quotes and Harry Potter Quotes too!)

1. “It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.” 

Alice, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

2. “Who in the world am I? Ah, that's the great puzzle.” 

Alice, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

3. “If everybody minded their own business, the world would go around a great deal faster than it does.” 

The Duchess, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

4. “Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” 

The White Queen, Alice Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll

5. “I don't think..." then you shouldn't talk, said the Hatter.

Alice and the Mad Hatter, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

6. “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?" "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to." "I don't much care where –" "Then it doesn't matter which way you go.” 

Alice and The Cheshire Cat, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

7. “Begin at the beginning”, the King said gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”

The King, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

8. “Curiouser and curiouser!” 

Alice, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

9. “Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.” “How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice. “You must be,” said the Cat, or you wouldn’t have come here.”

Alice and The Cheshire Cat, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

10. “And what is the use of a book,” thought Alice, “without pictures or conversations?” 

Alice, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

11. “Then you should say what you mean,” the March Hare went on. “I do,” Alice hastily replied; “at least — at least I mean what I say — that's the same thing, you know.” “Not the same thing a bit!” said the Hatter. “You might just as well say that "I see what I eat" is the same thing as "I eat what I see"!”

The March Hare, the Hatter and Alice, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

12. “Who cares for you?” said Alice, (she had grown to her full size by this time.) “You're nothing but a pack of cards!”

Alice, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

13. “Off with her head!”

The Queen of Hearts, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

14. “Well! I’ve often seen a cat without a grin,” thought Alice; “but a grin without a cat! It’s the most curious thing I ever saw in all my life!” 

Alice about the Cheshire Cat,  Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

15. “The Duchess! The Duchess! Oh my dear paws! Oh my fur and whiskers! She’ll get me executed, as sure as ferrets are ferrets!” 

The White Rabbit, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

16. “Well, in our country," said Alice, still panting a little, "you'd generally get to somewhere else—if you ran very fast for a long time, as we've been doing."

"A slow sort of country!" said the Queen, "Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"

Alice to the Red Queen, Alice Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll

17. “You know you say things are “much of a muchness” — did you ever see such a thing as a drawing of a muchness?’

The Dormouse, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

18.She generally gave herself very good advice (though she very seldom followed it),”

About Alice, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

19. “Contrariwise,” continued Tweedledee, “if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic.”

Tweedledee to Alice, Alice Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll

20. “Who are you?” said the Caterpillar.

This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, “I—I hardly know, Sir, just at present—at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.”

“What do you mean by that?” said the Caterpillar, sternly. “Explain yourself!”

“I can’t explain myself, I’m afraid, Sir,” said Alice, “because I am not myself, you see.” 

The Caterpillar and Alice, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

21. “Everything’s got a moral, if only you can find it.”

The Duchess, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Alice in Wonderland Quotes

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