“In that direction,” the Cat said, waving its right paw round, “lives a Hatter: and in that direction,” waving the other paw, “lives a March Hare. Visit either you like: they’re both mad.”
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
Somehow I never read this as a kid. I saw the movie, enough times to have its songs playing in my head as I read this (“We’re painting the roses red / painting the roses redddddd”), but I never went near the book, for some reason. But…now I have done, because I didn’t realize how short it is. I probably should have checked before adding it to the Classics Club list! Per the rules, I have to have a review of sorts for it, though I don’t know what there is to say given that most everyone knows the story. We open on a little girl named Alice who’s bored of her sister reading a book without any pictures or conversation, who ‘wonders’ away and spots a rabbit with a pocketwatch and gives chase to it, leading to her falling down a hole into a place filled with argumentative animals who absolutely adore talking nonsense. I’m told that there are many allusions in the text that a modern audience misses completely, Victorian references that we’re blind to; one allusion that I’ve heard over the years is that the scene of roses being painted was a reference to the War of the Roses, with the Queen of Hearts being one of those wicked Lancastrians instead of a Tudor. The entire story is a stream of absurdities, between the enigmatic dialogue and the actual goings-on. No wonder it inspired a song about drug trips. I suspect that the story made its way into the Classics Club Strikes Back list because of this pioneering (and trippy) music video made by Pogo: