Alice’s Right Foot

November 2, 2009
As Alice grows “like the largest telescope that ever was” she discusses the problems this could create between herself and her feet, but why?


Alice is a very young girl who has having to deal with very unusual circumstances. Discussing seemingly absurd topics, such as how she will ensure that her feet will walk the way she wants them to now that she is so far away from them, could simply be her way of dealing with the situation. She is “so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English” and then starts worrying about how she will put on her socks and shoes. She becomes so ridiculous in her worrying that she ponders how she will send her feet Christmas gifts, finally deciding to send them by carrier with labels similar to
                    NEAR THE FENDER,
                        (WITH ALICE’S LOVE).”
Is all of this ridiculous pondering an attempt by Alice to deal with her situation? Perhaps, but I find it much more likely that he added this whole discussion to make the Liddell girls laugh at Alice’s silliness. But hey, it worked didn’t it. I don’t know about you, but that passage made me chuckle. It is definitely worth reading again for a good laugh, just as I’m sure Carroll intended it to be.


  1. I quite like your intake on Alice’s absurd situations. It is very possible that all of her pondering is a way for her to deal with her situation. After all, children often distract themselves from a situation with irrelevent questions. How else do children cope? You once again remind me that Carroll’s foremost intention was to entertain the Liddel girls. You are not alone, the passage did make me chuckle as well. In fact I often burst into laughter at random times, earning me questioning looks.

  2. Goodness, is seems we always HAVE to come back to the question: should we analyze this story? The answer to this question can also answer your question, and virtually every other question we tenth graders have asked. The seemingly silly things may just be silly in some places (as much as we would hate to admit it, for that means we have no job to do anymore). Alice, being the extremely peculiar child that she is, has such ludicrous conversations with herself at times, that I believe they are added in the story for laughs and inside jokes. I can’t possibly fathom what darker meaning could by lying in the act of sending your feet Christmas gifts. Unless my mind is too unacquainted with evil to find that meaning…

  3. While I’ll let you (and others) come to your own conclusion, I rather like the question you pose:

    “Is all of this ridiculous pondering an attempt by Alice to deal with her situation?”

  4. I think it could be both just a laugh for the girls and a way for his little heroine to cope. I know from experience that as a child,when something odd happens I come up with crazy nonsense ways to handle the situations. It’s much like comic relief. When life is too much to handle, I come up with strange ideas to make life manageable. It makes no difference to me if what I think is logical or not, I just have to have something to cling to that will make things easier. I do agree that it could just be a good laugh as well, I did have to laugh at that part.

  5. I completely agree with your idea that Carroll just wanted to make the girls laugh. I think there are some things in this story that can be interpreted to mean something more than it actually is (weather Carroll intended them to be or not, I don’t know) but I don’t think this is one of them. What could he possibly mean other than to make fun of Alice’s silliness? It’s not like talking about how to send Christmas gifts to your feet is a sign of a drug addiction or something. I do think that her thought processes in situations like these do show the innocence of childhood. But I don’t think there is anything more to it than that.

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