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Dinah, Dinah All the Time

December 1, 2009

During Alice’s adventures, she often talks about her beloved cat, Dinah. Especially in the beginning of the story, Alice “was always ready to talk about her pet.” (pg 35)

Early in the story, Alice is still partially in the “real” world. I believe Dinah, her “real world” cat, serves as a tie to reality for Alice. She first mentions Dinah as she is falling down the rabbit hole. As Alice falls, she is in transition from her world to Wonderland, saying, “Dinah’ll miss me very much to-night, I should think!” (pg 14) She then begins the first of her many nonsensical ramblings. This particular rambling features her beloved Dinah, as Alice ponders whether cats eat bats, or was it bats eating cats? Alice ponders this conundrum as she leaves her world behind.

Alice next speaks of Dinah to the Mouse, but she still not in Wonderland. She is in the hallway, what I call the ” in-between place” in Portals and Doorways. Alice’s praise of Dinah’s mice catching abilities soon scares the Mouse away, and Alice  has to coax the Mouse back. When the Mouse returns, she promises to tell Alice why she dislikes cats as soon as they reach dry land. When Alice and all the other animals reach the shore, the Mouse finally tells them her “tail”. However, Alice did not pay attention, so the indignant Mouse walks off. Alice wishes out loud that Dinah was there, because Dinah is such a good mouse catcher and would soon bring the Mouse back. The curious birds ask Alice who Dinah is, and Alice foolishly tells them, “And oh, I wish you could see her after the birds! Why, she’ll eat a little bird as soon as look at it!” (pg 35) This scares the birds away (for obvious reasons), and Alice is left alone.

Now, Alice looks about herself and realizes that the hall has disappeared. She is now in Wonderland. Alice mentions Dinah only once in Wonderland; when she is trapped in the Rabbit’s house. She has learned from her past mistakes and realizes that people become scared when she mentions Dinah. She therefore threatens to set Dinah on the Rabbit if he burns down the house. This works, and the Rabbit does not burn the house, but it is the last time Alice mentions Dinah in Wonderland.

As Alice loses herself in Wonderland, she moves farther away from the “real world” As this happens, and the story progresses, Alice stops talking about Dinah, her tie to the “real world”.

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2 comments

  1. Dinah is the one link that Alice has to the real world in the earlier chapters and she does forget about sweet Dinah. But why does she forget the cat she loves and mentions on different occasions? The wonder of Wonderland can consume the mind of any child, and since Dinah was not physically there, Alice payed more attention to the ‘physical’ Wonderland because it was there around her. Alice was losing reality because reality had left her at the rabbit hole and that insanity had weclomed her. This may be why Dinah has been forgotten in the later chapters. I do agree that Dinah was Alice’s tie to the real world, but Alice’s mind became consumed by the fantasy of Wonderland.
    By-the-by, I love the picture of Dinah!


  2. That’s a good point. Dinah is the only thing she continuously mentioned. There were other girls she named but she never talked of them like she did Dinah. I agree, her cat was a tie to the real world. As life in Wonderland went on she forgot about Dinah and she also realized bringing her up in conversation did not help her much. This slow separation between herself and Dinah kept her going on the path of losing who the “real world” Alice was.



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