Dinah, Dinah All the TimeDecember 1, 2009
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”.