Reading of Wonderland: Chapter One (summary and analysis)

Reading. Writing. Literature History.

Okay, so I am back with more summaries and analyses of some classic literature. In this case, I am going to read and analyze Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll over the course of the next few weeks (probably months). Look at this like a journey into Wonderland where you and I adventure the strange environs and meet the local weirdos together.

I think you will have a great time!

Chapter One Summary: Down the Rabbit Hole

We meet our protagonist Alice on a riverbank reading when she suddenly spots a white rabbit who is seemingly late for a very important meeting. She gives chase, having become bored reading and waiting on her sister. Alice follows the rabbit to a rabbit hole and enters it willingly, falling into the darkness and becoming trapped in Wonderland.

She was close behind it when she turned the corner, but the Rabbit was no longer to be seen: she found herself in a long, low hall, which was lit up by a row of lamps hanging from the roof. There were doors all round the hall, but they were all locked; and when Alice had been all the way down one side and up the other, trying every door, she walked sadly down the middle, wondering how she was ever to get out again.

(Lewis Carroll | Alice in Wonderland)

Her first series of obstacles involve a table, a little door, some cake, and a potion—all of which play with the idea of her size and dimensions. While the potion she drinks makes her become small (too small, in fact, to reach the table and the key), the cake doesn’t do anything. Thus, lost and left with no solutions, Alice finishes the cake.


The first chapters establish two of the characters and the setting quite well. Dorothy is impatient and curious, while the rabbit is a worrisome tardier. Additionally, the fantastical setting begins to rear its head, as tiny doors, potions, and strange riddles and tricks are abound as soon as Alice begins her journey. No doubt, she will run into stranger things before her journey is over.