Chapter 2: The Pool of Tears Notes from Alice in Wonderland

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Alice in Wonderland Chapter 2: The Pool of Tears

But then Alice starts growing larger and larger. When she begins to open out like a telescope, she exclaims, "'Curiouser and curiouser!'" and says goodbye to her feet. Chapter 2, pg. 7 As she considers what might be the best way to communicate with her feet when they are so far off, she realizes she is talking nonsense. Not until she is nine feet tall does she take the key off the table and go to the door. Now, of course, she is much too large to fit through. She starts sobbing in frustration, and she cries such large tears for so long that she is surrounded by a pool of tears a few inches deep.

Topic Tracking: Meaning 1

At this point, the White Rabbit comes running back down the hall. He is dressed elegantly and carries a pair of white gloves and a fan, and he is still muttering about being late. Alice tries to ask the Rabbit for help, but she startles him so badly that he drops the gloves and the fan and runs away. Alice picks up the fan and begins fanning herself while she tries to figure out why everything is going so strangely for her this day. She wonders if today she is a different person. She asks,

I wonder if I've been changed in the night? Let me think: was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I'm not the same, the next question is 'Who in the world am I?' Ah, that's the great puzzle! Chapter 2, pg. 8

Topic Tracking: Identity 1

In trying to determine who she might be, Alice tests herself to see if she knows all the things she used to know. She tries to recite a multiplication table, but it doesn't come out right, and then she tries to recite a nursery rhyme. This comes out strangely too, as the first of a number of Carroll's verses that parody children's lyrics of the time:

"'How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale! . . .'"
Chapter 2, pg. 9

Topic Tracking: Knowledge 3

Alice decides that she has been turned into someone she doesn't want to be, and that she won't go back above ground if she finds out she's someone particularly disagreeable.

Just as she begins to feel very lonely, she sees that she has unconsciously put on one of the Rabbit's gloves, which is a very strange feat for someone nine feet tall. Alice realizes that she must have shrunk quite a bit and that she's still shrinking. When she realizes that the fan is the cause, she drops it before she shrinks away to nothing. She runs toward the garden, but the door is locked again and the key is still on the glass table. Her situation has not improved, and now she is quite small.

She is so small that she falls into the pool of her own tears, which she first takes for the sea, and is afraid she will drown. She swims past a Mouse and tries to speak to it, but he doesn't answer until she starts talking in French. Unfortunately, Alice speaks the first sentence from her French lesson-book: Ou est ma chatte? (Where is my cat?) The Mouse is quite agitated, and tells her (in English) he doesn't like cats at all. Alice further offends the mouse by telling him how good her cat, Dinah, is at catching mice. When asked to change the subject, Alice beings to talk about a dog. The Mouse, having had enough talk of these animals, starts to swim away from Alice as fast as he can. Alice promises not to talk about cats or dogs, and the Mouse returns and tells her that he will explain why he hates cats and dogs when they get to the shore. Alice swims toward the shore, and she is followed by many animals and birds that had also fallen into the pool of tears.

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