Alice is my co-pilot.

If you’re an Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland fan girl with any sense of respect, you have a favorite chapter. You also haven’t watched the Tim Burton version because, frankly, you’re just scared of how the movie’s inaccuracies will shock your delicate Lewis Carroll-loving sensibilities, but that’s neither here nor there. My favorite chapter is called Pig and Pepper, which is sadly absent from the Disney version (though you can see what that scene would have looked like in newer releases of the DVD) (Yes, I realize that liking the Disney rendition and fearing the Johnny Depp one makes no sense. Like I care). Like so many weird girls before me, I understand Alice. I often feel like I’m wandering in a world full of inept people in authoritative positions. I can try and speak their language, but my stabs at rationality tend to end in failure.

I feel like this sense of being a weirdo in a weird land is the most palpable in the Pig and Pepper chapter. Alice has come upon the Duchess and the Cook, who are terrifying, rude and boisterous. There’s tons of pepper floating in the air, not to mention pans and plates flying in every direction. In the midst of the madness, the Duchess is nursing a bawling baby. Alice, fearing for the baby’s well-being, snags the baby and high-tails it out of there, only for the baby to turn into a pig and run away.

Sometimes I’ll go to great lengths to do what I think is right, only for it to be all for nothing. I’ll take a great risk and find that the end product evaporates before my very eyes. Alice doesn’t feel sorry for herself too long. Like Pete the Cat, Alice doesn’t cry. Goodness no! She just keeps on keeping on. Moving forward because there’s no other choice. Someday, when I’m grown-up, I will be as brave and unwavering as Alice.

Let’s delve into the slow-loading world of Tumblr and see what we find.

`You don’t know much,’ said the Duchess; `and that’s a fact.’

[source]

`Oh, please mind what you’re doing!’ cried Alice, jumping up and down in an agony of terror. `Oh, there goes his precious nose’; as an unusually large saucepan flew close by it, and very nearly carried it off.

[source]

“If everybody minded their own business,” the Duchess said, in a hoarse growl, “the world would go around a deal faster than it does.”

[source]

So she set the little creature down, and felt quite relieved to see it trot away quietly into the wood. `If it had grown up,’ she said to herself, `it would have made a dreadfully ugly child: but it makes rather a handsome pig, I think.’ And she began thinking over other children she knew, who might do very well as pigs, and was just saying to herself, `if one only knew the right way to change them–‘

Alice was just beginning to think to herself, `Now, what am I to do with this creature when I get it home?’ when it grunted again, so violently, that she looked down into its face in some alarm. This time there could be NO mistake about it: it was neither more nor less than a pig, and she felt that it would be quite absurd for her to carry it further.

Speak roughly to your little boy,
And beat him when he sneezes:
He only does it to annoy,
Because he knows it teases.’
CHORUS.
(In which the cook and the baby joined):–
`Wow! wow! wow!’
While the Duchess sang the second verse of the song, she kept tossing the baby violently up and down…

`Please would you tell me,’ said Alice, a little timidly, for she was not quite sure whether it was good manners for her to speak first, `why your cat grins like that?’
`It’s a Cheshire cat,’ said the Duchess, `and that’s why. Pig!’

`If you’re going to turn into a pig, my dear,’ said Alice, seriously, `I’ll have nothing more to do with you. Mind now!’ The poor little thing sobbed again (or grunted, it was impossible to say which), and they went on for some while in silence.

“I speak severely to my boy,
I beat him when he sneezes;
For he can thoroughly enjoy
The pepper when he pleases!”

Alice caught the baby with some difficulty, as it was a queer-shaped little creature, and held out its arms and legs in all directions, ‘just like a star-fish,’ thought Alice. The poor little thing was snorting like a steam-engine when she caught it, and kept doubling itself up and straightening itself out again, so that altogether, for the first minute or two, it was as much as she could do to hold it.

No pig and pepper in here, but I highly suggest watching it. I’ve seen it dozens of times, and it always makes me happy. It’s just smile-making.

OMGosh, check it out:

“By-the-bye, what became of the baby?” said the Cat. “I’d nearly forgotten to ask.”

“It turned into a pig,” Alice quietly said, just as if it had come back in a natural way.

“I thought it would,” said the Cat, and vanished again.

What’s your favorite part of Alice?

~Love and Libraries, Ingrid

About magpielibrarian

Youth Services Librarian, Mediocre Crafter, Urban Magpie, Glitter Addict, and Worshiper of Ridiculous Outfits, Emerging Leader 2012, Former Rainbow Book List Member, and GLBT RT Director-at-Large! This is what a librarian looks like, kids.

2 responses »

  1. steph says:

    Yes! I love this chapter too. ‘More Pepper!’

    And I was fool enough to watch the new Alice in Wonderland (I have an unflagging devotion to Tim Burton even though I shouldn’t). You are right to avoid it! Even Stephen Fry’s voice failed to give it any charm.

    • I got very nervous with the adverts for the Tim Burton one. Once I saw the Red Queen holding the pig, I started having tiny panic attacks. Oh, Tim Burton. Magician of my youth. You’re starting to worry me.

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