The Theme of Eating in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1397 Words
Date:  2022-12-17


As Alice was growing up in the Wonderland she began to experience several physical changes and given the unpredictable life in the Wonderland, some mysterious cakes provided with an opportunity to grow and shrink, but she has failed to meet the size she aspires to have. She has edible pebbles to thank as she finally grows in the White Rabbit's house where she ultimately got stuck after growing too much. Right from the introductory part of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, food and drinking take the central role. Alice falls in the well as she tracks the fleeing white rabbit into the rabbit hole (Blom 260). Even as she stumbles into the well, she still makes an effort to get hold of a jar which carries orange marmalade, but she becomes upset upon learning that the pot is empty. Alice's mind is predominantly preoccupied with whether Dinah the cat will be served with the saucer of milk at tea-time. The Mad Hatter's tea party is the most famous meal of Alice's Adventures, and it comes across as impulsive chaos where everybody argues and shift places, telling pointless riddles, a dozing dormouse among other ridiculousness.

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Children in both the middle and elite class seldom share a table with their seniors, and the nursery tea was the most critical meal in their knowledge. This important meal in the eyes of children is often overseen by adults who could either be their mother or nanny paid to take care of them. In the presence of their mother, a decision on what and when to eat is solely made by her In the Mad Hatter's Tea Party, there are all sorts of chaos (Blom 260). The Dormouse is napping at the table, and March Hare and the Mad Hatter are resting their elbows, which is strictly forbidden, on him. Also, the guests who should sit in an orderly manner are all crowded in a corner. Of extreme importance was one's positioning around the table. While taking a meal, people should not shout but chew silently. Contrarily, the Hatter and the Hare are shouting while at the table (Blom 268).

Alice on her arrival sits down despite not being invited. Alice is told there is no space for her, but she sits nevertheless. She is then offered wine by the March Hare, but none is remaining. This infuriates Alice, and he describes the March Hare's conduct and uncivil, but the March Hare fired back a rejoinder that it was uncivil of her to go ahead and sit down uninvited. It is at this point that the Mad Hatter enters the conversation by opining that Alice's hair 'wants cutting'. Alice reprimands him on his rudeness, but he ignores her and proceeds to respond to the riddle. When Dormouse is pinched on both sides at once to wake up, he opens his eyes slowly and says he was not asleep and remarks that he heard every word they were saying (Blom 264). When Dormouse is urged to tell a story, he starts in a hurry and Alice who has and major interest in asking questions around eating and drinking. The Dormouse after a brief thought tells her that Elsie, Lacie and Tillie lived on treacle. When changing places where the March Hare took the Dormouse's place and Alice took the March Hare place albeit unwillingly, it was the Mad Hatter who got a better deal while Alice got a deal worse off than before as the March Hare did upset the milk-jug into his plate.

It is discovered that the Mad Hatter's watch is dipping in his tea under threat is the Victorian society's fabric. The Mad Hatter blames the March Hare for putting crumbs on his watch when the March Hare was spreading butter. The March Hare then dipped the watch inside his tea and made a dejected remark. There is an absolute mess as cups and plates which are dirty are left unwashed. Spoon which ordinarily should be used to eat is used to point with, and the jug was carrying milk is knocked over. In addition to all the chaos in the party, there is a lot of shouting, singing and all sorts of commotion (Blom 262). Conventionally, pouring hot tea on another's nose attracts a punishment where the child in question is sent to bed without taking another bite. The March Hare, Dormouse, who is the youngest and sleepy, and the Mad Hatter all behave like children.

As Alice is leaving just before the tea is over, the Mad Hatter and the March Hare forcefully attempts to put Dormouse inside the teapot. The Victorian dining etiquette rulebook is ripped off and stuffed into the mouth and swallowed. When Alice leaves, before the tea is over, she sees the Mad Hatter and the March Hare attempting to stuff the poor Dormouse into the teapot. The rulebook of Victorian dining etiquette seems not only to have been ripped up but jammed into the mouth and unceremoniously swallowed. Throughout the 19th century, there were concerns about what was in the food, but the Victorians were not expecting to find a mouse in their teapots (Blom 260). During this time, the crooked bakers could be found stashing anything from the floor dirt in their baking flour to make their bread.

As depicted by the novel, there are a set of rules observed when dining and it includes rules on what and how to eat. This is written on its covers, and it goes thus; 'You cannot use your knife or fork or teeth too quietly'. In one of Caroll's work, he satirized the Dos and Don'ts in the dining room, and one such rule is on meat being placed before you, there is little objection to eating it and as a conventional rule, do not kick shins of the gentleman sitting in the opposite direction (Blom 267). When Alice arrives at the tea party, there were switching places around the table periodically while making personal remarks and fielding answerless riddles and telling pointless poetry which greatly disgusts Alice. While telling the riddles, Alice gave up and directed her anger towards Mad Hatter upon realizing that he had no answer.

The Mad Hatter recounts how Queen of Hearts told him that he was severely 'murdering time' and he says that ever since that time, the clock has stayed fixed at six o'clock and it follows that they exist perpetually during tea-time. In Alice's Wonderland, chaos was the norm, but even then, some sense of order existed (Blom 264). The Mad Hatter, the March Hare, and the Dormouse tell Alice that by saying what she means and meaning what she says is not necessarily the similar thing. Instructively, Alice points out that she had not taken any tea yet and that she cannot take more tea. It cannot be denied that Alice can opt to take more tea as she has not taken any because it is possible that one can take more than nothing at all. The March Hare becomes mad even before the party goes beyond March (Blom 270). Alice's understanding of the concept of time is challenged by the tea party and the Mad Hatter's failure to provide answerable riddles further reaffirmed the Alice's Wonderland strange sense of order.


In conclusion, during the 1850s, there were heavy reports on massive food adulteration investigated by a government agency. This dishonesty became a concern to the public health, and this resulted in a public uproar and resolved that a solution must be found. It is worth to note that, the consumption of adulterated might lead to food poisoning among the public. The novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was authored around this time where there was widespread anxiety, and perhaps this is what informed the treatment of food in the novel by Caroll. In this novel, much of food and drink are contaminated in one way or the other; tarts and soups are mixed with pepper which induces sneezing, and tulip bulbs are contaminated by mixing them up with onions. There is a taboo about food where one consumes the contents of a container of unknown liquid but Alice does precisely that, and she bases her excuse on the label on the container which says 'Drink Me'. Undeniably so, the eating in Alice's Wonderland was laden with dangers.

Works Cited

Blom, Jan Dirk. "Alice in Wonderland syndrome: a systematic review." Neurology: Clinical Practice 6.3 (2016): 259-270.

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The Theme of Eating in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Essay Sample. (2022, Dec 17). Retrieved from

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