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CHAPTER SUMMARY WITH NOTES
CHAPTER 6 - PIG AND PEPPER
For some time Alice stood outside the house wondering what she should be doing next. It is at this time that she sees a footman come out of the wood and knock on the door. The door is opened by another footman in livery. The first footman produces a letter of invitation for the Duchess from the Queen to play croquet.
Once the first footman left, Alice walks up to the house and raps on the door. After a brief conversation with the footman at the door, Alice walks into the door and finds herself in large kitchen full of smoke from one end of the door to the other.
In the kitchen was sitting the Duchess on a three legged stool and the cook was cooking something in a cauldron. Alice unable to control her sneezing, says that there is too much of pepper in the soup. It was obvious since the Duchess was sneezing and the baby was sneezing and howling alternately. In keeping with her nature, Alice starts to questions the Duchess about the cat. Suddenly, the cook starts to throw everything within her reach at the Duchess and at the baby, and defends her actions amidst this noise, the Duchess begins to nurse the baby and sings her a lullaby. While doing so she tossed the baby violently up and down and this makes the baby cry all the more loudly. Suddenly, the Duchess flings the baby away and stalks away to play croquet with the queen. Alice manages to catch the baby though with some difficulty and runs away with it. She is worried that the baby would definitely be killed if it were left in the house of the Duchess any longer. The sobbing of the baby turns into little grunts and Alice is alarmed to note that the baby has suddenly become a pig. She sets the creature down and is relieved to see it trotting away into the woods.
No sooner than she has got over the ‘pig- baby’ business she notices the Cheshire cat sitting on a bough of a tree a few yards away. Alice asks the Cheshire cat’s advice on which road to take. He contends that it would not matter which road she would take since she has no particular place to go to. However, he informs her that the road leading to the ‘right’ would lead to the Mad Hatter, while the road to the left would lead to the March Hare. And with that it disappears, promising Alice that it would meet her at the Queen’s place.
After a minute or two, Alice departs in the direction in which the March Hare was said to live. On reaching there she is amused to see that the chimneys were shaped like ears and that the roof was thatched with fur. It was so large a house that she had to nibble at some of the mushroom to raise herself by another two feet high. She walks into the house on a very skeptical note.
The chapter ‘Pig and Pepper’ traces the mode of realization of Alice into the various necessities of home life. The duchess and the child that she holds along with the cook represent the various facets or rather necessities of home life.
The Duchess finally hands over the child to Alice and leaves to play with the Queen of Hearts. Alice is burdened with the child. She later abandons it when she notices that the child is turning into a pig.
The Cheshire cat plays a rather important role in the chapter and through the rest of the book. The cat signifies all that is visible and invisible and the fact that what separates the known from the unknown is something which is very fragile, labile and ever changing.