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CHAPTER SUMMARY WITH NOTES
CHAPTER 12 - ALICE’S EVIDENCE
On being called to court as witness, Alice is dazed and in the flurry of the moment she forgets how tall she has grown. This upsets the entire jury box who are seen sprawling all over the floor. The trial then proceeds after peace has been restored to the court. Alice looks at the jury and notices that in her haste she has managed to put the lizard back with its head downwards.
When the jury had managed to get over the pandemonium, the trial is well underway and she is questioned by the court. When Alice claims that she knows nothing about the event (regarding the theft of the tarts), the king orders her to leave the court. This is because, according to him, all those who are more than a mile high have to leave the court. However, he is unable to prove the existence of the rule since he had invented the rule at the nick of the time.
At this time, the White Rabbit draws the king’s attention to the evidence of a white paper that was found lying in the court. On close inspection it is revealed that it is just a scroll of paper with some verses written on it. Finally, the trial ends with the Queen ordering for the execution of Alice. It is at this point of time that Alice is unable to take the situation as it offers itself and cries out saying that:
You are nothing but just a pack of cards
This remark of hers sends the entire court in a fit of rage and they come flying down upon her. She screams with fright and in anger tries to ward them off, and finds herself back on the river-bank with her head on her sister’s lap. Her sister was gently moving away the dead leaves that had fluttered down from the trees upon her face.
Later, Alice tells her sister about the wonderful dream that she has had and then, runs off for tea.
Her sister is left on the bank alone, and sitting there she too begins to dream. First, she dreams about her sister Alice and the bright eager eyes that told her all about the wonderful dream.
She then sees the White Rabbit, the Mouse, the caterpillar, Hatter, March Hare, The Duchess, the King and the Queen of Hearts, the Gryphon and all the other characters that Alice had told her about. She believes in Wonderland, though she knows that the moment she opens her eyes everything would change to a dull reality. Lastly, she sees in her mind’s eye, her sister Alice, as a young woman who would gather around her little children and tell them all about Wonderland and in this way, travel back to her childhood days.
The last and final chapter is the indication of the ‘realization’ that dawns on Alice.
You are all a pack of cards -- this exclamation is the final stage of maturity for Alice.
The entire novel is a movement from a level of childhood to that of adulthood, a stage of innocence to that of maturity and a feeling to be adventurous to that of a sense of cautiousness. It spins around the experiences of a child who tries to relate her everyday experiences to those of her fancy world.
There is the thread in the narrative that ties the empirical reality of Alice to that of the Wonderland.
The novel does not end with the dream alone. It ends on a very serious and philosophical note. Alice’s elder sister is aware of the ‘fantasy’ that is present in the dream. It is this level of experience, of being able to dream of something wonderful, recollect it through memory, and then translate it to others that the denouement of the book calls for. One cannot keep and should not keep one’s experiences to oneself. It is essential to speak of it to others. It is this that Carroll tries to suggest to the readers (both children and adults).