The following excerpt is from the chapter entitled Pig and Pepper in Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (1865). Don’t be fooled by its Children’s Literature genre. The Alice books are sources of psychoanalytic marvel and are constantly being debated over by academics. I thought we’d take a little existential trip this morning into Wonderland…
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.
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–‘ when she was a little startled by seeing the Cheshire Cat sitting on a bough of a tree a few yards off.
The Cat only grinned when it saw Alice. It looked good- natured, she thought: still it had VERY long claws and a great many teeth, so she felt that it ought to be treated with respect.
`Cheshire Puss,’ she began, rather timidly, as she did not at all know whether it would like the name: however, it only grinned a little wider. `Come, it’s pleased so far,’ thought Alice, and she went on. `Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’
`That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,’ said the Cat.
`I don’t much care where–‘ said Alice.
`Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,’ said the Cat.
`–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,’ Alice added as an explanation.
`Oh, you’re sure to do that,’ said the Cat, `if you only walk long enough.’
Alice felt that this could not be denied, so she tried another question. `What sort of people live about here?’
`In THAT direction,’ the Cat said, waving its right paw round, `lives a Hatter: and in THAT direction,’ waving the other paw, `lives a March Hare. Visit either you like: they’re both mad.’
`But I don’t want to go among mad people,’ Alice remarked.
`Oh, you can’t help that,’ said the Cat: `we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.’
`How do you know I’m mad?’ said Alice.
`You must be,’ said the Cat, `or you wouldn’t have come here.’
Text from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll as found on Alice-in-wonderland.net
Featured art by Nicole West Fantasy Art and Dan Beltran.