Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

by: Lewis Carroll

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained
2. Lastly, she pictured to herself how this same little sister of hers would, in the after‑time, be herself a grown woman; and how she would keep, through all her riper years, the simple and loving heart of her childhood; and how she would gather about her other little children, and make their eyes bright and eager with many a strange tale, perhaps even with the dream of Wonderland of long ago; and how she would feel with all their simple sorrows, and find a pleasure in all their simple joys, remembering her own child‑life, and the happy summer days.

This quote is the very final sentence of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alice has gone inside for tea, leaving her sister by the riverbank to muse over Alice’s wondrous dream. This passage has a tone of long winded, golden nostalgia and differs dramatically from the rest of the story, which is generally economical in words and nightmarish for Alice. This tonal shift results from the shift in perspective from Alice to her sister, which in turn alters the reader’s perception of Alice’s adventures. While she experiences her adventures, Alice finds her journey to be confounding and nightmarish. On the other hand, Alice’s sister sees her story as a strange tale from a simple heart. She trivializes Alice’s identity shattering journey, distancing the trauma Alice experienced in her dream with her own aboveground faith in an orderly universe. In a story studded with subversion, Alice’s sister becomes the ultimate subversion who undermines Alice’s search for meaning and identity as she imagines Alice growing up and mystifying other simple‑hearted children with her stories.

This quote also serves as Carroll’s commentary on the character of Alice, the fictionalized version of his muse Alice Liddell. Carroll became deeply preoccupied with the dissolution of his friendship with Liddell as she reached maturity and grew apart from him. This final line has a nostalgic, wistful longing for “the happy summer days” in which he would visit with the Liddell sisters and delight them “with many a strange tale.” Ultimately, Carroll realizes that these happy summer days cannot last, and like Alice’s dream or even Alice’s sister’s dream, the simple hearted love of a child will fade, leaving him only with memories of “child‑life.”