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Alice sits in her armchair at home, drowsily watching
her pet kitten, Kitty, as she unravels a ball of string. She snatches
Kitty up and begins telling her about “Looking-Glass House,” an
imaginary world on the other side of the mirror where everything
is backward. Alice suddenly finds herself on the mantelpiece and
steps through the mirror into Looking-Glass House. On the other
side of the mirror, Alice discovers a room similar to her own but
with several strange differences. The chessmen stand in the fireplace
in pairs, oblivious to Alice’s presence. She comes to the aid of
the White Queen’s daughter, Lily, but realizes that the chess pieces
cannot see her. Alice becomes distracted by a book on the shelf,
in which she reads a nonsensical poem entitled “Jabberwocky.” Frustrated
by the strange poem, she sets off to explore the rest of the house.
Alice leaves the house and spots a beautiful garden in
the distance, but every time she tries to follow the path to the
garden she finds herself back at the door to the house. Confused,
she wonders aloud how to get to the garden, and to her surprise
a Tiger-lily responds. Other flowers join in the conversation, and
several of them start to insult Alice. Alice learns from the flowers
that the Red Queen is nearby, and Alice sets off to meet her. Alice
meets the Red Queen, and the two engage in conversation, but the
Red Queen constantly corrects Alice’s etiquette. Alice looks out
over a field, sees a great game of chess in progress, and tells
the Red Queen that she would like to join. The Red Queen tells Alice
she can stand in as a White Pawn and marks a course for Alice, explaining
that when she reaches the end of the game, Alice will become a Queen.
Alice inexplicably finds herself on a train with a Goat,
a Beetle, and a man dressed in white paper. They each nag Alice
until the train eventually lurches to a halt. Alice finds herself
in a forest, conversing with a chicken sized Gnat, who tells her
about the different insects of Looking-Glass World. After learning
the names of the insects, Alice sets off again and discovers that
she has forgotten the names of things, even her own name. She comes
across a Fawn, who has also forgotten the names of things, and the
two press on through the forest.
When Alice and the Fawn emerge from the forest, their
memories of names come back, and the Fawn runs away in fear of Alice.
Alice soldiers on alone until she meets Tweedledum and Tweedledee,
an identical pair of heavyset men. The twins ignore Alice’s repeated requests
for directions and recite a poem instead. Tweedledum and Tweedledee
notice the Red King sleeping nearby and explain to Alice that she
exists only as a figment of the Red King’s dream. Upset at first,
Alice decides that the two of them speak nonsense. A fight spontaneously
erupts between Tweedledum and Tweedledee over a broken rattle. A
giant crow swoops down and interrupts the fight, sending Tweedledum
and Tweedledee running.
Alice slips away and encounters the White Queen, who explains that
time moves backward in Looking-Glass World. As they speak, the White
Queen plasters her finger, then screams in pain, and finally pricks
her finger on a brooch. After explaining to Alice that she used to
practice the impossible daily, she transforms into a sheep in a shop.
The Sheep asks a disoriented Alice what she would like to buy. Though
the shop is full of curious things, Alice finds that she cannot fix
her eye on any one thing. The Sheep asks Alice if she knows how to
row. Before she knows it, Alice finds herself in a boat with the Sheep,
rowing down a stream. The boat crashes into something and sends
Alice tumbling to the ground. When she stands she finds herself
back in the shop. She purchases an egg from the Sheep, who places
the egg on a shelf. Alice reaches for the egg and finds herself back
in the forest, where the egg has transformed into Humpty Dumpty.
Humpty Dumpty sits on a wall and criticizes Alice for
having a name that doesn’t mean anything, explaining that all names
should mean something. Humpty Dumpty treats Alice rudely, boasting
that he can change the meanings of words at will. When Alice learns
this, she asks Humpty Dumpty to explain the words of the nonsense poem
“Jabberwocky” to her. He defines the words of the first stanza and
then recites a portion of his own poem. He abruptly bids her goodbye,
and Alice storms off, annoyed. All of a sudden, a loud crash shakes
the forest and she watches soldiers and horsemen run by.
Alice comes across the White King, who explains to her
that he has sent all of his horses and men, presumably to put the
shattered Humpty Dumpty back together again. The King’s messenger Haigha
approaches and informs them that the Lion and the Unicorn are doing
battle in the town. Alice sets off with her new companions toward
the town to watch the battle. They catch up with another of the
King’s messengers, Hatta, who explains the events of the fight thus
far. The Lion and Unicorn stop battling and the White King calls
for refreshments to be served. The White King tells Alice to cut the
cake, but she finds that every time she slices the cake the pieces fuse
back together. The Unicorn instructs Alice that Looking-glass cakes
must be passed around first before they are sliced. Alice distributes
the cake, but before they begin eating, a great noise interrupts,
and when Alice looks up, she finds herself alone again.
The Red Knight gallops up to Alice and takes her as a
prisoner. The White Knight arrives at Alice’s side and vanquishes
the Red Knight. Alice and the White Knight walk and talk together,
and Alice finds a friend in the eccentric chessman. He promises
to bring her safely to the last square where she will become a queen.
As they walk, he tells her about all of his inventions before sending
her off with a song. She crosses the final brook and finds herself
sitting on the bank with a crown on her head.
Alice finds herself in the company of the Red Queen and
the White Queen, who question her relentlessly before falling asleep
in her lap. The sound of their snoring resembles music. The sound
is so distracting that Alice doesn’t notice when the two queens
disappear. Alice discovers a castle with a huge door marked “QUEEN ALICE.”
Alice goes through the door and finds a huge banquet in her honor.
She sits and begins eating, but the party quickly devolves into
total chaos. Overwhelmed, Alice pulls away the tablecloth and grabs
the Red Queen.
Alice wakes up from her dream to find herself holding
Kitty. She wonders aloud whether or not her adventures where her
own dream or the dream of the Red King.