Through the Looking Glass

Through the Looking Glass Summary and Analysis of Chapter 9


Alice wonders about the crown on her head until she sees that she is sitting on a throne in between the White and Red Queens. They begin to interrogate her, criticizing her manners, and claiming that she needs to take and examination before she can be a queen. They proceed to ask her trivia questions that Alice continues to get wrong because the answers are nonsensical.

The Queens discuss being tired, and soon they are asleep on Alice's lap. She tries to wake them unsuccesfully. She notices a door labeled with her name right in front of her, with a bell for visitors and one for servants. She wonders which one to ring and decides on the servants bell.

A frog responds, asking what she wants, and when she asks about the servants, he only provides her with an answer that does not make sense. He tells her to stop harrassing the door, and then he departs. Alice suddenly hears a chorus of voices singing about her and about a feast in her honor.

She proceeds through the door and finds herself at a table with about 50 guests. The Red and White Queens are sitting at the head of the table, so she joins them. The servers bring out various dishes, but instead of eating them, the queens just introduce them to Alice and encourage her to introduce herself. When she tries to offer them portions, they argue that it is rude to cut something she has just met.

She discovers that her voice has a commanding effect, and that when she speaks, not only do servants respond immediately, but everything also becomes silent. She asks why so many of the characters she has met like to sing about fish, and the White Queen offers to sing her own fish-themed song. Alice encourages her, and after the queen is finished, both queens encourage Alice to make a speech.

They offer to help support her, and though she refuses, they proceed to squeeze her as she begins. She finds herself rising as she tells her audience that she rises to give thanks. Suddenly, one of the queens warns her that something is about to happen, and indeed, several things unfold at once. The dishes and utensils all begin to move about, and the queens actually shrink. Alice realizes that she is too excited to be shocked as she grabs one of the tiny queens and shakes her with all her might, claiming she will turn her into a kitten.


This chapter begins with a test, by which it will be determined if Alice is worthy of the crown she wears. The queens are rather hostile towards Alice, claiming that every response she provides is wrong and intimating that she is not ready to be a queen. It is likely that they treat her in this manner because there is much at stake; Alice must leave her examination a grown woman.

The Red Queen makes an allusion to the game of chess while she is asking Alice trivia questions. When Alice tries to take back one of her answers, the Red Queen does not allow her, remarking that "when you've once said a thing, that fixes it, and you must take the consequences." This is an allusion to the fact that you can't take back a move in chess once you've made it. You cannot even change your mind once you've touched a piece.

The feast is a strong metaphor for coming-of-age. During the feast, amidst all of the chaos, Alice literally finds her voice, and realizes that she can make things happen by asserting herself. She even makes the dream end by grabbing the queen and shaking her, a clear act of control and aggression. It is during this moment that she gains clarity, threatening to turn the queen into a kitten. Alice stepped into this dream out of reality, where she was surrounded by kittens.

Speech is also an important symbol. As soon as Alice finds her voice, the queens call on her to use her newfound power. But Alice is reluctant, which only emphasizes the transitional period in which Alice inevitably finds herself.