Alice in Wonderland

In Chapter 6, Pig and Pepper, the Frog-Footman reads an invitation, but it changes the order of the words. Why do you think the narrator is focused on changing the order of the words?

This technique is often used by the author. Does he play with the reader`s mind?

Asked by
Last updated by jill d #170087
Answers 1
Add Yours

Yes, he plays with the mind; check out the excerpt below;

Chapter 6 derives humor from the fact that the inhabitants of Wonderland consider their environment and actions to be completely normal. The Frog Footman reacts to the near miss of the flying plate with complete nonchalance, talking on as if nothing had happened. The Frog Footman seems to expect nothing less than total chaos. Alice attempts to fit the Frog Footman’s behavior into a logical structure, failing to understand that Wonderland’s order is defined by chaos. She does not realize how close she comes to the truth with the exclamation that the Frog Footman’s belligerence is “enough to drive one crazy!” As the Cheshire Cat later explains, Alice must be “mad” herself in order to understand the nature of things in Wonderland.

Even though there seems to be a rigid social structure in Wonderland, the Frog Footman and the Duchess reject normal social conventions and behave arbitrarily. The presence of a Duchess with a Footman suggests a rigid social order, complete with codes of conduct. This hierarchy reminds Alice of her own society, but their behavior destroys any traditional notion of social convention. The Frog Footman is idiotic and argumentative, and the Duchess exhibits vile and violent behavior. Traditional social codes are ignored, as the Frog Footman has no comprehension of time and thinks nothing of plates flying at his face. The Duchess treats her baby rudely and aggressively, and would likely scoff at the ways that Victorian women care for their babies. The Duchess’s rhyme emphasizes the rejection of social convention, drawing upon a Victorian poem by David Bates that recommends gentle treatment of babies, a message that the Duchess completely ignores. Alice begins to accept the rejection of tradition and social order when she discovers that the baby is in fact a pig, considering that other children she knows from home might also “do very well as pigs . . . if only one knew the right way to change them.” Despite the pun on “change” (to change a baby’s diaper, to literally change a baby into a pig), Alice begins to accept the bizarre social behaviors of Wonderland.

The Cheshire Cat explains to Alice that madness is the chief characteristic of the residents of Wonderland, and that to be in Wonderland is to be mad. In order to exist at all in Wonderland, one must accept its inherent irrationality. The Cheshire Cat reasons that in order to accept this irrationality at all, one must be mad. Alice’s unflagging curiosity makes her mad in the Cheshire Cat’s eyes, since it characterizes her unique and illogical approach to Wonderland’s natives. The Cheshire Cat’s use of the word “mad” puns on the word “made,” since everything in Wonderland is fabricated. Alice’s willingness to venture into her own dream means that she herself is similarly fabricated. The Cheshire Cat understands that Wonderland and all of its inhabitants exists as a figment of Alice’s dreaming imagination.