Through the Looking Glass

Through the Looking Glass Summary and Analysis of Chapter 8


Alice finds herself alone again, but then she is intercepted by the White Knight, who claims that having come upon her, she is not his prisoner. However, he cannot seem to stay on his horse. Another knight approaches, the Red Knight, and they argue about whose prisoner Alice is. They then have a very clumsy battle to determine the captor.

The White Knight wins, though Alice could not really tell what decided the victory. But when he claims that she is his prisoner, she argues that she wants to be a Queen. He tells her that is not a problem, as he intends to see her safely to the next brook so that she can proceed to the next square and become a queen.

Alice mounts his horse, which the Knight cannot seem to ride properly. He consistently slides off in all directions and lands on his head. While they ride, he tells Alice about all of his inventions: the box turned upside-down so rain won't get in, the beehive attached to his saddle, the pole that keeps hair from falling off, etc. Each of these inventions has a number of problems that Alice contemplates.

The Knight offers to sing Alice a song, and even though she is not interested, she agrees to let him sing to her. He sings about an old man who gives another man advice about how to live. Alice finds that she knows the tune, but the song does not make her cry, even though the knight insisted it would.

They reach the end of their journey, and the Knight requests that Alice see him off. She does, hoping that it encourages him, and then she jumps the final brook into the eighth square. When she lands, she realizes there is a gold crown on her head.


At first it seems that the White Knight is a malevolent character in the story, because he tells Alice that he intends to take her prisoner. However, the reader discovers that he is a benevolent force in Alice's world, for he means to help her cross the last brook.

The crossing of this brook causes the White Knight great distress, for it signifies a significant move for Alice on the chess board of her life. She will move to the final square, where she is to become a Queen. While this causes the White Knight great sadness, Alice does not seem to be perturbed, even when he sings his song. The lack of tears from Alice indicates her blissful childhood ignorance.

The Red Knight who battles the White Knight represents a force of evil that means to hold Alice back from pursuing her destiny. Alice is amused as she watches the fight, unable to tell who is winning. This mirrors the ignorance she displays while listening to the White Knight sing; she obviously does not understand the importance of events leading to her destiny.

Some scholars believe that the White Knight is meant to be a caricature of the author. Carroll enjoyed inventing things and toying with odd objects. His physical appearance also mirrors that of the knight's: messy hair, blue eyes and a kind face. It also makes sense considering the role that he plays in Alice's journey. Of all the characters Alice meets, only the White Knight seems to offer her direct help.