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Alice Through the Needle's Eye

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alice Through the Needle's Eye: A Third Adventure for Lewis Carroll's Alice
Author Gilbert Adair
Country United States
Language English
Genre Fantasy
Publisher E. P. Dutton
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 184
ISBN 0-525-24303-8
OCLC 11891346
LC Class PZ7.A1859 Al 1984
Preceded by Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) and Through the Looking-Glass (1871)

Alice Through the Needle's Eye: A Third Adventure for Lewis Carroll's Alice is a 1984 novel by Gilbert Adair that pays tribute to the work of Lewis Carroll through a further adventure of the eponymous fictional heroine, told in Carroll's surrealistic style.


The entire plot really consists of Alice traveling through the Alphabet as she goes along meeting new friends, or rather, creatures and obstacles. In the end, she awakes to find that not more than a few seconds have gone by and that it was all just a dream.

I: A Needle in a Haystack

The story begins with Alice busily talking to herself as she continuously tries to thread a needle through. To her dismay she continues to fail at this and she takes an extremely close look when she finds herself gliding through the air in an unknown world. She mentions how it was December at her previous whereabouts and how in Needle's Eye World it seemed to have a pleasant summer-ish feel to the place. When she finally falls to the ground she is cushioned by a haystack. When she emerges, she hears a distant call for "'elp". Alice soon discovers that they were the small whimpers of a Country Mouse, who believes that she is a comet. The Country mouse hereafter befriends Alice and informs her that she is not in a haystack, but an A-stack, or rather a messy pile of A's. She spots a few spelling bees, makes her way out of the haystack and continues in the direction of which she recalls seeing a beach from when she was flying.

II: A Tale with No End

Alice does not travel too far before she meets two cats, yet upon taking a closer look, she discovers that both are joined at the tail. Alice questions them of their breed which they reply, as they finish each other's sentences "We're Siamese--". Unknowingly, Alice interrupts and discusses how Siamese are much much different in appearance. The cats complete their statement and inform her that they were about to say Siamese-Twin Cats until she so very rudely interrupted. Alice apologizes as the cats begin to explain that one or the other is "as large as I am" or "as intelligent as I am" continuing in such a manner that their words are reduced to a mere "--'s I am--". After a short recovery from their long list, Alice decides that she will identify the cats by naming one Ping and one Pang. For if she mistakes one for the other, surely it must end up being the latter. Ping and Pang recite the poem "The Sands of Dee"; Pang forgets the last word of the poem, prompting a duel between them. The two cats instruct Alice to count twenty paces, but she mentions that she could "...count up to a hundred if I really tried." Thus, Ping and Pang begin to step away from each other, but before their duel begins, the sky darkens and rains down cats and dogs. When the peculiar shower of animals has stopped, Ping and Pang realize that they must attend the "vote." Alice follows them to find out what the vote is about.

III: "And Ninthly..."

The chapter opens with Alice following the Siamese Cats towards the vote. Suddenly, an Elephant rears about near her—the Country Mouse making a short return to frighten it. Alice decides not to frighten the mouse, but at least scare it off. Hereafter, Alice and the Elephant have a conversation about being afraid of little things, the Elephant retorting "I suppose you aren't afraid of insects, then?" After their short argument, the Elephant states that they will be "late for the speeches." Alice is then swept away by the Elephant towards the "Hide-and-Seek Park." Here, she overhears the conversation of the Grampus and the Italian Hairdresser (She knows he is Italian because he speaks in Italics). The Emu begins its speech, but is constantly interrupted by the Crocodile, belonging to the Hairdresser, which is detained by an electric eel. Finally, the Emu finishes its speech and concludes with "And that's why I ask you all to vote for me!" In the end, after Alice inquires what he stands for, he recites a poem about the letter "F". After this, the vote transforms into an auction, and with the final cry of, "Going...going...gone!" everyone abruptly vanishes.

IV: Autobiography of a Grampus

Luckily, not everyone had vanished and Alice was left with both the Grampus and the Italian Hairdresser. The grampus promptly inquires if her name is "Boris". After a short discussion, the Grampus realizes that he has indeed written down the wrong name within his autobiography. He explains to Alice how forgetful he is, giving an example of how he sometimes "leaves home without an umbrella and returns with one". "This is why I have an autobiography," he said. "So that I don't forget!" Both the Grampus and Alice miss the train that he wrote that they would need to get on in his autobiography. He then points out that they are to be attacked by a band of blood-thirsty brigands. After he realizes that the blood-thirsty brigands are not coming, he asks Alice to tie him up. Soon after she "rescues" him and they board the next train. As they ride the train, the Grampus begins a discussion on the meaning of words. Promptly after their discussion, the Grampus notes that he does not want to be swept away by the hurricane mentioned in his book. Alice, not wanting to "create" a hurricane, comes to the conclusion of simply writing the word 'not' into his book. The train suddenly turns into a study room and, out of curiosity, Alice ventures out to discover what might lie upon the hill she had spotted in the distance.

V: Jack and Jill

When starting to climb the hill, Alice bumps into two people, or rather, 'stick figure people'. She realizes after a short conversation, that they are Jack and Jill from the nursery rhyme. Although, they are a quite rude rendition of the two. She states that she recognized them from the rhyme which prompts Jack to 'test' her. He says "If you know then surely you can do this!" Jack then asks, or commands, Alice to recite the poem forwards, backwards, and in French. Although Alice had no intention of it, she spat out the words as if it were second nature to her. Jack then states that due to the fact that she had 'caused' them to fall, she must now carry the eels or "L's" within their bucket to Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch. Alice sets off because she is too polite to say no in the first place.

VI: Lost-in-a-maze-ment

After a while's walk, Alice reaches a maze-like place with a sign that reads "Llabyrinth". To Alice's disappointment, she cannot get to the centre of the maze due to her childish logic of "If I take all lefts I'll be alright, but if I take all rights I'll be left! Left within the maze!". Alice comes across several confusing signs, many of which leading her back to the same place she was before. After a moment of despondency, she hears the Country Mouse; she attempts to follow it, but to no avail. She also attempts to throw one of the eels over the hedge as a signal, but fails, as it comes back like a boomerang. Eventually, she drops off to sleep. When she awakes, she sees what she assumes is a human, running past her. She follows it, and in time, arrives in the centre of the maze. After finding a large congregation of animals stuck in the middle of the maze, they attempt to go through a race for the food that the Welsh Rabbit (the one who she had followed into the centre) possesses.

VII: Alice Volunteers

In this chapter Alice is volunteered for her to go into the rabbit hole which the cluster of animals within the maze believe leads out. When going down the hole, she feels as if she is falling sideways, and describes it as an infinity sign. She contemplates things such as parallel lines meeting at infinity and how the sign looks like a tired eight. When she finally comes out, she is surprised to see where she is.

VIII: Queueing

IX: Swan Pie and Greens

X: You

XI: The Battle of Letters

XII: Was It a Dream?


These are the main characters listed in order of appearance

Connections to Wonderland

There are several references and homages to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass. For example, Dinah appears in the beginning, and there is once again a mouse within the plot. In the scene concerning the Llabyrinth, she chases a rabbit and encounters a hole which she must enter.


  • Adair, G. (1985) Alice Through the Needle's Eye: A Third Adventure for Lewis Carroll's Alice ISBN 0-330-29158-0
This page was last edited on 3 April 2018, at 12:52.
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