"How to dry off" is the central concern at the beginning of this chapter. Alice finds herself embroiled in a heated discussion with the Lory (the parrot) over who knows best how to dry off. The Lory cuts off the argument with the declaration that he is wiser than Alice because he is older than she is. In this dispute Alice becomes a child again — therefore sort of an underdog — but her self-centered emotions indicate a mental maturity well beyond her chronological age. Still, in relation to the other animals, Alice seems altogether like the dependent child that she really is; but clearly the Lory's rude position reflects that although he may be more mature, we don't know that he is necessarily older than Alice. In any case, Alice will not let the Lory's response go unchallenged, and the scene turns hilarious when the Lory absolutely refuses to reveal his true age. All along, the Mouse has seemed to assume himself to be the natural "authority figure" of this motley
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