Course Hero. "Alice in Wonderland Study Guide." Course Hero. 28 July 2016. Web. 24 Sep. 2023. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Alice-in-Wonderland/>.
Course Hero. (2016, July 28). Alice in Wonderland Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved September 24, 2023, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Alice-in-Wonderland/
(Course Hero, 2016)
Course Hero. "Alice in Wonderland Study Guide." July 28, 2016. Accessed September 24, 2023. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Alice-in-Wonderland/.
Course Hero, "Alice in Wonderland Study Guide," July 28, 2016, accessed September 24, 2023, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Alice-in-Wonderland/.
The Caterpillar stares at Alice before asking her who she is. They have a confusing and roundabout conversation. Before he crawls away, the Caterpillar tells Alice that eating one side of the mushroom will make her tall and eating the other will make her short. Alice tries a bit of mushroom edge and shrinks until her chin hits her foot. She tries a piece from the other side and grows until she's taller than the trees and has a long, snakelike neck.
The Pigeon begins flying frantically around Alice's head, accusing her of being a serpent hunting for bird eggs. Unable to persuade the Pigeon that she's a little girl, Alice takes alternating bites of the mushroom pieces until she's nine inches tall, seemingly the perfect height for Wonderland.
Victorian literature was preoccupied with eating—and with hunger. The 1830s and 1840s saw severe food shortages in urban England. In Ireland, a devastating potato famine took place at the same time. Newspapers were filled with articles about the shortages, and British city dwellers saw many starving people on the streets. Hunger drove plotlines in Victorian novels such as Charles Dickens's Oliver Twist (1838) and Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre (1847).
In Chapter 5, Alice eats pieces of an unidentified mushroom based purely on the Caterpillar's recommendation. Later in the chapter, the Pigeon is afraid Alice will eat her eggs and kill her children. Throughout the book, Alice eats and drinks to control her size. For her, hunger and its consequences are inescapable.