Through the Looking-Glass | Study Guide

Lewis Carroll

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Through the Looking-Glass | Chapter 8 : "It's my own Invention" | Summary



It is suddenly very quiet, and Alice wonders if she'd been dreaming. However, she still has a platter from the meal. Two knights appear. The Red Knight declares Alice his prisoner, and the White Knight says he has "come and rescued her."

The knights quarrel, and the Red Knight leaves. Afterward, Alice and the White Knight travel together, but it is slow progress as the Knight has a nearly impossible time staying astride his horse. He shows her a series of his own inventions, but none of them work well. They discuss names, specifically in relation to a song he wants to share. He lets her know the song might bring tears to her eyes, but it doesn't.

After the Knight's ballad, Alice reaches the Eighth Square. The Knight, however, asks her to wait and wave to him when he reaches a turn in the road. She does, and then she crosses to the final square—whereupon a crown appears on her head.


The knight provides a rescue Alice wasn't seeking. Readers may recall that the White King was sure the White Queen did not need his aid. However, in keeping with the theme of kings and knights, a knight defending a lady, or a future king, is featured in many ballads. Interestingly, discussions of the White Knight sometimes suggest that Carroll can be seen in this character, in part because he was an inventor.

If Carroll intended to base the White Knight on himself, the request that Alice pause and wave goodbye to him may be not just a knight's emphasis on courtly form: it may be a symbolic goodbye or an acknowledgment that the real-life Alice has left her childhood with him behind. Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There was published in December 1871. At that point, Carroll had no contact with the girl for whom he wrote the book, and Alice was no longer a child. She would have been 19 when the book was published.

Through the Looking-Glass reaches its climax at the close of this chapter as Alice crosses onto the Eighth Square and receives her crown.
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