Similarities and Differences between “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass”

Posted on November 8, 2023

Analysis Sample

Lewis Carroll, a British novelist, is the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, which are still popular among readers of different ages today. Lewis Carroll’s classic books tell the story of a young girl named Alice, who travels through magical worlds, full of odd animals and absurd circumstances. Although the two tales have various similarities, they have distinct differences in themes, narrative structure, and character development.


The first point to be considered is that both Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass explore identity. Alice, the protagonist of the stories, often questions her sense of self and tries to maintain it despite the ever-changing circumstances. For example, “‘Who in the world am I?’ Ah, that’s the great puzzle!” (Carroll, 1993, p.15). Interestingly, writings delve into the idea of truth versus illusion, where the line between reality and imagination becomes blurred. Both publications highlight the power of fantasy in shaping one’s perception of actuality. Regarding the settings of Wonderland and Looking Glass Land, readers may notice the uniqueness of the invented worlds. The first one is a place that is chaotic and nonsensical – readers may note that the author continually questions the principles of physics and reality, which results in an unpredictable environment. Through the Looking Glass introduces a realm that mirrors the real world but functions under different rules. The reflected yet divergent quality contributes to both tales’ sense of wonder and disorientation.

Another important aspect is the use of linguistic playfulness as a unifying element in both works written by Carroll. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland has a lot of wordplay and puns that make conversations funny, silly, and imaginative, just like the rest of the world characters live in. In Through the Looking Glass, Carroll’s creativity with language is at its best in the poem “Jabberwocky,” which is very weird but also very interesting. For example, “Twas brillig, and the slithy toves, Did gyre and gimble in the wabe” (Carroll, 2010, p. 12). Moreover, the characters in both books are memorable and strange, which makes the stories even more magical. White Rabbit, the Mad Hatter, and the Cheshire Cat in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland are the unforgettable figures that personify the insanity of the world. Besides, their disparate personalities and wacky interactions with the girl appeal to the tale. In Through the Looking Glass, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the White Queen, and Humpty Dumpty are memorable figures that amplify the surreal atmosphere of the narrative.


One notable distinction between Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass is how they portray themes, symbols, and motifs. In the first narrative, Alice experiences identity, development, and madness at various stages; Carroll does not accomplish this in Through the Looking Glass. The second one explores ideas such as time, reflection, and perspective due to symbolic chess pieces that symbolize many life stages. Notably, both stories are set in magical universes but have different environments. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland happens underground and includes many locations, including Mad Hatter’s tea party and the Queen of Hearts’ croquet area. The environment adds uncertainty and absurdity, mirroring Alice’s persistent effort to comprehend her situation. In contrast, most of Through the Looking Glass occurs in a chessboard-like setting. It relies on this chessboard image to convey a feeling of logic and order to the viewer. Her progression across the chessboard from pawn to queen level symbolizes her development from childhood to adulthood.

The way Carroll had written these stories resulted in a distinct framework for each one. There is no direction to the story in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; the chapters could be read in any order and still make sense. With the introduction of the chess game, Carroll made it very evident at the outset of Through the Looking Glass. The latter one relies heavily on this chessboard image to convey a feeling of logic and order to the viewer. Carroll gives the reader a clear idea of where the tale goes in each chapter, and the sections are ordered consistently throughout the book. In both writings, other characters have various personalities and responsibilities. As an example, in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the White Rabbit appears nervous and anxious, always concerned about being late. During Alice’s voyage through the chessboard in Through the Looking Glass, the White Rabbit takes a more authoritative position and serves as a herald, announcing the coming of significant characters.

The two stories have different themes and structures that create unique atmospheres. Carroll portrayed Wonderland as a picture-perfect natural setting where Alice can only learn from nature. While this might seem excellent in theory, it is unrealistic and does not represent the actual world. The universe of Through the Looking Glass reflects a sense of belonging and a ruled-governed society with social structures that use a living chess board. The Looking-Glass includes social hierarchies, and depending on the situation, one can go up or down the scale, much like in Alice’s rule-governed Victorian society.

The two works’ topics, narrative devices, and character development are very different despite their numerous similarities. These variances convey to the reader the interaction between kids and adults, which is crucial to the individual quality of each story. They play a vital part in the evolution of Alice and in the portrayal that Carroll wanted, whether it was the contrast between the characters in the stories or the writing style.


Carroll, L. (1993). Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Dover Publications.

Carroll, L. (2010). Through the Looking Glass. William Collins.

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