First Thought? Of Course I Ought! (Ch.5)

Summary: What quirky images/ thoughts pop up in my head as I dive into each chapter of The Annotated Alice? Let’s see what happens when Alice gets “advice from a Caterpillar”. (Chapter 5)

(Note:  If you’re interested in these ideas, feel free to check out the previous posts on Ch. 1-4 under “First Thought? Of Course I Ought!“, too, if you want.)

My first thoughts?

I have to admit, when I saw that the Caterpillar was smoking a hookah I could not stop laughing. Yes, I did know that he did in the Disney version although the fact that a Caterpillar is smoking cracks me up.
One of the aspects of this chapter that interested me was how the Caterpillar never really explained any of his answers to Alice. He either asked more questions or replied succinctly to Alice’s questions. Could this be because the Caterpillar wanted Alice to discover the answers to her own questions by herself?

I was also analyzing the words in italics that sparked my interest in the very first chapter, which you can read in my first blog. Perhaps the words in italics are just emphasizing the overall importance of the sentence it is in. The italics are mainly used to emphasize who the comment is pertaining to. For example, “Well, perhaps your feelings may be different,” said Alice: “all I know is, it would feel very queer to me.” “Who are you?”

I also think it is peculiar that the Caterpillar is so concerned with Alice realizing how she has changed thus far. He reiterates the question “Who are you?” and also called after Alice when she was about to leave him to tell her “So you think you’re changed to you?” The Caterpillar is also the creature who leads her to her size alter #6. Which brings me to my final question:

If she nibbles on the mushroom until she had succeeded in bringing herself down to her usual height…who is to say that what she think is her “normal” height could be 40ft or 2 inches in the “real” world or even in the room of doors?

Just a thing to ponder…

Stay tuned for “First thought? Of Course I Ought!” (Ch. 6)

Image can be found here.



  1. I really like your emphasis on the ‘who are you’ section of Alice. It is one of my favorite scenes in the entire work. I believe that the caterpillar is portrayed as the wise guy in this scene. It seems like only his questions matter, even if he does reiterate them constantly. His annoying and rather rude attitude towards Alice makes her angry in return. I wrote a blog on the Crazy Caterpillar that might interest you. I really believe that this chapter could also be another reference to drugs because of the pipe that the caterpillar is smoking while he is in ‘another world’ so to speak. He seems to be portrayed as a nold man smoking a pipe in the eighteen hundreds as a status symbol. Or is it more than that?

    • Thank you! Its one of my favorite chapters too!

      There are so many ways the caterpillar can be portrayed that their really isn’t a “right” or a “wrong” answer. Whether someone thinks it is a drug reference or someone thinks it is relating to culture I believe Carroll wanted the readers to personalize their reading experience by portraying the events and characters how they wanted to. As for the eighteen hundreds, I think that is a very good possibility!

      Thank you for the comment!

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