The Cheshire Cat is a famous fictional cat familiar to many children and associated with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. While often used in Alice-themed contexts, the original association of a “Cheshire cat’ with grinning originated before the 1965 book. In that book, Alice is led to a strange dark house where a Cheshire Cat awaits her. It is here that the story begins to take an odd twist. The Cheshire Cat begins to lure Alice into the garden where she slips underneath a magical cloak. From there, the two are pulled into the house of the Cheshire Cat and Alice soon falls unconscious.
The next morning, Alice wakes up in a caged window, unsure of what has happened. A Cheshire Cat appears before her and asks her to go to a strange house located behind a white rabbit statue. Inside the house, the Cheshire Cat tries to lure Alice into the cat’s den, but Alice manages to slip out of the cloak and falls to the ground as she tries to jump out. The Cheshire Cat then tugs on the hood of the Cheshire Cat figurine, causing it to disappear. The scene soon enters Alice’s memory of the night before, when she had been led through a strange maze by the Witch to a room where she was locked in and a roaring fire had burned her clothes.
When Alice attempts to get out of the caged window, the Cheshire Cat once again pulls her into the house of the Cheshire Cat. From here, the two continue to travel through wonderland while the Cheshire Cat licks Alice’s face. Finally, Alice falls asleep and the Cheshire Cat seems to vanish as the room falls apart around her. However, Alice soon realizes that she is still in the house, and when she looks up, she sees the smiling cat sitting in her room, staring at her.
As the movie progresses, we learn more about the relationship between Alice and the Cheshire Cat, and also how that came about. The Queen of Hearts makes a visit to Wonderland, and falls in love with the Cheshire Cat. The Cheshire Cat makes several promises to the Queen, including granting her one eye. However, the Cat refuses to allow the Queen to have one eye, as she claims to be her father’s daughter. After Alice’s tea party, the Queen of Hearts decides to give the Cat a mirror, but not before telling her one last trick: to give Alice one eye.
So, how did this story come about? The real story begins when a real, genuine looking cat walked into Alice’s tea party, and the Queen began talking to it and asked it many questions. The real cat replied to the Queen by scratching its own back, and showing her a brand-new, white, polka-dot patch of fur. Alice was very impressed, and asked the cat where it had come from. The cat replied by slowly scratching itself on the carpet, and then rubbing its head on a scar on Alice’s dress. This went on for quite a while, until the Queen suddenly felt a terrible presence standing beside her…waiting to leap from her feet!
The next scene shows Alice looking in wonder at a lump of fur growing along the side of the clock. The Queen notices that the lump is growing rapidly, and she rushes towards it, but the Cheshire Cat suddenly jumps down from the ceiling, hissing “You Rascal, you fool!” in a dreadful voice. Then, all of sudden, the Queen’s face becomes white as she falls to the floor. The Cheshire Cat then begins to glare at Alice, who tries to run away from him, but he catches her instantly, and he lets her go.
From this point onwards, the movie takes a strange turn. The Cheshire Cat appears to stare down Alice, who tries to get away from him, but he just holds her tight, staring deeply into her eyes. Finally, the two share a wonderful moment, before the Cheshire Cat decides to depart, and Alice says “Thank you” in a voice loud enough for the cat to hear. Then the movie cuts to the present-day, and Alice is sitting in a chair, surrounded by boxes, which have been thrown by a large, burly guy in a suit.
The film ends with the same voice as in the beginning, saying “Now, my dears, I am writing to tell you that Alice is safely at home.” The voice belonged to John Cleese, and he appears to be the voice of the character of the Cheshire Cat, so the movie ends with the same result. As the credits finish, a tear drops from Alice’s eye, and the Cheshire Cat walks away, leaving Alice with the question, “That wasn’t so funny at the start. Maybe I should go to sleep.”
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