Posted by: Derek_M | November 18, 2009

The Timeless Tea Party

What is a tea party without time? Every tea party is at a certain time of day. A tea party requires time, but in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter and the March Hare are obsessive over time. No matter how long they have tea, it is always six o’ clock. This infusion of confusion all started when the Mad Hatter made Time (character) angry when he was “murdering Time”. Therefore, it is always six o’ clock, forcing the March Hare and the Mad Hatter to have to tea. Although, this seems to be just simple nonsense, nothing in Wonderland makes sense. Therefore, I should not be so inclined to explore this idea any more…


Alice mentions, “What a funny watch! It tells the day of the month, and it doesn’t tell what o’ clock it is!” to which the Hatter replies, “Why should it?”

This quote perfectly compares the rationality of the real world and utter nonsense of Wonderland. Who has a watch that doesn’t tell the time? The Hatter does because he made time angry. The entire scene of the tea party is complete chaos. From the sleepy Dormouse who tells stories to the skeptical March Hare and Mad Hatter, the tea party mimics the insanity of Wonderland. A tea party is supposed to be formal and relaxing. Not in Wonderland. The dichotomy between the dream and the reality is noticeable by any figment of the imagination. Imaginary worlds entail strange events, which should be expected. Expect the unexpected! A place without time is unexpected, so expect it. Wonderland is an unexpected place to live, so expect the oddities.

The tea party, although chaotic and nonsensical, will always be timeless, literally and figuratively. The murder of Time can be so easily achieved. All you have to do is sing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star incorrectly, and you too can have a tea party for the rest of your life (in Wonderland).

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Second Image courtesy of:



  1. Thanks for your insight. It is greatly appreciated.

  2. Derek brings up an interesting point here. When Alice is at the Tea Party, she realizes that the Mad Hatter is wearing doesn’t work like a normal watch. Since the watch doesn’t work, and it is always tea time, it seems like nothing ever changes. I thought this chapter of the book to be rather ridiculous, in the character’s terms. If time never changes, and they just drink tea all day, wouldnt they sometimes get sick of it? All they ever do is just switch from one chair to another and continue their day drinking tea!

  3. Great line (and emphasis): “Expect the unexpected!” Perhaps this is a lesson the wiser Carroll wanted the younger Alice to embrace about the real world, not just Wonderland, too.

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