Chapter 8: The Queen’s Croquet-Ground
In the chapter “The Queen’s Croquet-Ground,” the door to which Alice had gone through leads her to the entrance of a garden, in which a large white rose tree is being busily painted red. She encounters three gardeners who tell of how the rose tree was supposed to be red, & the consequences they would need to deal with if the Queen were to find out that they had planted white roses by mistake. In another instant, the King & Queen of Hearts were announced to be traveling in a grand procession. The three gardeners threw themselves flat upon their faces, however Alice remains standing, as she cannot remember ever hearing such a rule at processions. Therefore, the procession comes to a halt, & the Queen of Hearts & Alice find themselves standing opposite one another. Initially angered by Alice’s remarks, the Queen orders for her to be executed. However, taking into consideration the fact that Alice was only a child, the Queen pardons her & invites her to play croquet within the croquet-grounds. Curiouser & curiouser… the croquet-grounds were nothing but ridges & furrows, the croquet balls were live hedgehogs, & the mallets live flamingoes. Feeling uneasy with the Queen’s fondness of beheading people, Alice tries looking about for a way to escape. While doing so, she notices a strange appearance in the air, & realizes it is the Cheshire Cat. The King takes notice to Alice, & asks her who she is speaking to, therefore she introduces Cheshire Cat, referring to him as a friend of hers. Taking a dislike to the Cheshire-Cat, the King asks the Queen to have him executed, leading to a dispute (between the King and the executioner) about why the Cheshire-Cat couldn’t be beheaded. The Queen, angered by the fact that nothing was being done, announces that if the matter wasn’t resolved soon, would sentence everyone to be executed. Being able to think of nothing else, Alice says the Cheshire-Cat belongs to the Duchess, therefore they should ask her. In response, the Queen tells one of the executioners to go fetch the Duchess from prison, whilst in the meantime, the Cheshire-Cat vanishes completely.
The incidents in which Alice observes the Queen sentencing people to execution, propels her action of looking about for some way of escape. She watches how the Queen orders the three gardeners to be beheaded, due to their mistake of planting a white rose tree instead of a red one. She also hears (from the White Rabbit) about how the Duchess is under sentence of execution, as she had boxed the Queen’s ears. Also, while playing croquet, the players all play at once, not bothering to wait for their turn, quarreling all the while, & fighting for the hedgehogs; and in a quick instant, the Queen orders for all of them to be executed, shouting “Off with his head!” or “Off with her head!” continually. Recognizing the Queen’s passion of executing people & feeling uneasy, knowing she has yet to have a dispute with the Queen, propels Alice to leave this area, where she could lose her head in the next minute.