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Through the Looking Glass: Synopsis & Critique

Jennifer Mendez Literary Analysis

Everyone has heard of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Usually, they are sold as one solid book, however, there are adaptations that solely include Alice in Wonderland. Never is there a copy of Through the Looking Glass by itself. In fact, never does anyone talk about it exclusively, without derailing into the topic after bringing up Alice first.

But why? Is it not up to snuff? also… what is the name of the person who puts shoes on horses? Well.. we’ll get to that…

Well, as it turns out, this sequel is set six months after the story in the first book, and it showcases how things have changed. To some readers, it is a fantastic extension of the first novel, but to others, it seemed unnecessary, as is the case with the 2015 film adaptation by the same name, which debuted on May 27.

Let’s step through the glass, and see for ourselves, shall we?

Synopsis of Through the Looking Glass

Sadly, the synopsis won’t do much good in this instance. Through the Looking Glass doesn’t have a cohesive plot line, it is very much a mix and match of peculiar stories. Nothing makes sense, which is traditional of Wonderland, of course, only…this isn’t Wonderland. This is Looking-Glass World, where time moves backward.

What begins as a tale that Alice tells her kitten, turns into a dream where strange things happen, like a sliced cake fusing back together, a forest that takes away all your memories, and chess. There is no clearly defined plot line, just several instances of deeper meaning and symbolism.

The film, on the other hand, focuses on Underland, where the White Queen, the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat and Tweedledee and Tweedledum tell her that Mad Hatter is depressed—he’s lost his family. Alice has to steal a Chronosphere from Time to travel into the past, where she finds a younger Hatter and the Red Queen.

Obviously, the two stories are pretty different. Unfortunately, neither one gets acclaim.

Through the Looking Glass Critique

Pros of Through the Looking Glass

The pros are that Alice, her kitten, and some of our beloved characters make a return. The Mad Hatter, a fan favorite, is also back, along with the Cheshire Cat.

Unfortunately, that’s about all we have under pros. The writing in the original story is great, and the characters are interesting as always. Carroll had a knack for that much, but unfortunately, Wonderland only needed one visit.

Like a good relationship gone bad, the magic was gone the second time around.

Cons of Through the Looking Glass’s story

Strictly speaking about the novel, the story felt forced and pretty unneeded. Alice in Wonderland has a great opening and ending, and didn’t need a sequel.

As for the film, it was also very unnecessary, as the first film did not do that well in theaters. This particular one did so poorly, it was barely shown in theaters, with many places opting to show X-Men rather than lose money showing Through the Looking Glass. Funny enough, X-Men: Apocalypse still flopped as well.

The Verdict

Overall, Through the Looking Glass is very much a mess of stories put together without a cohesive plot. The sequel wasn’t needed, and would have been best left with just Alice in Wonderland alone.

As for the film, it made the right move, in creating its own storyline, because clearly, they couldn’t use the original. The issue in there lies that it wasn’t a good storyline, and it left characters appearing rather lifeless. The movie-goers weren’t thrilled, and neither were the critics.

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About the Author

Jennifer Mendez

Jennifer Mendez has brought insightful articles to From author interviews to how literature meets gaming to expert insight into tools and writing processes, her dedication to helping our author community is quite inspiring. You can find more of her writing at