She wants a book with pictures in the beginning. This shows how childlike she is. She wants things to be easy. No reading, just looking at pictures.
When she is chasing the White Rabbit (Bill Thompson), she says, “We shouldn’t really be doing this. After all, we haven’t been invited.” It is improper to follow a rabbit, or anyone, without being invited first.
Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum (J. Pat O’Malley) teach her “logic” and “manners”. Saying your name and shaking hands are the appropriate things to do when you first meet someone.
The White Rabbit shows how women are the ones who should be getting the men whatever they need. He mistakes her for “Maryann” and sends her to fetch his gloves. She unquestioningly goes in search of the gloves like a good girl.
The flowers teach her about how to be specific when speaking. She sees the butterflies and the rose (Doris Lloyd) corrects “bread and butterflies”. Also, she corrects herself about the “rocking horsefly”.
The Caterpillar (Richard Haydn) also teaches her about how to speak and explain things clearly. When she first meets him, she cannot explain who she is. She is not articulating well, and he cannot understand her. Also, when he tells her to “recite”, he corrects how she tells the story. He “has improved it”.
He also tells her to “keep her temper”. Ladies should not lose their temper.
The Mad Hatter (Ed Wynn) and March Hare (Jerry Colonna) educate her about tea party etiquette. When someone needs a clean cup, everyone moves down the table. Do not say “cat” around Dormouse (James MacDonald). And “if you don’t like tea, you can at least make polite conversation.” She has to follow the rules of the table, no matter how crazy they may seem.
She also learns a lot from the Queen of Hearts (Verna Felton). “Look up, speak nicely, and don’t twiddle your fingers. Turn out your toes, curtsey. Open your mouth a little wider. And always say ‘yes, your majesty’.” The queen is very direct in her instruction and Alice takes it in.
The Cheshire Cat (Sterling Holloway) is probably the only exception to this argument. He does not follow any rules or logic, not even science (he even disappears). He is happy to make the queen mad; “it’s loads of fun”. Maybe he is teaching her that chaos and madness is a choice she could make.
Here is an interesting article about gender roles, drug use, and class struggle in this movie and the stories by Lewis Carroll.
Thanks for reading!