Who are you? Explain yourself! The Caterpillar smokes his hookah and gives Alice the what-for. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
The Caterpillar took the hookah out of its mouth and addressed Alice in a languid, sleepy voice. “Who are you?” said the Caterpillar.
Alice replied, rather shyly, “I — I hardly know, sir, just at present — at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have changed several times since then.”
“What do you mean by that?” said the Caterpillar, sternly. “Explain yourself!”
“I can’t explain myself, I’m afraid, sir,” said Alice, “because I’m not myself, you see — being so many different sizes in a day is very confusing.” She drew herself up and said very gravely, “I think you ought to tell me who you are, first.”
“Why?” said the Caterpillar.
As Alice could not think of any good reason and the Caterpillar seemed to be in a very unpleasant state of mind, she turned away.
“Come back!” the Caterpillar called after her. “I’ve something important to say!” Alice turned and came back again.
“Keep your temper,” said the Caterpillar.
“Is that all?” said Alice, swallowing down her anger as well as she could.
“No,” said the Caterpillar.
It unfolded its arms, took the hookah out of its mouth again, and said, “So you think you’re changed, do you?”
“I’m afraid, I am, sir,” said Alice. “I can’t remember things as I used — and I don’t keep the same size for ten minutes together!”
“Well, what size do you want to be?” asked the Caterpillar.
We here at psnt.net have always loved this scene. Why? It’s not the drugged-out larval Lepidoptera. It’s not the mushroom, the hookah, or the drifting smoke, although these things are pretty cool. It’s also not the three-inch-high Alice. What it is, is the voice of the Caterpillar: Who are you? Explain yourself! What size do you want to be? Such magnificence.
How do you, dear Alert Reader, handle these questions?