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Down the rabbit hole

Posted by R. Berg on June 20, 2001

In Reply to: Down the rabbit hole posted by ESC on June 19, 2001

: : : : Recently, someone sent me an e-mail and used the expression "I suppose I've got to see what there is down that rabbit hole." What he *seemed* to be getting at was that he realized he might be digging himself into a philosophical or emotional trap, but that he wanted to go ahead anyway. So, what I'm wondering is, is there any general meaning to "down the rabbit hole"? Thanks. - Patty

: :
: : : I would assume (and it is an assumption) that he's referring to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, which begins with curious Alice following the White Rabbit down the rabbit hole.

: : Going down the rabbit hole led Alice into a strange, dreamlike world where things didn't make sense. (Very dreamlike. At the end, she woke up.) Your correspondent may have been suggesting that satisfying his curiosity might produce bizarre or paradoxical experiences.

: Would "down the rabbit hole" be like the line from Wizard of Oz that people frequently quote: "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore. We must be over the rainbow."

Sort of, I think. Similarity: Both expressions imply entering a different reality, (figuratively) going to an alien place, losing touch with what's familiar. Difference: In the contexts where I've heard it, the part that people quote, "We're not in Kansas anymore," has a sociopolitical tinge to its edges. It contrasts the culture of Middle America, viewed as being uniform, with an alternative that's hipper or farther out or radical but not the stuff of fantasy.