"White Rabbit" as written by and Grace Wing Slick....
One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you, don't do anything at all

Go ask Alice, when she's ten feet tall

And if you go chasing rabbits, and you know you're going to fall
Tell 'em a hookah-smoking caterpillar has given you the call

And call Alice, when she was just small

When the men on the chessboard get up and tell you where to go
And you've just had some kind of mushroom, and your mind is moving low

Go ask Alice, I think she'll know

When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead
And the white knight is talking backwards
And the red queen's off with her head
Remember what the dormouse said
Feed your head, feed your head


Lyrics submitted by kevin, edited by ILoveMyCat

"White Rabbit" as written by Grace Wing Slick

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

White Rabbit song meanings
Add your thoughts

211 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +5
    General CommentRaspberry has obviously never experienced hugs ON drugs. It's the best feeling in the world :)
    FearAndLoathingon June 03, 2002   Link
  • +4
    General CommentAlthough this song refers to Drugs many many times, it is not, for the most part about drugs. This song is about the Vietnam War/protest.

    One pill makes you larger....... This set of lyrics refers to the choice between protesting (making you a big person) versus joining the war (making you a small, ie insignificant person), and adding that your parents can do nothing to help you make the choice. "Go ask alice when she's ten feet tall" refers to not fitting in and being disruptive as alice does when she grows large in the book.

    If you go chasing rabbits........... this set of lyrics refers to getting drafted "a hookah-smoking caterpiller refers to a tank. The caterpiller, ie tank has given you THE call not a call, and at the time THE call most definitely refers to getting drafted. Go ask alice when she was just small refers to the small pill choice and how much danger alice was in when she was small.

    When the men on the chessboard get up and tell you where to go... this set of lyrics refers to when the military (chess pieces, ie knights, pawns etc. are military pieces) tells you to go to vietnam (where to go at the time) and your mind is moving low refers to not knowing what to do.

    Call Alice I think she'll know: When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead... this set of lyrics is specifically about the vietnam war. refering to the large amount of men killed in the war (sloppy swamp setting) the white knight talking backwards (he doesn't talk backwards in the book) refers the United states army stating that it's coming to the rescue not making sense, ie talking backwards, and the red queen refers to the communist who are killing all our men (off there heads)

    This next line is a little confusing until you read the "who stole the tarts chapter" the line IS remember what the dormouse said. This is confusing because it is referencing the Mad Hatter. The Mad Hatter is on the witness stand and faces execution if he can't "remember what the dormouse said" As a result he runs away before the queen of Hearts, ie the red queen has a chance to chop of his head.

    Feed your head is not what the dormouse said. It's telling you to educate yourself. You feed your head by learning. Said twice for emphasis. The last line is pleading with the listener to LEARN!LEARN!!

    This song had to be written with symbolism, as it was telling people to dodge the draft.

    just4funon November 26, 2011   Link
  • +3
    General CommentLOL, I said "no" to drugs but they didn't listen!!
    Starfish_182on May 05, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General Commentdude this song is about alice in wonderland not about go ask alice, they just pretty much names the book it after the song, this is deffinetly about alice in wonderland.
    avoidteddybearson June 07, 2003   Link
  • +3
    General Commentok ok i want to set you all straight. i actually listen to jefferson airplane and actually know about this song. she was tripping when she wrote it so it is about an acid trip but most of the ideas were taking from the book "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through The Looking Glass" by Lewis Carroll which was written back in 1910 or something and had nothing to do with drugs but was a story written for a little girl that Lewis Carroll was obsessed with. The book Go Ask Alice was published after the song was released and they took the name of the book from the song. so hahaha. i know what i am talking about and jefferson airplane kicks ass. now lets see what other songs you people have ruined with you stupid meanings.
    thisisgayon April 12, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General Commentthis song is clearly about an acid trip mixed with other hallucinogens
    demonica713on April 30, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentFor some reason, I feel a little bit high just by listening to this song.
    washingtonative91on September 24, 2005   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI have a sneaking suspicion that this song is about drugs.
    Atralison December 06, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General CommentClearly the song is about drug use in correlation with the Alice in Wonderland story, but no has mentioned a deeper meaning that goes along with the song as well...This song is also an anti-war song, (Vietnam). As were many songs during this era. They don't explicitly say this, but you can definitely draw parallels:

    "And if you go chasing rabbits
    And you know you're going to fall," (War)

    "Tell 'em a hookah smoking caterpillar
    Has given you the call." (President/draft)

    "When the men on the chessboard
    Get up and tell you where to go" (Government)

    "When logic and proportion
    Have fallen sloppy dead," (Lost cause, failure of Vietnam)

    Clearly yes, it is a hallucination about drug use and a commentary on such, but I do think there is a deeper meaning in these lyrics...Jefferson Airplane were very anti-war so I can see this song as being a metaphor for the war as well...The white knight, and the red queen, perhaps countries...hmm interesting trippy song this classic is :)
    kidmaxxxxon October 03, 2007   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningOne of Grace Slick's earliest songs, written during either late 1965 or early 1966, uses imagery found in the fantasy works of Lewis Carroll: 1865's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its 1871 sequel Through the Looking-Glass, such as changing size after taking pills or drinking an unknown liquid. It is commonly thought that these are also references to the hallucinatory effects of psychedelic drugs, such as LSD and psilocybin mushrooms. Characters referenced include Alice, the hookah-smoking caterpillar, the White Knight, the Red Queen, and the Dormouse.

    For Slick and others in the 1960s, drugs were a part of mind-expanding and social experimentation. With its enigmatic lyrics, "White Rabbit" became one of the first songs to sneak drug references past censors on the radio. Even Marty Balin, Slick's eventual rival in Jefferson Airplane, regarded the song as a "masterpiece". In interviews, Slick has related that Alice in Wonderland was often read to her as a child and remained a vivid memory into her adult years.
    I
    n an interview with The Wall Street Journal Slick mentioned that in addition to Alice in Wonderland her other inspiration for the song was "the bolero used by Miles Davis and Gil Evans on their 1960 album Sketches of Spain."[5] The song is essentially one long crescendo similar to that of Ravel's famous Boléro. However, Bolero is not on the Sketches of Spain album. The music combined with the song's lyrics strongly suggests the sensory distortions experienced with hallucinogens, and the song was later used in pop culture to imply or accompany just such a state.

    While the Red Queen and the White Knight are both mentioned in the song, the references differ from Lewis Carroll's original text, wherein the White Knight does not talk backwards and it is the Queen of Hearts, not the Red Queen, who says "Off with her head!"
    The last lines of the song are: "Remember what the Dormouse said. Feed your head. Feed your head." Although commonly interpreted as quoting the Dormouse, the lines may instead refer to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter XI: "Who Stole the Tarts", wherein a very nervous Mad Hatter is called to testify:

    'But what did the Dormouse say?' one of the jury asked.

    'That I can't remember', said the Hatter.

    He was probably too stoned.
    ronhamburgon July 21, 2013   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain