Jefferson Airplane: White Rabbit Meaning
Song Released: 1967
White Rabbit Lyrics
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...
My own experiences in the 60's greatly influence my interpretation of White Rabbit. This was a time of naivete, innocence, confusion, hard decisions, stress and thought provocation. White Rabbit acknowledges that advice from older generations do not seem to make sense in our current world, and we are more open to look to unconventional solutions. Everyone was looking for better answers or explanations and looking in some unfulfilling places (like drugs). This song seemed to offer some very good advise using an "Alice in Wonderland" analogy. Alice was naive, innocent and looking for answers. In pursuit of her answers she follows unfamiliar elements to a unreal world. As she wanders through this world looking for answers she experiences and learns many lessons. White Rabbit advises us to ask Alice (who has already tried the 'unreal' route looking for answers) before we accept, try or count-on alternate sources of answers - 'don't take drugs' is the message I heard. Keep learning and acquiring knowledge to fill your head with better understanding of the real world is the best course for us to follow and not get 'lost' down a rabbit hole. Open our eyes to see and live in the real world with all of its imperfections; not to retreat into a world made up of wishful, unrealistic 'trips'. WAKE UP! Learn from Alice's mistakes. Don't wish for things to be better...work for them to be better.
anonymous Jul 8th, 7:58am report
All songs have a story behind them. It is up to the listener to interpret them properly. If the song becomes a hit, the band makes money. I perceived it as a mix of Alice in Wonderland, drugs, (go ask Alice when she's ten feet tall)protest(Vietnam war) and placebos(the ones that mother gives you don't do anything at all). Grace Slick was a great singer and helped Starship grow with her vocals. I wish I would have seen them in concert.
anonymous Dec 20th, 2015 12:58am report
Wake up. The music is a rebellious drum march. Any anti drug info from Grace is just she wants to make money on it now as an old white haired freak. The music just chugs along . Cassidy is hitting it hard . The guitar solo Olin the intro is just haunting . Artists are Artists. Sometimes not good to iverinterpret. This is about altered states. Yet it is one of the best songs from an American Band Ever!
kooljohn176 Oct 16th, 2015 10:44pm report
Great song, but stay away from certain drugs to expierience the ''Alice in Wonderland'' story in a vividly form that comes alive by the use of cerain drugs in the dissociate family like ''angel dust'' [pcp] that on a bad trip you can actually see and feel yourself with your body shrinking very small, while everything around you seems that is getting very large in the high by the drug that tricks your mind to feel the exploring terror of being sucked down the rabbit's hole for food in the fear that you would be eaten alive.
anonymous Sep 12th, 2013 9:13pm report
are u serious?! its obviously about degrating parents and abusing drugs.
anonymous Aug 29th, 2013 8:23pm report
OK, let's clarify an older post. Alice in Wonderland was written by Lewis who did drugs (as did his friend Walt Disney) and NOT with any relation to the Wizard of Oz's three characters. Someone does not know their literature. It is about Drugs and Alice had the Drink me and Eat me items (LSD in liquid form added to drinks for women and Mushrooms to eat). While it makes sense for folks to believe the media hype for the band members who are in desperate need to be clean, the continued use would not make them poster children preaching anti-drugs to their throng of followers who are also using. Yes, this and many other songs during this time are about double meanings and trying to get past the morality patrol of the air waves.
anonymous Jan 14th, 2013 1:40am report
to understand the slang of the era, growing up in the haight ashbury district in the 1960's was all about experimenting with acid, maryjane, hash, etc...
back in the day hippies would get high on grass and read alice in wonderland.
the book became very popular with the flower children of san fransisco because it had a catipillar smoking a pipe on the cover and angel trumphet or datura (also called deadly nightshade) plant growing in the background. not a marijuana plant, because the flower was that of the former not later. this meant that lewis carol knew all about smoking and so did all our funky old grand parents were stoners when it was legal.
anonymous Jan 10th, 2013 1:35pm report
Grace has said herself it is anti-drug...the words are wrong people...it's keep your head...listen...it's a k...also keep your head makes sense since the queen wants to take it off...She wrote the song...not with the Jefferson Airplane but The Great Society...google is your friend...trust me the words are wrong...
anonymous Apr 16th, 2012 4:43pm report
Often words and lyrics can have double meanings and this song is a good example. many of the lyrics are about drugs- thats obvious the good and the bad- one interapration says its a anti-war song I Wonder?
anonymous Jul 20th, 2011 7:51pm report
Ok people this song is about DRUGS!!! Even Alice in Wonderland is. The lion represents the anger, scarecrow shows no feeling, and the tin can dude shows emptiness. It is the 3 stages of addiction. The song is talking abiut how some pills will make you feel smaller or larger when you are high. "Go ask Alice when shes 10 ft tall" OBVIOSLY represents being high. And when she says "the ones that mother gives you dont do anything at all" she is fomparing the drugs that make you highto the over the counter medication your mother gives you when you are sick. All of Alice and Wonderland is all about Alice getting high. And all the plants you see is supposed to be marijuana. i mean she even mentions mushrooms. She is talking about how it feels to get high. Kid stories oftenhide meanings like this For example, even in Snow White, the seven dwarfs represent the stages of becoming addicted to drugs. And snow white IS the drug! If you have any more questions, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I mught be able to answer some of your questions...
anonymous Dec 5th, 2010 12:41pm report
Come on people, Get REAL! It talks about DRUGS and Grace Slice was singing about the experiences of the psychedelic 60's in San Fransisco, the start of the flower power generation. An innocent Alice was talking about discovery. IT IS ABOUT DRUGS and FLING HIGH, LEARNING, Tripping on acid, Discovery, PERIOD!!!
anonymous Oct 21st, 2009 10:02am report
The song was not used to highlight the book "Go Ask Alice", the book was titled that because of the song. The song is about drug use in the 60's, not about the fairytale.
anonymous Feb 10th, 2009 2:30pm report
This is clearly a reference to Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. The song apparently was also used to highlight the book Go Ask Alice.
anonymous Feb 10th, 2009 2:53pm report
I think this song speaks of drugs and the way they make you feel for example once tall and once small. What better way to describe it than the story of Alice in wonderland.
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