5. Life, what is it but a dream?

This question ends the poem that concludes Through the Looking‑Glass, reminding us that one can never be sure that life is more than a dream, since it is made of fleeting memories, arbitrary machinations, and essentially meaningless conclusions. Alice’s adventure in Through the Looking-Glass is a dream, even though it dramatizes her journey to young womanhood. Even as she wakes, Alice finds that the order of her room seems just as arbitrary and tenuous as the dream world from which she has emerged. Additionally, this quote brings to mind the Red King’s dream and the implications that human life exists as dream in the mind of a greater divine being. With this final question, Carroll suggests that we do not in fact exist as we imagine, and ultimately are no more than the shadowy dreams of a greater consciousness.