Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass
How we cite our quotes:
"I can't believe that!" said Alice.
"Can't you?" the Queen said in a pitying tone. "Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes."
Alice laughed. "There's no use trying," she said: "one can't believe impossible things."
"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." (Looking-Glass 5.53-56)
While the White Queen's advice may sound mad at first, believing "six impossible things before breakfast" has become a common phrase to describe exercising one's imagination. The imagination is just another skill that can be sharpened with practice.
"I only wish I had such eyes," the King remarked in a fretful tone. "To be able to see Nobody! And at that distance too! Why, it's as much as I can do to see real people, by this light!" (Looking-Glass 7.8)
Interpreting turns of phrase literally is one of the ways that Lewis Carroll creates the impression of a mad, wacky fantasy world.
"So I wasn't dreaming, after all," she said to herself, "unless – unless we're all part of the same dream. Only I do hope it's my dream, and not the Red King's! I don't like belonging to another person's dream," she went on in a rather complaining tone: "I've a great mind to go and wake him, and see what happens!" (Looking-Glass 8.1)
At first, the question of who dreams the adventure in Looking-Glass World, Alice or the Red King, seems to have some kind of deep philosophical significance. Is she generating her own adventure, or just a character in somebody else's? But at second glance, we realize how crazy this sounds. Of course Alice is the dreamer, and of course she's in no danger if the Red King wakes up.