November 2, 2011

“A dream-thought is unusable so long as it is expressed in an abstract form; but when once it has been transformed into pictorial language, contrasts and identifications of the kind which the dream-work requires, and which it creates if they are not already present,can be established more easily than before between the new form of expression and the remainder of the material underlying the dream. This is so because in every language concrete terms, in consequence of the history of their development, are richer in associations than conceptual ones. We may suppose that a good part of the intermediate work done during the formation of a dream, which seeks to reduce the dispersed dream-thoughts to the most succinct and unified expression possible, proceeds along the line of finding appropriate verbal transformations for the individual thoughts.”

-Sigmund Freud

Using the above quotation, we can find two concrete tasks for the purpose of interpreting literary texts from the point of view of Freud’s Dream-work:

1.) Metaphors can be represented in many different ways. Freud mentions ‘pictorial language’, an example of which might be the usage of a mockingbird to represent innocence. We must analyze the imagery described and see if there’s a deeper meaning in it.

2.) Metaphors are useless unless they can be identified. If we are unfamiliar with the images being put forth, we will not be able to understand their meaning, and as such we must understand what exactly a mockingbird is before we can conclude that it represents innocence.

In short, we must search for meaning in imagery and we must be able to understand what said imagery is.

2 Responses to “Dreams”

  1.   Kevin L. Ferguson said:

    So, he might not care much about the story/plot distinction Forster made; it’s not about structure, but about the images that appear?

  2.   mikadroz said:

    Hmm, well, I’d imagine that both of those do have some importance but only a minor one because a dream is far less developed than a finished short story. The images, however, seem to be the portion of the dream we have the most control over, even if it is subconsciously.

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