The assignment is to recall a dream and analyze it from one or two
theoretical perspectives we've learned thus far in dream analysis.
Dreams have been a vehicle to express emotions, thoughts and feelings.
Sometimes they pose questions which have been rooted in our conscious.
Dreams are personalized works which we have consciously directed and
created in our minds and no one interpretation is right or wrong. Weeks
later upon receiving this assignment I had an incredible dream of my
mother of which I will never forget.
It was a beautiful sunny day, not one cloud to blemish the
sky. I remember this particular afternoon being warm and bright. The
scenery seemed to depict a post card perfect summer's day. My mother and
I were walking in a park, a park I've never visited or seen. I felt as
if anyone were to stare at us they could see the contentment and harmony
radiating from myself. I was watching myself lay down on very soft green
grass, but before I did I turned around to see if my mother was still
near. I saw myself lay down under a tree. This tree was uniquely
beautiful because of its thin twisting, almost fragile looking branches.
The tree was unusual for it was bare, there were no leaves, nor was it
green. The tree just stood by itself colored naked and bare for all to
witness. The birds of summer seemed to favor this unique looking tree by
gathering and sitting on its thin but strong branches. I laid under this
tree looking up towards the birds feeling happy. I heard myself laughing
and listening to these birds singing. Where after I walked towards a
pond, a man made pond of gray marble brick. An immense wall lining a
narrow stairwell was to its left. My mother was kneeling by the pond
wading her hand just above the water, touching it very delicately. This
was her pond and her pond had the most incredibly beautiful bright fish.
They consisted of aqua blue, yellow and green colored fish with fins that
seemed to be as fine as hair as it floated towheads my mother's hands. I
watched myself watching her, feeling as if I was invading a private
moment and in awe of the spectacle I was witnessing.
We left the park and her pond and were on our way home. As
we walked arm in arm the weather seemed to be getting darker and colder.
The clouds rolling in seemed to be constricting and threatening to engulf
us. We arrived an immense bridge which was hundreds of feet above a body
of murky water. I felt threatened and didn't trust crossing this bridge
and my mother instinctively new my fear and preceded to cross, reassuring
me it was safe. I didn't cross the bridge but watched her take her steps
alone. She reached the middle of the bridge and it collapsed. I ran
towards the edge looking down at my mother as she was struggling to hold
on and trying to get a better grip. She was calling out my name, begging
me to help her, but I just stood there frozen in silence and feeling no
emotion. I saw her fingers turn white as they lost their hold one by
one, until she was holding on with just one hand. She turned her head to
look at me one last time before she lost the grip in her other hand and
fell. I remember hearing no noise of her body hitting the water, just
empty silence, but the expression of her face is etched into my memory.
Remembering this dream brings up emotions of guilt and was
painful to envision. There are many theoretical perspectives one can use
to analyze such dreams. Ultimately to find a potential explanation or
interpretation of what dreams mean. I have looked closer into the works
of Sigmund Freud to study what this all means and maybe find an
appropriate analysis of my dream.
Freud is one of the most popular theorists today and has developed
many theoretical perspectives pertaining to personality. He organized
three levels of mental life; the unconscious, preconscious and the
conscious. Simply put the unconscious is the irretrievable stuff in our
memory, the preconscious if the retrievable stuff and the conscious if
the stuff in current awareness.
Over lapping this concept is his three levels of the mind
which are the Id, Ego and Superego. The "id" is a part of the mind which
seeks pleasure, it is irrational and not rooted in reality. The "ego"
serves the reality principle and is more rational and connected to
reality. Finally, we have the "superego" which is our moral and
idealistic principle. It speaks as your conscious, judging and making
you feel guilty. All these concepts display sides of personality whether
good or bad.
Freud believed that dreams or "Freudian slips" were a
"disguised means of expressing unconscious impulses or hidden desires."
He gave greater emphasis to that of the latent content over the manifest
content . The latent content being the unconscious material in our
dream which reduces anxiety. Whereas the manifest content is the
surface meaning or the dream as recalled by the dreamer. Freud's basic
assumption was that all dreams are wish-fulfillment's.
Freud noted three typical anxiety dreams: the embarrassment
dream of nakedness, dreams of death of a beloved person and dreams of
failing an exam. In my case I dreamt the death of my mother and felt
guilty for not saving her. Freud interprets the death of an older person
such as a parent as fulfilling the Oedipal wish. During my dream I felt
anxiety and guilt which he depicts as typical for adults as well as
children. The female Oedipus complex is a term used by Freud to indicate
feelings of hostility for the mother and sexual love for the father.
Although I dreamt of death, he states that I do not necessarily mean to
have a death wish for my mother. I agree it could have been a reflection
of hostility towards her but disagree greatly with the generalization of
sexual love for my father.
There was a significant emphasis on the description of the
tree. The tree looked fragile, thin and naked. This could be
interpreted according to Freud as an anxiety of the embarrassment dream
of nakedness. Adults repress the desire to exhibit the nakedness of
oneself. Freud may have interpreted the tree as a reflection of myself
and the birds as spectators. These particular spectators refrain from
scolding and make me feel accepted and happy.
Dream content may be distorted through condensation and
displacement according to Freud. Condensation is the compression of
several ideas of the latent manifest content. Condensation is embodied
by three characteristics of compression, omission and fragments.
Compression is the latent content projecting itself towards the manifest
content. Omission is a "guardian" which doesn't let the latent element
through. Fragments are pieces of the latent element which does get
through. Displacement is the shift of emphasis from important to
unimportant (vice-versa) in the manifest content or the replacement of
latent item with a remote item. My dreams seem to have a greater
emphasis on the 'nice' things such as grass, trees, water and deemphasized
the 'dark' side of the dream leading up to my mother's fall.
Freud concluded this structuralisation of the dream to reduce fearful or
Sexuality is a recurring them in the works of Freud and it is
believed to be the root problem or feeling in our dreams. Nakedness and
sexuality also play a major role in my dream which display symbolic
meaning, psychoanalytic importance (latent content). Freud generalized
the manifest content to always relate to conscious and preconscious
material from the day before.
Freud believed that dreams were wish-fulfillment's, of course
this is not the case with my dream of my mother falling. He perceived
many of our wishes in dreams as originating during our early childhood
experiences. This resulted from the suppression of infantile sexual
behaviour which recur many years later in our dreams. He distinguished
that not all dreams originate in childhood experiences, but result from
adult wishes. Freud contributed to the works of dream interpretation and
his is just one of many insights to the mystical world of dreams.
Everyone has their interpretative analysis and no one answer is right,
but we may come closer to a simplistic generalization, maybe even
produce a dictionary on how to read your dream.