Dreams

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Dreams have long been a topic of intrigue for artists of all forms. In the literary sense, authors have explored the world of dreams in a plethora of manners, ranging from depicting nonsensical, imaginary worlds to crafting scenes that depict the inner workings of the subconscious mind. In both Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Artist of the Beautiful, the world of dreams is explored through the eyes and thoughts of two curious characters. While Carroll exposes the illogical, absurd elements present in dreams, Hawthorne focuses on the personal, meaningful aspects existing in subconscious thoughts. In The Artist of the Beautiful, the protagonist Owen Warland encounters the idea of dreams in a variety of manners. For Owen the repetitive monotony of waking life becomes almost unbearable, and he strives to break free from the world he physically inhabits, a world controlled in a mechanical sense by time and social responsibility. Hawthorne elaborates on the notion that Owen Warland lives more in his internal world filled by the minute details other people tend to pass by. Owen, an apprentice in a watchmaker’s shop, is known throughout the town for his creative, beautiful pieces, however he is simultaneously looked down upon for his wandering mind, a mind that does not subscribe the ideals of brawn and practicality advocated by those around him. As the reader follows Owen in his pursuit to capture “beauty” in a tangible form, they come to see what dreams signify for Hawthorne. Hawthorne’s reference to dreams is that of knowing they are not real. Owen sees certain things in his mind, fully aware they do not exist in reality, yet strives to capture the desirable elements of his dreams. By attempt... ... middle of paper ... ...sed of “murdering time” therefore now it is “always tea-time.” As this seems completely ludicrous to Alice, she begins to question the twisted concept of time in this world. “What a funny watch! [...] It tells the day of the month and doesn’t tell what o’clock it is!” proclaims Alice (Carroll 54). As she becomes more aware of the distortion of time, Alice becomes more and more confused about when and how things happen and proceed in this land. Although Alice is fully immersed in Wonderland in her dream, where it essentially is the world she lives in, it is evident that she still holds elements, such as time, from her real life. The absence of time in Wonderland reflects the significance and undeniable need for time in Alice’s mind. Here, the characters live in a time-free environment, and it is not until they awake from their dreams that time continues to pass.

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