Dreams in Literature

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The ability to dream may be uniquely human. These dreams exist with no purpose other than achievement. In many cases, a dream, not an instinct, drives human action. Certainly, dreams are central to the human life. Since one of the main purposes of literature is to reflect on that life, some dream must be included. The achievement of the dream is completely up to the author, and what his/her thoughts are on the achievement of dreams. Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, and Zora Neale Hurston all use certain literary elements to craft their theme of the achievement of dreams, which is viewed and portrayed differently by each: grievously, by Williams; pessimistically, by Faulkner; and with a modicum of optimism by Hurston. Hardly a better adjective exists than “grievous” to describe Williams’ attitude toward dreams and their achievement in his play “The Glass Menagerie.” Williams does not treat dreams violently and harshly, but sadly and poignantly, using symbolism and stage lighting. Amanda’s jonquil dress, a momentum from days long past, is one important symbol. The revival of the dress, a remnant of Amanda’s courting days, shows the extent to which her dream of living through Laura pervades her life. The use of the “girlish” dress makes it seem as though Jim is visiting Amanda, rather than Laura, returning Amanda to her happiest days (Williams 53). The clearest and most important symbol is Laura’s glass unicorn. It represents her; its changes mirror hers. She only places the unicorn out in the open when Jim arrives, and, not completely intentionally, opens herself to him. As Laura shares her first dance with Jim, the unicorn falls, and its horn, the only thing distinguishing and separating it from the other horses, breaks off... ... middle of paper ... ...shback, Hurston notes that one can help others with their dreams, and still accomplish one’s own, so long as the dreams of others do not become permanent priorities. People’s thoughts on dreams vary, and so dreams are shown in differing ways throughout literature. All three authors agree that the attainment of a dream is not guaranteed; it requires some work. From there, they use different techniques to refine their opinions. In their respective novels, Hurston offers some hope for the dreamer in humanity, while Faulkner scoffs and tells them what to do, and Williams urges them to give up while there’s still time to avoid heartache. Differing opinions such as these are found through a span of literature, and they offer comprehensive readers food for thought, and a chance to think about and form their own opinions, in this case, about the attainability of dreams.
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