It Is Not Just A Normal Dream

1178 words - 5 pages

Most people including me often dream of an element of fantasies or longings from reality. Dreams are interesting because sometimes they are so vivid and very intense that you cannot tell if they are realafter awaking up. People have dreamed of things they wish would happen or already happened. “Dream Children: A Reverie,” written by Charles Lamb,an English essayist, talks about a dream he had in his essay. This essay was first published in 1823 as a collection in “Essays of Elia.” Brander Matthews, first United States professor of dramatic literature, notes about Lamb and his essay, “Dream Children: A Reverie.” “Lamb is the heir of the eighteenth century essayist, but with a richer ...view middle of the document...

This essay reflects on Charles Lamb’s personal life, childhood memory, and his struggles with characters that appear in his essay.
Although Lamb’s personal life was of disappointments and frustrations, he did not complain. Instead, he looked at the harshness of his life, its miseries and worries as a “mechanical humorist” (Lucas 221). When he was five, he suffered from small pox. Thomas Craddock says, Lamb was very “sensitive, nervous, delicate, retiring, and ill formed” (10). In September 1796, Lamb’s sister Mary killed his mother while suffering from a mental illness. Edward Lucas describes, “…while the family were preparing for dinner, the young lady seized a case knife laying on the table…on the eager calls of her helpless infirm mother to forbear, she renounced her first object, and with loud shrieks approached her parent”(94). Due to the frequent illnesses and family tragedies like the death of his mother and father, Charles Lamb did not have many blissful memories of his childhood. Some of Lamb's fondest childhood memories were spent with Mrs. Field, his maternal grandmother. In Lamb’s essay, he describes her as a person who was very responsible, religious, beloved and respected by everybody. Lamb says, “she lived in it in a manner as if it had been her own, and kept up the dignity of the great house” (Lopate170). He also talks about how Field loved all her grandchildren. Throughout this essay, Lamb enjoys telling stories about his grandmother to his children, Alice and John.
In Charles Lamb’s dream, he creates fantasy characters like Alice, John, Alice W., and John L. Lamb presents these children in such ways that readers can never guess that they are figments. He describes their movements, their reactions and their expressions realistically. A Good example can be found on page 170 of ‘The Art of The Personal Essay’ when Lamb talks about how graceful his grandmother was. “Alice spread her hands…here Alice’s little right foot played an involuntary movement” (Lopate). John L. and Alice W. are both real life characters that once existed in his life. John L, who Charles Lamb describes as “so handsome and spirited a youth…a king to the rest of us…”(Lopate171), is his brother in real life. Alice W. or Ann Simmons was a girl Charles Lamb used to love. Edward Lucas states in his biography, “in 1796, he still loved her, or loved...

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