Dream Children A Reverie

Dream Children A Reverie Analysis Questions Answers 





Dream Children A Reverie Questions Answers Analysis



■ Dream Children A Reverie essay type questions answers:

What is the significance of the title Dream Children A Reverie?

Ans: Charles Lamb is an immortal name in the history of English essays. It is in his essays Lamb's genius is revealed. He wrote subjective essays of excellent quality and they are yet unsurpassed in literary values in English literature. Lamb very carefully chooses the titles of his essays and the title of "Dream Children, A Reverie" is not an exception. If we analyse the content of the essay, we shall realise the significance of the title of "Dream Children, A Reverie".

The essay begins with the sentence, "Children love to listen to stories about their elder..... It was in this spirit that my little ones crept about me the other evening." Lamb then told stories to his two children, John and Alice. But who are these children? Are they real or imaginary? On the answer of these questions, depends the appropriateness of the title of the essay. 

After going through the essay, we can unhesitatingly say that these two children are imaginary. They are the creations of Lamb's intense longing. They are his dear children. The fact is that Charles Lamb was a life-long bachelor. But when he was young, he made love to a young lady, Ann Simmons by name (Alice W.....n in the essay). He wanted to marry her and dreamt of a happy conjugal life with her. He wished to have loving children to cheer his home. But unfortunately he could not translate his sweet dreams into reality. Lamb had an insane sister. Her name was Mary. Lamb loved her deeply. He thought if he had married, his wife might not like his insane sister and in that case she might be in trouble. Thus, thinking of the welfare of his insane sister, Lamb gave up the idea of marrying Ann Simmons (Alice W....n) and he suppressed his deep desire. He forced upon himself the life of a bachelor. But his unfulfilled desire remained dormant in him and it found a touching expression in his day-dream or reverie. After his elder brother John's premature death, Lamb sat grief-stricken in his bachelor arm-chair. He was in depressed mood and in reverie. When he lost all control over his conscious mind his suppressed desire came up to the surface and they took the shapes of two lovely children - John and Alice, one son and one daughter. The son was named 'John' after the name of Charles Lamb's elder brother John Lamb who was just dead and the daughter was named 'Alice' after the name of Lamb's sweet-heart Alice Winterton (i.e Ann Simmons). Thus, Lamb immortalised their names through his two children.

Lamb tells the children about their great-grandmother, Mrs. Field, their uncle John and their affectionate mother, Alice Winterton and about himself also. But towards the end of the story, these two children gradually receded away and at last, they turn into two mournful features and, as if, said to Lamb, "We are not of Alice, nor of thee, nor are we children at all. The children of Alice call Bartrum father. We are nothing, less than nothing and dreams. We are only what might have been and must wait upon the tedious shores of Lethe millions of ages before we have existence and a name."

These sad utterances of the two children clearly point out that they are the dream children. They are the outward expressions of Lamb's sweet suppressed desires. Therefore, the title of the essay, "Dream Children A Reverie" is quite significant and appropriate. It clearly brings out the unfulfilled dreams and desires of Lamb's life with deep pathos and leaves a deep impression on our minds. 

Humour and pathos in Dream Children A Reverie 

Ans: Charles Lamb is one of the greatest essayists of all ages. He introduced into English essays an ineffable personal charm that never was on the land and sea. He described the various incidents and experiences of his life with a rare romantic imagination, emotion and sensibility. He also blends facts and fictions, humour and pathos in a fine artistic way. His essays become especially impressive because of a peculiar synthesis of humour and pathos in them. Let us discuss this very feature in his famous essay "Dream Children A Reverie" 

"Dream Children A Reverie" can be considered as one of the finest personal essays in English literature. In it Charles Lamb described how his sweet suppressed desire of his heart came up to the surface and took the shapes of two lovely dream children. There was pathos in the essay when Lamb had just lost his elder brother and took a seat in a arm-chair. He was depressed and lost in the world of reverie. Lamb wanted to happy conjugal life and wished to have children who could cheer his house with joy and laughter. But his unfulfilled desire came to his day-dream in a grief stricken mood. Pathos was also sharply accentuated in the utterances of dream children where as if, they say that "We are not of Alice, nor of the, nor are we children at all. The children of Alice call Bartrum father. We are nothing, less than nothing and dreams. We are only what might have been and must wait upon the tedious shores of Lethe millions of ages before we have existence and a name." Such a pathos we can not even detect in Dickens. 

But side by side with pathos, there is humour n Lamb's essays. As life is mingled with smile and tear, so in Lamb's essays we can not separate them from each other. In the words of Compton Rickett, "Lamb's humour and pathos are really inseparable from one another, they are different facets of the same gem." There is innocent humour found in the essay "Dream Children a Reverie." This humour as Walter Pater has put it in his essay on Charles Lamb, is the "laughter which blends with tears." In "Dream Children A Reverie" Lamb's humour and pathos are blended with superb artistry. Little Alice's involuntary movement of her feet at the mention of Mrs. Field's fine dance, Alice's spontaneous spreading of her hands at the mention of Mrs. Field's wonderful memorisation of the Psalms of the Bible, John's looking courageous at the mention of the ghost's story, his shy putting of the grapes hearing his father's reluctance towards fruits and such other delicate humorous touches enliven the entire essay. 

This humour is always characterised by geniality, lovingness and pleasing sensations. Nowhere there is satire of swift, no intolerance of a narrow minded bigot. On the other hand, there are intellect, fun, sympathy and catholicity in his humour. He often creates humour at his own cost, belittling himself. He, indeed, like Shakespeare, laughs with the world and not at the world.

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