Dream Children A Reverie Questions Answers

The essay is about a dream. In the essay all characters are real except the children Alice and John. From the title we can guess that it is a dream and reverie also means a day dream. Alice and John are supposed to be the dream children or fanciful creation of Charles Lamb. To analyze the story Dream Children A Reverie, go through the Dream Children A Reverie Questions Answers 

Dream Children A Reverie Summary:

In “Dream Children A Reverie”, Charles Lamb transports readers into the contemplative recesses of his mind as he reflects on his unattainable desires and the fleeting nature of happiness. The essay begins with the narrator, identified as Elia, reminiscing about his youth and his imaginary family. He constructs a ;vivid fantasy world where he visualizes himself as the husband of Alice, a woman whom he loved in his youth, and as the father of dream children, Alice and John.

Full name of the essay is Dream Children A Reverie. The essay is about a dream. In the essay all characters are real except the children Alice and John. From the title we can guess that it is a dream and reverie also means a day dream.

Alice and John are the children of James Elia (Charles Lamb). They ask their father to tell them about their grandmother, Mrs. Field who has been acquainted to us by Lamb as perfect woman with great qualities. Incidents are real from the life of Lamb.

There is a story related to the house where grandmother Field was a keeper. It was about the murder of children by their cruel uncle. Alice and John came to know this story through a carved writing on a tree which was later brought down by a rich man. The the death of grandmother, the house-owner took away his belongings and place them in his new house where they look awkward. When grandmother was alive she used to sleep alone but Elia was afraid of the souls of infants murdered by uncle as it was thought that the house is haunted by the spirits of those children.

Elia has a brother, John who was full of enthusiasm and zeal. John was loved by everyone specially by grandmother. On the other hand, Elia’s childhood was full of isolation. He was lame and helped by John in every possible way. Unfortunately when John became lame, Elia never helped him and after his death he realized or missing him.

At the end of the essay, Alice and John are crying after hearing all this. Elia is looking his wife in the face of Alice. The children started to become faint and say to Elia or Lamb that we are not your real children and Alice is not your wife and our mother. Lamb wakes io and finds himself in armed chair and James Elia was vanished.

The whole story is based on the life of Lamb. He was never able to be married and remained childless. He is also regretting and remembering moments like about his brother, about his grandmother, his childhood etc. So the whole story of the essay is full of melancholy and sad tone of Lamb’s life. 

Charles Lamb’s Essay Dream Children a Reverie Questions Answers

1) What is the ballad of the children inscribed in the wood and where is is carved?

Ans: The ballad of the children in the wood is an ancient ballad which was included in “Percy’s Reliques”. The ballad narrates the sad story of two children who inherited the vast property of their father after his death. But the greedy uncle of those two children hired two murderers to kill the children. But one of the murderers, being kind hearted, left the children alive in the wood and killed the other murderer. The children due to hunger and lack of shelter in the forest died. Then a Robin Red breast saw their dead bodies and covered them with leaves. 

The story of this ballad was carved out in wood upon the chimney piece of the great hall in the big house in Norfolk where Mrs. Field, the grandmother of Charles Lamb lived.

2) What is Abbey in the essay “Dream Children: a Reverie”?

Ans: In “Dream Children: a Reverie” the term ‘Abbey’ refers to the West Minister Abbey which is the National Church of England. The author Charles Lamb mockingly refers to this term to reveal the foolishness of the owner of the house in Norfolk. The owner of the house destroyed the wooden chimney-piece and carried it away to his other fashionable house.

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3) Who is Lady C ?

Ans: In Charles Lamb’s “Dream Children: a Reverie”, Lady C is a fictitious name of a rich fashionable woman. The author actually means to say that pulling down of the wooden chimney-piece by the owner of the house in Norfolk is as foolish an act as might be by Lady C’s carrying away the west Minister Abbey to her fashionable drawing room.

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4) Why did both the rich and poor people attend the funeral ceremony of Mrs. Field?

Ans: In “Dream Children: a Reverie” Charles Lamb says that the funeral ceremony of his grandmother, Mrs. Field was attended both by rich and poor people from the neighbourhood for many miles round because she was loved and respected by all for her kind and religious psyche. 

5) Describe Mrs. Field. 

Ans: Mrs. Field was the grandmother of Charles Lamb, who lived in a great house in Norfolk. Both the rich and poor loved and respected her because of her kind heartedness and religiosity. She was a tall, upright and graceful woman and in her youth she was considered the best dancer. She died of cancer but before death the acute pain could not curb her indomitable spirit which perhaps came from her goodness and religiosity. 

6) What is the significance of the apparition of two infants?

Ans: The apparition of two infants gliding up and down the staircase seen by Mrs. Field is a retrospective vision of the ballad of the children in the wood, whose story was carved out on the chimney-piece in the Norfolk house where Mrs. Field lived. This reference is to prove the strength of mind of Mrs. Field who was not afraid of the apparition. On the other hand, though Charles Lamb did not see the apparition, he was afraid of it because of his weakness in mind due to his lack of religiosity. 

7) Explain the term “Twelve Caesars” as mentioned in the “Dream Children: a Reverie”.

Ans: The term “Twelve Caesars” taken from Charles Lamb’s essay “Dream Children: a Reverie” refers to the twelve Emperors of Rome from Julius Caesar to Domitian or from Caesar Augustus to Antonius Pius. The half busy sculptures of these twelve Roman emperors were seen by Charles Lamb in the Norfolk house where he went to spend his holidays. 

8) Describe the cheerful experience of Charles Lamb in the garden in his holidays. 

Ans: Charles Lamb, in his childhood, spent some cheerful holidays in the spacious garden behind the Norfolk house. He could, as if, establish a psychic communication with the garden. Sometimes he was lying on the fresh grass, being filled with the fragrance of the garden.

Sometimes he was bashing in the orangery and was ripened with the food. He stood in front of the yew trees or the firs or was strolling across the garden. He did not pick up fruits because the sight of these gave him a soothing comfort. Also he enjoyed the movements of various fishes in the pond. 

9) Describe the John Lamb, the brother of Charles Lamb. 

Ans: John Lamb was the brother of Charles Lamb. He outdid the latter in spirit and gusto. In stead of meditating in the solitary corners of the garden, he would like to ride on horses and join the hunters. Though he loved the Norfolk house and the garden, these places could not pent up his indomitable spirit. He was the only playmate and the only companion of Charles Lamb. He used to carry the lame-footed author on his back. But this kind-heartedness of John Lamb seemed to the author an act of sympathy rather than kindness. 

10) What is the pseudonym of Charles Lamb and where is taken from?

Ans: The pseudonym of Charles Lamb is Elia which was the name of an Italian clerk of South Sea House where Lamb had worked for sometime.

11) How did Charles Lamb miss his brother John Lamb?

Ans: After the death of John Lamb, Charles Lamb actually missed his brother’s existence but not his identity. He wished his brother to be alive again just to spend his lonely hours with him. With all his kindness and crossness his brother left him isolated and though he did not cry for his brother, his memory haunted him for all time. Actually Charles Lamb missed John Lamb not as his brother but as his companion. 

12) How did Charles Lamb present his beloved to his dream children?

Ans: While the dream children of Charles Lamb began to cry to hear of the sad end of their uncle, Charles Lamb tried to relieve their sorrow by describing how his beloved and their mother actually was. He told them that he had courted their mother for seven long years, sometimes in hope and sometimes in despair. He also told them that their mother was very much shy and it was very difficult for him to win her.

13) Explain the line “We are nothing, less than nothing and dreams” in Dream Children: a Reverie. 

Ans: The quoted line taken from Charles Lamb’s “Dream Children: a Reverie” testifies to the fact that the children described in this essay are nothing but the products of dream or imagination. When the two children grew gradually fainting to Lamb’s view, they without any speech impressed upon Lamb the effects of speech that they were nothing or non-existent in this mortal world.

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14) Why are the children called ‘Dream Children’? Or, Justify the title of the essay,  “Dream  Children a Reverie”.

Ans: Charles Lamb’s Dream Children: a Reverie weaves its story round the childhood of the author and it is presented through his interactions with his two imaginary children. The children are imaginary in the sense that they have no existence in the world because Charles Lamb was unmarried and he had no children. That the children are the products of dream or imagination is evident from the last portion of the essay, where we see that the children vanish. Actually, the children are the medium through which the essayist communicates with his own world of imagination and desire. Therefore, the title justified. 

15) How long did Charles Lamb gaze upon the half bust of the Twelve Caesars?

Ans: When Charles Lamb went to the Norfolk house to spend his holidays, he gazed upon twelve half bust sculptures of twelve Roman emperors in the great hall of the house. He looked at them with rapt attention and seemed to be identified with them. Actually, it was his deep absorption that made him feel that either he was borne to their petrified world or they were borne to his living world.

16) Trace the elements of humour and pathos in the essay “Dream Children: a Reverie”.

Ans: Charles Lamb’s “Dream Children: a Reverie” isca fine amalgam of hilarious humour and deep pathos. In the description of the dream children’s reaction to hear of the account of Lamb has a humorous touch. Alice’s act of moving her right foot and John’s depositing of the bunch of grapes back upon the plate are tinged with juvenile laughter. On the other hand, whe the children reacted at the account of the sad end of their uncle and spoke to Lamb that they were not his children, the mind of the reader is filled with pathos.

17) In what sense can the essay be called a “Reverie”?

Ans: Charles Lamb’s “Dream Children: a Reverie” is actually the product of the essayist’s imaginative mind and through his two imaginary children he actually wants to fulfill his unrequited desire and unquenched thirst for the bliss of family-life. He as a writer, knows very well that in reality his meeting with his children is impossible. But like a schizophrenic person he deliberately denies the reality and is sunk into the depth of imagination or fancy. Therefore, it can aptly be called a “Reverie”.

18. What did Lamb notice in the eyes of his dream daughter when he was narrating story?

Ans: In his autobiographical essay, Dream Children a Reverie, while narrating the story of his imaginary courtship with Alice Winterton, Charles Lamb suddenly turned towards his dream daughter, Alice and was astonished to find in her two little innocent eyes an exact and living image of her mother, the elder Alice.

Lamb was stunned at the sight and for the time being he could not perceive who it was really that was standing before him – the daughter or her mother. The bright hair of the girl seemed exactly like the hair of Lamb’s beloved. It was an astonishing likeness. And, as Lamb stood gazing in wonder, the figures of both the children (Alice and John) began to fade. A moment later, nothing of them was to be seen except two sad and mournful figures which though speechless, seemed to Lamb to be really speaking.

19. How does Charles Lamb present the autobiographical elements in his essay, Dream Children a Reverie?

Ans: The most notable feature of Charles Lamb’s essay, Dream Children a Reverie, is its autobiographical elements which are true to the facts of the childhood of the essayist. In his essay, Lamb has amalgamated the facts of reality with his power of imagination. Lamb presents the characters and incidents from his own life – the sketches of his grandmother, Mrs. Field, his brother John, his sister, Mary Lamb, his beloved Ann Simmons. But Lamb is always playing with facts and fictions and transforms the real into literary. 

20. How was the reverie ended in the “Dream Children A Reverie”? 

Ans: Charles Lamb in His reverie started telling to his dream children how for seven years he courted their mother before marrying, sometimes in hope and sometimes in despair. He referred to her shyness, her objections and denial. Suddenly he happened to turn his eyes on the face of his daughter. It seemed to him that she distinctly represented the features of her mother.

Now children gradually grew fainted to his view, receding and receding till he could hear a voiceless speech from a distance telling him that they were the dream children who neither to Alice nor to Charles. They were merely the dream figures who would have to wait for ages if they might at all be born to Charles and Alice as real children, for Alice, whom Lamb had wished to marry, had a husband and children of her own.

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