& Their Interpretation(s)

Subject: Female, 20 years, college junior

Hall, C. S. (1947). Diagnosing personality by the analysis of dreams. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology

Basic conflict: Desire to establish an autonomous and independent life either through a career or marriage, preferably the latter, vs. fear of leaving the security provided by the family.

Spotlight dream A1:
I dreamed that I volunteered to go overseas as a teacher. I went to Italy to teach the children there. My dream consisted of leaving my family and being very graciously welcomed in Italy by an Army officer and his wife. I was married shortly after my arrival there. Most of my dream was the difficulty I had leaving home.
The basic conflict is clearly projected into this dream. She does leave home, even the country, yet despite the presence of parental substitutes in Italy and a speedy marriage, much of the dream is concerned with the difficulty she has in leaving her home. That the dreamer is aware of the conflict is indicated by the explanatory comment appended to the dream. "I guess this dream has to do with my fear of leaving home. I have never been away for more than a week and my folks keep insisting it would be wise for me to leave for a while."

Dream A2:
I dreamed last night I was in a train station with my sister. We were supposed to make a certain train, but for some reason neither of us could find the right track. It was most confusing and all I can remember is the two of us racing about trying to find that train in a large depot that had many tracks and entrances. Interpretation: She wants to get away from home but the threat of insecurity prevents her from finding the proper train, even though she has the companionship and support of her sister.

Dream A3:
I dreamed I was back in high school again.

Dream A4:
My dream last night was quite confusing. I was attending college classes but was in high school. I was in the high school building attending classes with my high school friends, but the classes themselves were those I now attend. It was rather a review of a typical day as I used to have them in high school. We were planning to attend a football game after school and things were quite exciting.

These are regressive dreams. If she were back in high school it would not be necessary for her to make the choice between family security and individual freedom. A4 shows that intellectually she prefers college to high school but it would be less threatening to her if the classes were held in the high-school building. Regression offers a neat solution to her main problem.

Dream A5:
I dreamed I got infantile paralysis and found I would have a permanent affliction. I had to quit school and life seemed pretty miserable.

Dream A6:
I dreamed I had an accident and broke my leg. The rest of the dream I was in the hospital getting just loads of attention and sympathy. Friends came to see me and one of my overseas friends was even given a furlough to come home for awhile. The pain I might have had from a broken leg never entered the dream. It was all very pleasant and I was the center of attention.

The solution found in these two dreams portrays the desperation she feels. She is willing to endure infantile paralysis in order to resolve the conflict. The leg fracture, while not as serious, is equivalent to infantile paralysis since it immobilizes her. In either case, she cannot leave the family. Moreover she becomes the recipient of attention and sympathy, and a boy-friend is even given a furlough to visit her. But these gratifications are merely the byproducts of the primary wishfulfilment, to remain with the family.

Dream A7:
I dreamed again last night that a friend of mine who is a German prisoner was returned home.

Dream A8:
I dreamed I went to church one Sunday and one of our members, who has been reported missing overseas, was there. Before he left we had been good friends-but for some reason he refused to even speak to me. I was quite put out and couldn't understand the reason for his actions.

The ambivalence toward her boy-friend, wanting him and being rejected by him (which very likely means she is rejecting him) is a variation of the basic conflict. If he would reject her she would not have to marry him and consequently she could remain with her parents.

Dream A9:
I dreamed that my family and I took a trip out west.
This is a simple way of handling her conflict. She gets away from home but she takes her family with her.

Dream A10:
I dreamed my mother was very ill and after much anguish, etc., died. It was pretty gruesome.
Considered by itself and independent of the other dreams, this dream is a projection of hostility against the mother. She is hostile because the mother is insistent that the dreamer should become more independent. There is another interpretation which is consistent with the unifying theme. By her mother's death, the family would be dissolved, forcing her to become independent. [6]
Dream A11:
Last night I dreamt about the first day of this summer session. I couldn't seem to get to classes on time and the textbooks weren't available. I was terrifically upset and felt as if the situation was too involved for me to cope with. I woke up this morning worn out from that experience in which I was at a loss and felt very defeated.
The anxiety pictured in this dream is evoked by the significance which the first day of classes has for her. The beginning of a new term brings her that much closer to graduation. Upon graduation she will be forced to break some of the ties with the family and assume some of the responsibilities of maturity. She greatly fears growing up.

Why is so much apprehension generated by the thought of growing up and leaving her family? Is it merely that the girl is timid and feels inadequate to undertake the tasks of adult life? Or does her present situation repeat some earlier experience with frustration and rejection? The final dream of the series affords a clue.

Dream A12:
Last night I dreamed my sister and I were in a play. All I had to do was sing a song, but they didn't give it to me until the last minute and I couldn't seem to learn the song. My sister had the lead and for some reason I was always appearing on the stage when I wasn't supposed to. I did sing my song finally and it turned out to be a success, much to my surprise.
This is a fine example of sibling rivalry. Her sister has the "lead" and the dreamer intrudes when she is not wanted. The dreamer feels rejected because the parents prefer the sister. Therefore the construction which she places upon their insistence that she become independent is that they want to get rid of her in favor of her rival. The dream ends on a reassuring note. She does sing her song successfully. The singing of the song probably symbolizes a satisfactory transition to maturity.

Her inferior status in the family would also create feelings of inadequacy with regard to the establishing of satisfying relationships with boys. She fears rejection from her boyfriend. Unsure of her ability to win the affection and protection of a male, she is reluctant to renounce the security afforded by the family. But she is faced by, the loss of this security because she is growing up. This then is the motivation for her dreams to discover some way of regaining security which with increasing age is rapidly disappearing.

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