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Comparative Essay

1363 words - 5 pages

There are some qualities of dreams which help to separate them from real life occurrences. It is important, then, when writing about dreams, that these qualities are present to help the reader to make the distinction. There is a difference, however, in writing about a dream as the main focus of a literary work, and using a dream in a larger piece as a literary device to further the story as a whole. In each case there needs to be a suspension of belief in the proper order of things. Another quality of dreams both as a literary tool, and in real life is that there is not beginning or end to the action. Things start happening with no real cause and its taken for granted that they should be happening, and just as quickly as they started, the action is completed and the dream ends without resolve. Whether or not a dream is the main action of a work, there is usually a plethora of imagery. However, in the case where dreams are used to further the plot of a story which takes place in the realm of the awake, the imagery must include foreshadowing of a future occurrence, or a connection between characters that is unable to be shown through live action. This can be seen in the two stories, Ten Nights of Dreams by Soseki Notsume, and Hellscreen by Ryosuke Akutagawa. Each of the Ten individual nights of dreams has its own imagery, which relate to the characters and events of the dream itself, while the dream of Yoshihide in Hellscreen plays a pivotal role in foreshadowing the stories conclusion, where all of the characters are awake.The best example of the imagery of a dream as a literary work in the Ten Nights of Dreams is the Third Night. All of the qualities of a dream are present in this night. There are things that the dreamer knows and just takes for granted, despite the fact that they are decidedly odd and not in keeping with normal life. "But, oddly enough, without my knowing how or why I know it, I know that the child is blind and that his head is blue; clean shaven blue" (Soseki 35). Another aspect of a dream that this story possess is the lack of a distinct beginning or end. The dream begins with the main character having a child strapped to his back. There is not explanation to how it got there, but there is also no questioning that it is the right way of things, and right away action is taken. It holds true that the dream ends just as quickly and indiscriminately as it started. Upon learning that the child strapped to his back was actually the man he murdered a hundred years ago, the burden on his back becomes infinitely great, and the action abruptly ends. These qualities are usually present whenever a dream occurs.Since, in this case, the dream is the main action of the story, the imagery, also a quality of dreams is limited to enhancing the dream itself. Foreshadowing is one of the most important of these literary devices and it is present in this story as well. "The voice was that of a child all right but the diction seemed adult; the...

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