Women's Dreams: What Happens to the Dream of Love?

Proceed from the Dream

Anais Nin A Woman Speaks tells her audience, "What a mystery that we still continue to dream!". Nin believes that dreams provide us with a guide for the journey of a life. After keeping a record of her dreams for a year, Nin then wrote a book called House of Incest, based on the idea that love develops out of one's family romance, which is by its' very nature incestual. Dreams helped Nin to find emotional patterns, designs in art and the sense of writing prose poems. As her oneiric (dreaming) skills developed, she began to dream about the dream. The dream within the dream provides a frame story for all stories and literature. For Nin "the dream can be the beginning of a poem, it can the beginning of a novel, it can be the beginning of a plot, of a search." Nin reports having had a recurring dream, whose dream images of an inner journey provided the foundation for one of her novels. Once the novel was complete, she never had the dream again, it, the dream had served its' purpose.

Women's Dreams: A Room of Their Own

Patricia Garfield Women's Bodies, Women's Dreams tells us "Women's dreams are special: their dreams change as their bodies." The book is intended as a dream guide through each phase of a women's life which "suggest that positive growth is going on and when emotional trouble is brewing." Garfield's advice, "Value every dream, distressing or uplifting, as a night letter from the inner self that can help guide your days."

In search of a feminist poetic Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar The Madwoman in the Attic use a variety of metaphors such as the battle of the sexes, the metaphor of literary paternity and the Freudian parables of the Platonic cave. The cave as Freud pointed out is a womb shaped place, a sacred shrine, a secret house of the earth. Gilbert and Gubar attempt to understand and describe "both the experience that generates metaphor and the metaphor that creates experience". Western literature and therefore the "family romance" are viewed as being based on a patriarchal poetic. They ask, "Where does such an implicitly or explicitly patriarchal theory of literature leave women?"

Virginia Woolf in A Room of One's Own expressed the view that women's voices had been silenced or, at best, marginalized. Margaret J. M. Ezell in Writing Women's Literary History believes that by memorializing the works of women a feminine canon can give a gynocentric voice to female experience. For some, psychoanalysis is patriarchal, or at least phallocentric, in its political emphasis on the symbolic empowerment of the male penis. Traditional feminism has maintained that women are stereotyped as objects of male desire. From a popular music perspective Helen Reddy's I am Woman became a feminist anthem, empowering women to believe in themselves.

Women's Dream Visions: What Happens To Love?

Shere Hite Women and Love: A Cultural Revolution in Progress building on the work of Kinsey (see Kinsey film trailer) and Masters and Johnson provides her reading audience with a different, more insightful personal perspective into understanding the nature of women's thoughts, feelings and problems. Hite opens her book with the question "What Happens to Love?". The interpretations provided are intended to make women's inner lives transparent and provide a testimonial to the intra- and interpersonal problems of love and loving women are faced with. The Vagina Monologues (view a Monologue) provide a dramatic vehicle to express and empower women, making visible these very oneiric (dream) issues such as menstruation, sex. love, birth, rape, abuse and mutilation.

Dreams provide women with a dramatic frame story and a room of their own. In dreams, we can view, read and empower the dramatic frame story of women's rites of passage;

All material Copyright 2006 International Institute for Dream Research. All rights reserved.