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What does it mean?
Posted by: Emma Henry (---.vip.uk.com)
Date: January 14, 2002 01:58PM

I want to do a presentation on this here poem (dream within a dream) I need relaible interpretations and hopefully detailed! I am doing a presentation on it and wouldnt know where to start on analysing it! PLease help me I would love you forever! Any valid interpretation that can help me to understand this poem will be mucho appreciated. Thank ye xx


Re: What does it mean?
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.sdsl.cais.net)
Date: January 14, 2002 02:31PM


E.A. Poe?


Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?


Re: What does it mean?
Posted by: Emma Henry (---.vip.uk.com)
Date: January 14, 2002 02:41PM

Thank you for that, that helps so much, you are really quite a funny funny man


Re: What does it mean?
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.sdsl.cais.net)
Date: January 14, 2002 02:57PM


What funny? Just making sure that is the right poem, since you did not post it.


Re: What does it mean?
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.sdsl.cais.net)
Date: January 14, 2002 04:48PM


The Poe Society also shows these:


For Annie

All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.
I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep while I weep!
Oh, God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
Oh, God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that I see or seem
But a dream within a dream?.


IMITATION.

A dark unfathom'd tide
Of interminable pride
A mystery, and a dream,
Should my early life seem;
I say that dream was fraught
With a wild, and waking thought
Of beings that have been,
Which my spirit hath not seen.
Had I let them pass me by,
With a dreaming eye!
Let none of earth inherit
That vision of my spirit;
Those thoughts I would control,
As a spell upon his soul:
For that bright hope at last
And that light time have past,
And my worldly rest hath gone
With a sight [sigh] as it pass'd on
I care not tho' it perish
With a thought I then did cherish.

The imitation is of Byron, especially his poems "Dream" and "Manfred."

Most scholars consider this poem an early version of "A Dream Within a Dream," which may explain why the poem was never printed again during Poe's lifetime.



End quotes


Re: What does it mean?
Posted by: Emma Henry (---.vip.uk.com)
Date: January 15, 2002 12:50PM

Ok, i am slightly confused now, but I meant the top one. could you offer any kind of insight? because i would really like to be able to understand it but I cant


Re: What does it mean?
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.sdsl.cais.net)
Date: January 15, 2002 02:05PM


I thought the other verses, and their origins (such as a response to Byron) would be useful in interpreting the piece.

The 'Imitation' seemed to be a justification of the rather unusual subjects Poe chose for his writings. Sort of "Well, would it have been better to merely keep my thoughts to myself?" Personally, I am glad he didn't!

'For Annie' shows he wrote the last stanza first, and only later thought to further clarify with the additional first stanza.

With that in mind, it is logical to assume the person whose brow is being kissed, and to whom he is speaking, is Annie. The grains of sand that keep slipping through his hands must be a reference to the passage of time. Time is not permanent; we cannot live in the present, as it constantly slips by into the past. These dreams are what we remember of its passing.

That just leaves us with the first stanza then, plus trying to comprehend how a dream can be within a dream in the first place.


Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;

[ You are right (Annie), my life has been spent in dreaming. ]

Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.


[ The past is gone, whether it was reality itself, or a vision of a possible happening, once gone it is the same thing - both of them are dreams. ]


A dream within a dream? Strange thought. Have I ever dreamt I was dreaming. I think so, but I cannot recall a specific instance. It seems to be to be a comparison of life as being just a dream, and our thoughts as the dreams within the dream.

What do you think, Emma?


Re: What does it mean?
Posted by: Pam Adams (---.los-angeles-03-04rs.ca.dial-access.att.net)
Date: January 16, 2002 02:19AM

And if a dream is unreality, how much more false and unreal must a dream within a dream be? Personally, I tend to assume that Poe is talking to dead people in his poems.

pam


Re: What does it mean?
Posted by: Elliot (---.nyw.ny.webcache.rcn.net)
Date: January 16, 2002 03:21AM

Poe is talking about the 'dream quality' of life, that life often has a dreamy, unreality about it; it slips through one's fingers like grains of sand; it is difficult to hold on to, life just goes on...

Personally, I think his taking that quality somewhat seriously seems to be the reason he writes as he does: Pit & Pendulum, Fall of the House of Usher, etc., all have that dream quality about them. Stephen King is today's counterpart, but certrainly less "dreamy" than Poe. Poe will be around forever. The next generation will ask, "Steven King... who?..."

Elliot


Re: What does it mean?
Posted by: Emma Henry (---.vip.uk.com)
Date: January 16, 2002 01:47PM

So basically, everything that happens within life is a dream because once in the past, experiences are no longer tangible, but can they therefore be any less real. Any ideas as to the first line? Does it mean to not take it seriously ( taking things on the brow) if so what is 'it'? The poem?

Thanx a lot for your help- unfortunately this is a poem that once you get interpretations I feel as if I have been left with more questions than answers!

Please don't take offense at this because I have many less in ideas to offer about it but your explanations dont completely convince me! Again, don't take offense! It is just that they don't account for a lot of the things he makes reference to.

He seems to be implying that LIFE is a dream. In the first stanza he is saying that it is definitely all a dream within a dream, but the second stanza he is now unsure as to whether it is a dream within a dream.

Somebody said to me that the first stanza could represent him asleep, this would account for why he can say definitely 'all that we see or seem is a dream within a dream'. But the second stanza he is concious and compares sand to life as opposed to life being a dream. So therefore conciously life is something tangible and he can think upon it in a more concrete way but when dreaming he thinks life is unreal. Therefore could the poem merely be about the difference between these two states and how things seem when dreaming.

If not then I don't understand why he thinks life is a dream!? This is very annoying and frustrating for me because I really want to build a concrete opinion! I hope anyone understands what I have been trying to say!

The second stanza- is he saying that the fact that he is unable to hold onto life- means that it must be a dream, because you can't hold onto dreams. Life slips through your fingers and is a theory that is something you cannot touch so who is to say that it is real? It could just be a dream.

Oh the confusion!


Re: What does it mean?
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.sdsl.cais.net)
Date: January 16, 2002 05:35PM


Unfortunately, that is the down side of studying dead poets - we are only guessing, no matter how thoroughly we try to analyze matters. In school, that can be an up side, since the teachers cannot say with any degree of certainty you are wrong!

Even live poets are not particulary helpful with explanations of their own works. Was it Frost who said, "If I wanted you to know any more, I would have put it in the poem!" (or words to that effect).

Take whatever beauty, knowledge or insight you can get from Poe's dream, and go on to the next one, is all I can suggest. Frustrating, but there it is.

As far as your presentation is concerned, you should have plenty to work with.


Re: What does it mean?
Posted by: Desi (---.xs4all.nl)
Date: January 16, 2002 06:15PM

You can try to explain in your presentation why the poem raises so many questions. There is not 'one' perfect interpretation. And that is imo what makes it good: no very difficult words, no very difficult grammar, but still such a complex idea! As long as you defend your own interpretation well, it is a valid one.

Some poems you can read years later and then see something entirely different in it. That can be an asset instead of a frustration :-)


Re: What does it mean?
Posted by: Suctionhead (210.220.73.---)
Date: November 19, 2002 01:25AM

Check out the psychological term - doppleganger - like the 'dream', this too runs through a lot of Poe's writings.


i know what he;'s really saying
Posted by: mars (---.sdcoe.k12.ca.us)
Date: March 25, 2004 02:49PM

all that you've come up with so far is only partially true. yes he's referrinmg to life as a dream but one important factor is he's talking about life after losing a loved one. (either his aunt or wife.)




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