Now, a wish or conflict between wishes may not only cause an hysterical disturbance but likewise may show itself in the dreams of the individual who suffers from hysteria. For instance, a young woman who had an anxiety hysteria, with feelings of perplexity and indecision concerning certain emotional attributes which she believed she lacked, had a dream in which she saw herself in a disguised form and apparently made up of the figures of three women friends. On analysis it could be shown that this fused or composite figure of herself represented certain desired attributes, and the three women had these very attributes for which she longed. Therefore, the fusion of these three figures into a new person representing herself and yet not herself was a fulfillment of her own wishes; and furthermore, the women were not accidentally chosen, but deliberately selected to harmonize with these wishes. Thus no dream element, figure, or situation is accidental; it is the product of our repressed, unconscious wishes, of which the dream represents the logical fulfillment. In other words, every dream element is predetermined or motivated by our unconscious mental life. The fusion of the three figures into the new personality in this dream was a prearranged plan of the subject's unconscious, which took this method of fulfilling certain wishes which could not be gratified in reality.
Examples of this wish-fulfilling function in the simple dreams of adults are as follows: 1
Dream. A woman and her sister were seated in a restaurant, and at the table was also a man, not clearly recognized in the dream. The woman glanced at the clock and said: "I am glad Mr. X. is not here now; it will be ten minutes or more before he arrives."
Analysis. A few weeks previous to this, Mr. X. who was a business acquaintance, had persuaded the dreamer to purchase some artistic objects which she did not care about, but bought merely for the purpose, she thinks, of pleasing him and the art dealer. She resented this action on his part, and although still pleasant to Mr. X. outwardly, yet she gets "square" with him in the dream by not having him at the dinner-party. Thus in the dream the wished-for revenge is fulfilled.
1 The wish dreams of children will be discussed in the special chapter devoted to that subject.
A young woman who had started to study aesthetic dancing and had purchased a pair of new ballet slippers for that purpose had the following dream after having had one dancing lesson. She dreamed that she was walking in the street with her ballet slippers, and that these were worn almost threadbare. The analysis showed that she had compared her new slippers with those of the more advanced members of her class, who were making rapid progress, and who knew more than she did about aesthetic dancing. The instigator of the dream seemed to be a remark made by a woman in the class, who pointed to her worn-out slippers and said: "These are my second pair this season." Thus the dream fulfilled her wish that she might be further advanced in dancing, a wish symbolized by the threadbare slippers.
A young man on a short visit to a congenial household dreamed that the recently planted bulbs in this household had sprouted and bore flowers. The wish in this dream is perfectly clear: it expresses the desire to prolong the visit, and this is expressed by the length of time it takes bulbs to grow.
These few samples of pure wish dreams in adults must suffice for the present. Others of a more complex character are given in the course of this book, but when these complicated dreams are analyzed, they will be found to contain a hidden wish, as for instance, the apparently senseless dream of the dining-room, given as an example of dream-analysis in the second chapter.
The following dream is of interest, as it contains both an adult and a childhood wish. It occurred in a normal individual free from psychoneurotic disturbances:
Dream. L. (the dreamer's daughter) and I were bathing with others at dusk near a wooded slope. Suddenly some one said: "Isn't it too bad; a boy and girl (or a mother and daughter) have been drowned (or killed)." I expressed my sorrow, came out of the water, and began to hail L. through the darkness: "L. where are you! I want my clothes!" As I mounted the hill, a large, handsome woman passed by. She looked sad. I appeared to be only partially dressed, having only my trousers on, but did not feel in the slightest degree embarrassed. I asked the woman what the matter was, and she replied that she had lost some one dear to her. Then she disappeared. It was day, and I appeared to be alone on another landscape, looking at myself borne up the hill, on a litter, apparently dead. Just as if I were some one else, I cried out to my daughter:
"L! L! what's the matter!" She did not answer. I reiterated my question more anxiously, and then L. smiled. I lifted myself from the litter and began to laugh. Analysis. The obvious instigators of this dream were the accounts of the European war (wounded soldiers carried on Utters) and the fact the subject was at a mountain resort, where there was bathing in a mountain pool. An interesting point of great significance in the dream is the doubling of the principal character; in other words, the dreamer appears twice in the dream, once alive and once dead. This doubling process thus reinforces the wish concealed within the dream: namely, that the dreamer be alive and younger so that he may accomplish more work. This doubling process is an important mechanism, the same as the twin-motive so often found in mythology, or when a legend is related twice, like the two Babylonian and Hebrew accounts of creation. Both these are for the purpose of emphasizing anew and thus reinforcing the original legend; or in the dream, for the purpose of reinforcing the primary wish like a dream within a dream. That portion of the dream in which the dreamer found himself only partially clothed represents a reversion to childhood days. Its significance will be taken up in detail later on when we analyze a typical dream of nakedness.