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The Dream

Symbol Analysis

This poem dedicates a huge amount of energy to the idea of dreams—especially whether they'd be able to survive in such a rat hole of a living situation. So Brooks spends time trying to describe what the possibility of a dream might look and sound like. The imagery Brooks creates for the dream, though, is much vaguer than the "daily life" imagery. It's as if it's too difficult to pin down to describe in detail. Let's take a look at some examples of how the idea of dreams takes shape (or fails to) in this poem:

  • Line 2: Here, Brooks creates the image of the dream by trying to engage our sense of hearing. The speaker describes what the dream sounds like. That's great… except it's not a very clear description. What exactly is a giddy sound? We might be able to figure it out, but it certainly isn't as cut and dried as the smell of that rotting garbage Brooks used to describe the day-to-day. The dream somehow is harder to make sense of. 
  • Lines 4-5: We're starting to see what a dream might look like—white and violet, like a flower maybe—but it's still pretty vague. Of course, this isn't a failure on Brooks's part. It's just that dreams aren't concrete. They don't look, smell, or sound like anything in particular. To imagine them simply takes some, well … imagination. 
  • Line 7: Here we can see how the dream would move—kind of like a moth or butterfly (something small that might go unnoticed in a place of so much movement and general chaos). We can also imagine how it might sound. An aria is a beautiful, pleasant sound. But could it be heard over the chatter and movement of all those people? We're guessing probably not.

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