Study Guide

The Interpretation of Dreams Chapter 5

By Sigmund Freud

Chapter 5

The Material and Sources of Dreams

  • In Chapter 5, Freud sets out to show us what dream are made of. Returning to the literary conceit that he introduced at the beginning of Chapter 3—the one that imagines The Interpretation of Dreams as a hike—Freud proposes to take a new path now that the issue of dreams-as-wish-fulfillments has been resolved.
  • Freud begins by reviewing the "views of the authorities" that he discussed in Chapter 1, paying particular attention to their views on "the relation of dreams with waking life" (5.1.3).
  • Here, Freud emphasizes three points:
  • 1. "Dreams show a clear preference for the impressions of the immediately preceding days,"
  • 2. "They make their selection upon different principles from our waking memory, since they do not recall what is essential and important but what is subsidiary and unnoticed," and
  • 3. "They have at their disposal the earliest impressions of our childhood and even bring up details from that period of our life which, once again, strike us as trivial and which in our waking state we believe to have been long since forgotten" (5.1.6).
  • Freud points out that all of these characteristics relate to the "manifest" content of dreams. By contrast, the "latent"content of dreams—the meanings that lie below surface level—have received less attention.

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