Study Guide

The Interpretation of Dreams Chapter 6

By Sigmund Freud

Chapter 6

The Dream-Work

  • Chapter 6 is devoted to the processes that Freud calls the "dream-work"—that is, all of the mechanisms and modes that dreams use to combine, censor, or communicate their contents.
  • Freud repeats his argument that the true task of dream interpretation is to discover the relationship between the "manifest" (surface-level) and the "latent" (below-the-surface) content of dreams.
  • Freud calls the "manifest" content the "dream-content" and the "latent" content the "dream-thoughts"; he says that the relationship between these two is "like two versions of the same subject-matter in different languages" (6.1.2).
  • Freud goes on to finesse that argument, declaring that the "manifest" content of dreams is like picture-puzzles. In order to interpret it, we can't take the pictures literally: we need to determine what other syllables, words, or ideas they represent.

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