In the book, sleep is a practice for death, and dreaming is compared to the afterlife. Do you believe this? How does dreaming affect the characters’ waking behavior?
Join Date: 10/15/10
Join Date: 09/16/11
Join Date: 10/16/10
I also don't agree with the sleep as practice for death image in the book, although sleep and death were both very important themes so I can see why the author chose to tie them together in this way.
Join Date: 09/09/13
Join Date: 01/22/11
I felt that the characters dreams had a big impact on their lives. They made decisions, and choices that were effected by the dreams. I have never thought of sleep as a practice for death. I don't think it is; but is an interesting thought.
Join Date: 05/01/13
The fascinating part about this book is that it makes a non-dreamer like me want to believe in dreams!
The characters seem to treat dreams like a premonition of things to come. The story is definitely wound around the dreams of Irene and George's moms...
I found the phrase "sleep is a practice for death" to be very deep and full of meaning, albeit morbid.
Join Date: 04/17/14
Sleep as a practice for death suggests Raymond Chandler's noir classic "The Big Sleep" and the theme of death as final rest. Dreams can be portents and omens or trigger questions and memories.
Join Date: 02/23/14
"Death is no more than passing from one room into another" - Helen Keller
When consciousness is the question, the answer - whether it be a dream state or death - becomes murky.
One commenter above said with some conviction, "Dreams should not dictate life", but alas, sometimes they do. All levels of our conscious selves can inform our choices and it is not inappropriate for them to do so. It is often in dreams that a complex situation can sort itself out and offer clarity on waking. At least, that has been my experience. Especially if the dreams are foretelling, as has happened to me. I can't even begin to explain it but I've certainly experienced it. Naysayers may well have not experienced my reality of dreaming the night before of being rear ended by a red Toyota Camry only to have that very thing happen the next morning on my way to work - exactly as I dreamed it! And this is only one example of many. As J. S. Haldane, a notable British evolutionary biologist quotes, "The Universe is not only queerer than we can suppose, but queerer than we CAN suppose."
Join Date: 04/25/12
In the book, Irene says that "if sleeping is like dying, her mother taught her, then dreaming is like heaven". She goes on to offer that "science could tell her almost nothing about dreams. And almost nothing about death. The most important things are mysteries: the universe, and the way we die". An extraordinary statement for a scientist to make! The novel does a wonderful job of exploring how dreams can affect our conscious hours (the use of lucid dreaming was fascinating) without our ever truly understanding just how that happens. I especially liked the novelist's interweaving of the characters' dreams into the storyline. It is a mystery, but that's ok. And without dreams, yes, sleeping is a prelude for death--------both are a loss of consciousness, but in one case we wake up.
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