Aside

How gift should be mattered?

(It’s Christmas now, I see classmates are enthusiastically exchanging gifts with each other. Surely, I got some gifts. But was I satisfied? Is it necessary for me to be regretful if I do not get any present? Here I would like to share my little thoughts about this aspect.)

In the present society, gift, or material reward, has been regarded as a manifestation for someone’s accomplishment of different goals. Basically, the larger the gift given, the prouder the receiver will feel. However, this is too a stereotypical view for me since it does not guarantee a student to have a good perception about the gift itself. What’s more important should be how the “gift” means.

I remembered a time when I had a birthday party. As usual, one of my best friends came in my house and greeted me, presenting a cheap but elegantly-made artifact. Inside this gift hid a letter with encouraging words for my later campus life. I speculated that the present would enthrall me a lot, not on the size, but on the conveyance of positive thoughts.

At the same time, I saw other students arrived and carried big toys into the room. They really looked precious and treasurable. But what’s their meanings? Even though these presents were expensive, at least in my thoughts, I did not think they could impress deep into my mind, since these toys were of not great significances but just a representation of givers’ benign toward their friends.

Therefore, it is to the gift’s own significance, not its price or size, that manifest the purest friendship. No wonder people nowadays need expensive stuffs for maintaining relations. But don’t forget the core value of gift-giving. If people truly consider about what they are supposed to present, I think the world will be filled with positive energy.

Pill of Immortality

(A short story inspired by Don Quixote, the famous work we learned in World Literature.)

Donny, a college student who was obsessed with chemistry, found it interesting to synthesize some new materials for pragmatic functions. However, he had always dreamed of being immortal in order to enjoy the fun from scientific explorations as well as his favorite Chinese literature. To get help, Donny told this idea to one of his friends called Bubbles. “Donny, are you crazy? There is nothing for people to get immortality. Remember what we just learned from the Epic of Gilgamesh?”

“Calm down, Bubbles.” said Donny, “You see, I am just like the wizards, creating a lot of fun stuffs for good use. If you help me with this, you will receive a big prize!”

“Well, what prize?”

“I will get you all the chemistry essays done. You know, those prompts are so easy for me that I just have to take several moments to finish them. By the way, you have to be an enchantress and treat me as a Taoist alchemist.”

Bubbles meditated for a while, “These essays are really distressing and I am even hard to keep up my schedule. Wow, it is kind of supernatural aid! So, deal.”

“All right. Let’s go to the mine for those metals.” said Donny. “Wait, where is the mine?” asked Bubbles. “It’s very close to us, and I will take you there.” They went out of the classrooms and sneaked into another building where the metals were presented.

Bubbles was stumbled. “Wait, you said this is a mine, but it’s just a laboratory of metallurgy.” Donny felt surprised, “Don’t you know that a Taoist is always going anywhere searching for something?” As they approached the reagent storage, Donny saw a material labeled “Hg” and picked up. “Hold on, you should know that mercury is extremely toxic.” Bubbles was shocked by Donny’s stupid action. At the same time, Donny picked up another heavy metal named “Pb” and said “Set a thief to catch a thief, this is what Chinese intellectuals tell us to do when it comes to medicine.”

After the expedition, Donny led Bubbles back to their building and went to the organic laboratory, where he created a lot of materials for his reputed successful research projects. “Now, inside the temple, I am going to grab some herbs and make these things into a pill of immortality.”

Bubbles was still obfuscated, but she began trying to appease Donny. “Yeah, this temple is filled with fairy’s blessing. Let’s get the pill started.” As Donny grabbed some leaves and mixed them with mercury and lead inside the pestle, Bubbles prepared for heating the “forge” – actually a crucible – to eliminate the impurities.

“The pill was refined, and I will to put it inside the forge. At the same moment when I eat the pill, you are going to incant for the input of supernatural power.” Donny threw the ball-shaped mixture into the crucible. About ten minutes later, he used tongs to pick up the pill, cooled it down, and slowly put the pill inside his mouth. Simultaneously, Melissa started to enchant, reciting the ancient text with gibberish English accent: “Hail to the Emperor of the Sky, I beg you to come down the mundane world for a little giving…”

Donny swallowed the pill, and started to relax: “The god and fairy’s humor began swerving around my body, making me feel like a paper in the air.” Suddenly, Donny fell down and lost his consciousness.

Two days later, Donny opened his eyes and found himself inside the hospital. “Oh, I am so worried about you,” said Bubbles.

Donny, was a little suspected, “Am I supposed to be immortal?”

“You are immortal?” Bubbles was astounded, “Those heavy metals almost killed you.” She paused for a few seconds, “Fortunately for you, I fed some egg whites and specific oxidants to eliminate those toxins inside your body after you fainted.”

“Oh, no. I remember that our chemistry essays are due today!”

Bubbles smiled, “It’s great that you retrieve some of your memories. But you don’t need to worry about essays now, I already have them done. Besides, I reported this case to our professor and he granted you a month off the campus. Maybe I need to rely on myself for these essays.” Her face was strung up again, “I feel sorry for my superstitions that make you a lot of troubles. However, I still want to remind you of those outdated ideologies. Even Chinese people themselves do not believe in the pill of immortality.”

“Don’t worry.” said Donny, “I guess I learned a lesson from you that these ideals are corrupted for us human beings, and I will never touch Chinese literature again.”

“Well, you do not have to be too absolute about this matter.” Bubbles said sincerely. “Some aspects of the culture may be too far from the present generation, but the remainders are still useful for dealing with many life issues. Keep your rational eyes on, and you will eventually extract the beneficial parts of the civilization.”

“Yeah, your saying is reasonable.” Donny accepted Bubbles’ idea with great admiration. “I will still keep loving Chinese literature again. This time, however, I am going to go deeper into the subject with objective eyesight. Farewell, pill of immortality!”

Aside

Rejected by ED – Bad News, or Good News for me?

Today, the college I applied for early decision has notified the admission results for all its applicants. At the moment I clicked the mailbox, my heart bumped so tightly, then loosely, then tightly again. This awkward sensation continued until the result was clear in front of my eye: “Dear Fan … I regret to have to let you know that we are unable to offer you admission.” Suddenly, I did feel something constraint was released, but did not feel anything sad at all. The little sentence that came out of my mind was “Well, this college is so cool that it just rejected a student who is going to shade great lights on it.”

Or, maybe not? In fact, this college is not of my first choice, but I did throw out a chance to ED it, because its fancy description of its biology majors catches my eyes. The drawback is, however, that I may not be so well behaved in the not-my-favorite, and the tuition fee is a bit high. So, I just wait until now to see the consequence.

My objectives now seem stereotypical for those “perfect” Chinese applicants, but there is a little trick with ACT test. Because when I hand in the application form to that ED college, my October ACT has not been released, so I have to fill in my April ACT score. The April score is decent, but not satisfactory in the present moment, because I truly made a progress during the half year period. Logically deducing, using my April score to apply for that college is risky, because my April result shows I am in 96th percentile of the examinees, while that college requires, presumably, 98th, or even 99th percentile. This is the gap that seems small but actually very steep, as you know about the normal distribution: The number of top 4% students is four times the top 1% students. That seems that I have only about a quarter of those top 1% students’ chance to be admitted, while not all the top 1% are eligible for admission. Unfortunately, when the satisfying October score is released, there is no time for me to send the corresponding report to my ED college.

Subjective information? It should be taken in account too. Well, I am confident that at least there is nothing fake, wrong or disappointing with personal statements.

During admission, we are not fond of geographic conditions. But it turns out that we still need a temperature range that is fit for our body conditions. Do not judge me through my slightly chubby bear-like appearance; I am really not tolerant of even below 0 degree Celsius. Glad that my ED college decided not to make me solely stand in its cold air. Otherwise, my nose would get a tough time sneezing in that chilly temperate climate. I live in Shenzhen, and been to Israel… Experiences tell me that, subtropical monsoon or Mediterranean climates might be better.

All right, enough for chit chat. There is a phrase remind me: “Good things are a long time in coming.” Certainly, my personal history has a lot of situations that are similar in their influence in my emotions. Initially I am depressed, but as I progress toward, I will twist up to the summit and enjoy the fruits of success. Just like when I was in 9th grade. At the beginning, I was only, to say, in upper middle position of my junior school, and people around me did not expect that I could even get into the top 8 high schools in my city. Many excellent students had already get enrolled into some of the famous high schools through early decision. However, as I worked hard for preparing the entrance exam, I got in Shenzhen Middle School! ACT score, too, does give me a lot of enlightenment on that. And I think it is time to boost me up to a higher level of education that I look upon to. Wish me good luck in the following months!

The Interpretation of Dreams Journal 7

In the book “The Interpretation of Dream”, Freud puts forward his theory that the dream is the fulfillment of unconscious wishes, and he elaborately introduces the process of how unconscious wishes are concealed and how they endeavor to break through the consciousness: On its way to consciousness along the path of the thought processes, the unconscious wish is always distorted by the censorship, which transfers it into a recent material, and thus appears unrecognizable to us. Its further progress is then checked by the state of sleep of the preconscious, a system protects the unconscious wish from the diminishing excitations. Therefore, the dream process of regression takes place in the sleeping state and in so doing acquires representability.

While other writers attribute the occurrence of the forgetting of dreams to the mutually alien character of the waking and sleeping states, Freud believes that it’s dream-censorship that makes people forget about some parts of dreams, a way of resistance to the penetration of the dream-thoughts into consciousness. Upon this situation, Freud suggests that we direct our attention to a single element of the dream and find out the involuntary thoughts associated with this element. After we repeatedly do the same process with different component of the dream-content, we will finally come upon the dream-thoughts from which the dream originated. In other words, we should open a new path in our waking state and, along this path, run back from the dream-elements to the dream-thoughts instead of completely focusing on the interpretation-work of nocturnal dreams.

Before the explanation of regression, it’s important to first look at Freud’s interpretation of “psychic apparatus”, which he considers as a compound instrument containing two “systems” – the initial system receives stimulus of perception but retains no memory, while the second system lied behind the initial system transforms the temporary stimulus of the first into lasting traces. According to this structure, because thought-relations are contained in the second system, where they forfeit expression in the regression to the perceptual images, all those thought-relations of the dream-thoughts either lost in the dream-work or have difficulty in achieving expression. Freud conclude this phenomenon of regression as “the structure of the dream-thoughts breaking up into its raw material.”(Chapter 7, P277) At the end of this section, Freud puts forward a much more significant theory upon the regression, saying that we can have insight not only into the phylogenetic childhood but even into the evolution of the human race because dreaming is on the whole an act of regression to the earliest childhood.

Because the nocturnal thought-process stops working during sleeping in order to let preconsciousness have some rest, Freud assumes that the sensory surface of consciousness, which is turned toward the preconscious, is far more difficult to be excited than the sensory surface turning toward the perception in the sleeping state. However, dreams have a waking effect that can stimulate parts of the quiescent energy of the preconscious. Under the influence from this energy, dreams experience “secondary elaboration”, which patches together fragments from materials that seem to be contradictory in order to further disguise the unconscious wishes, just like piecing the cine film together. The absurd dreams, so frequently mentioned by Freud, also experience this secondary elaboration.

Negating the commonly held opinion that consciousness is the general basis in the course of psychic events, Freud considers unconscious as true psychic reality, comparing the unconscious to a larger circle including the smaller circle of consciousness. In addition, although most psychologists think that there are two kinds of unconscious, Freud maintains that one of them is the “unconscious”, which can not turn to the consciousness, and another one is “preconscious”, capable of reaching consciousness after passing through the censorship. Freud also vividly describes preconscious as a screen between the consciousness and the unconscious. Based on the knowledge I learn in class and the analysis in this book, I agree with Freud’s opinion concerning the relationship and the distinction between consciousness and the unconscious. The process such as the regulation of blood pressure works without our awareness, and it must be the unconscious. But sometimes, memory accessible to consciousness only after something calls my attention. For example, I can only remember my experience during childhood until my parents mention the details. According to Freud, those memories that I can only recall with stimulus must be preconscious.

 

References

Freud, S. (1997) The Interpretation of Dreams (Wordsworth Edition.). New York, NY: Wordsworth Classics of World Literature

The Interpretation of Dreams Journal 6

As to Freud’s thoughts, the dream content has a lot of backstories to tell about: “It would of course be incorrect to attempt to read these symbols in accordance with their values as pictures, instead of in accordance with their meaning as symbols.” (Chapter 6, P121) And there exists dream-work that makes the dreamer’s subconscious latent. Virtually, this work comes into two parts: condensation and displacement. Condensation means that even a single fragment of the dream has more than one thought about the dreamer, and the various thoughts attach to it. On the other hand, displacement transfer the dreamer’s thoughts about certain subject to another one, for the purpose of escaping from censorship. Moreover, symbolism also connects certain objects to other meanings. To address the mechanism of dream-work, Freud proposes some types of dreams, of which there are three major subcategories: arithmetic, speech and absurd dreams.

For the arithmetic dream, Freud says that “What the dream-work consists in, and its unceremonious handling of its material, the dream-thoughts, may be shown in an instructive manner by the numbers and calculations which occur in dreams.” (Chapter 6, P198) He points out that the digits are representative of the dream-work that makes something obvious unexplainable. Still, these numbers are not nonsensical, but possess certain traits the dreamers are await. Freud exemplifies this principle through a typical dream: The dreamer perceives himself as a policeman with a mission, and he sees his supervisor has an armlet with number 22 and 62. In fact, the dream is a high class general, with the same number on the armlet, but he wishes to get higher to be a supervisor. Through further investigation, Freud knows he only serves for 22 years, and two years plus two months are needed to get a satisfactory retirement pay. If he does so, he can get all the payment, just like his colleague, who retires in age 62 recently. Therefore, it is still that the dream subconsciously has the wish to be at a higher position as well as that of getting more money, and Freud’s account of the nature of dream is thought to be feasible.

I also have a dream about arithmetic: When I am traveling in a forest with a zoologist, I sees a lot of squirrels. Suddenly, as the zoologist calls out a signal, the squirrels become obedient to him and even stand in certain locations to make the entire team looks like a number “five” in front of my eyes. If Freud’s argument is true, it should be obvious that there is a wish: I dream of becoming an expert in biology. I do like squirrels, and they never come to be so agile inside this scene. But for more things about number, I guess it conveys me information that I need to study for at least five more years to profess in this field of study.

The second typical dream Freud mentions about is speech. “No matter how many speeches and answers, which may in themselves be sensible or absurd, may occur in dreams, analysis always shows us that the dream has merely taken from the dream-thoughts fragments of speeches which have really been delivered or heard, and has dealt with them in the most arbitrary fashion.” (Chapter 6, P200) This applies to the dream-content measure mentioned in previous chapter, which explains why dreams include fragments of various events happened in the past. Freud furthers his opinion about the speech dream by pointing out another dream. In this dream, the dreamer is posited inside a big yard, where many corpses are burned. As he says, “I want to leave here, this scene is unbearable,” the butcher’s two kids appear and is asked whether the taste is good. One of them says, “No, it’s not good at all.” Supposedly, this meat comes from humans. But, as Freud explores deeper inside the dream, he discovers a context which completely alters the meaning of the dream: When he is visiting an old granny, who is not welcomed by others, with his wife, she just finishes the meal and forces him to taste her dishes. He politely rejects, with saying about his lack of appetite. But due to the granny’s urges, he tries and does feel good about the meal. However, when he is getting alone with his wife, he complains that this neighbor is too stubborn and cooks bad. Therefore, we can see that the dream really plays a magical role in carrying out the true thoughts about dreamers. Like this example, his bad feelings about the granny’s meal is transferred to the seemingly horrible content of the dream, though the words changed a little.

For me, this type of dream is rare, but I still can remember one: I works for a farm with a tool that remove the weeds. Though being tired, I still whisper to myself that working for a farm is far more “fortunate” than studying. As my cousin comes in, he says, “Your work is great, but you would rather study for a while.” This dream interesting because it provides me with confusion about my attitude toward studying. For no reason, I prefer reading books than doing farm works, and this should not be a direct wish fulfillment. However, as I start to think that maybe the word “fortunate” in Chinese is similar to “painstaking”, I recollect back some memories with my cousin that we really have great times in my hometown. But the farm works are actually tedious. But during present time, I also have gotten tired occasionally, so I transfer this feeling to the dream, with a complete change in the meaning of a word.

The last type of dream Freud talks about is of absurdness. To be more precise, it is the category that collects all the supernatural scenes into the dream-content. Even though the absurdity really intrigues a lot of thoughts about the nature of dreams, Freud still maintains his idea: “The dream-thoughts are never absurd and the dream-work produces absurd dreams, and dreams with individually absurd elements, when the dream-thoughts contain criticism, ridicule, and derision, which have to be given expression.” (Chapter 6, P215) Specifically, there is a dream Freud deals with for a patient who has a father died earlier: His father experiences a severe accident. When the train is traveling at night, it suddenly gets off the track and squishes his father’s head because the seats are distorted. Then, the dreamer discovers his father is in a bed with a clear scar. He is surprised by his father being involved inside an accident. In fact, this dream appears because of recollection about memories with his father. He asked for an artist to make a sculpture for his father, and he discovered a bust after several days when he checked the progress. Moreover, the scar inside the dream actually corresponds to his father’s frown of sadness, and as he finds out his picture, he accidentally dropped it, forming a scar piercing through his sister’s eyelids. The background for this dream seems very odd, but it still plays a major role in modulating the dream-content.

 

References

Freud, S. (1997) The Interpretation of Dreams (Wordsworth Edition.). New York, NY: Wordsworth Classics of World Literature

Compare and Contrast the Force from A New Hope and the Way from Taoist ideals

The Force from A New Hope and the Way in Taoism present two great distinctive beliefs. The Force, an energy field created by all li

ving things that bestows individuals with idealistic courage, surrounds and penetrates them; the Way, on the other hand, is the mysterious, unnamable process through which everything in the universe happens, teaching people to be less attentive to the glory from material world.

The Force provides people with means of completing some challenging quests that could render great results, regardless of what they have. In A New Hope, it is a natural power contrary to a more technological power the Death Star uses. To show this, the Rebels and heroes are seen in more natural settings like deserts and forests while the Empire is seen in large technological settings. As the mentor Obi-wan Kenobi always says to Luke, “May the Force be with you.”, this sentence acts as a spiritual guide to Luke’s journey and gives him determination, which is a clear distinction with Darth Vader’s emphasis on brutal destruction. For instance, when he is going for a mission to destroy the Death Star, there are many missiles from his enemies that block his way. Commonly, he is not able to handle this situation by himself, but every moment the sentence flashes back to his mind, he can pay more attention toward the mission and be less stressed. In a way, the Force goes beyond the superiority of technology and makes something impossible come true.

By contrast, the Way emphasizes more about the balance between gain and loss throughout lifetime. If people is enlightened by it, they will be guided to understand the benefits and drawbacks of certain deeds. Also, the Way reduces the distinction between different things but rather integrate them into a whole. “Heaven and earth are ruthless, and treat the myriad creatures as straw dogs; the sage is ruthless, and treats the people as straw dogs.” (5.1-2) Under Taoist view, all the living things are under the same world, that they should be treated equally, since their existences have certain meanings that people should not depreciate. To reinforce the idea, Daodejing points out that the Way in which stricter and stricter laws create crime and stifle a country’s productivity. As people are members of the society, they need to obey the law of nature regardless of how powerful they are. In conclusion, it is feasible to say that the Way goes beyond the superiority of rules – the confinement – and makes something absurd explicable.

Though the Force and the Way differ in many perspectives, they share the ideal intellect of having people completing certain important goals. As Luke is able to defeat dreadful enemies and finally save princess Leia and her planet behind so many challenges through the encouragement of the Force, he has to think about the negative effects about his journey, like what the Way considers. Even though A New Hope does not have any mention about the Way, it actually exists throughout the storyline: As the Death Star’s evil plan irritates the Rebels, the Force comes into action to urge the heroes wiping out the vicious authority, giving Darth Vader a painful compensation.

In general, the Force and the Way both in a degree present people’s ideals about the right behaviors, but the Force can also be seen as a metaphysical power that prompts individuals to be dedicated to their actions, while the Way puts more emphasis on the two sides of a single event, benefiting, also punishing, the person who takes part in it.

 

Works Cited

“Star Wars: A New Hope” 20th Century Fox. Washington D.C.: L. George, 1977.

“Daodejing.” The Norton Anthology of World Literature. Trans. D.C. Lau. Third ed. Vol.A. New York and London: W. W. Norton, 2012, 1347-1354. Print.

Aside

Why biology?

When first encountering the discipline – biology – I felt greatly astonished by its ability to help me explore about wonderful secrets about life: I knew how people grow, live, and have their common physiological processes being fixed and integrated. But in the real world, there are much imperfection in human bodies such as illness. Nowadays, medical technologies have been developed to an advanced level, improving much better in their treatments toward serious diseases. However, this development still does not benefit congenital ones.

I have met a younger child called Rain who was the son of my mother’s good friend. The first thing I noticed was his strange appearance. He was shorter than I expected, possessing a stagnant eyesight. Having a round face, big nostrils, and thick lips which even let me thought he was an alien, he kindly smiled and said hello. Forging my fear of approaching him, I kindly introduced myself and talked about what are going around my daily life. Rain, in turn, started long speech about his experiences. Though his illogical flow of words, with murmured pronunciation, was once difficult for me to understand his sentences, I finally came to fathom what he was talking about. From that day on, we became friends and frequently trade information between each other.

Still, my mother, being aware of Rain’s abnormality, asked his parents about what’s the problems with his appearance and speaking. The response was shocking: Rain got Down’s syndrome since he was born. His parents, though could not initially accept his strange outlook, raise him with the regard that he is a normal child. But years passed by, his parents discerned that there might be some problems. After sending Rain to have a professional physical examination, his parents were stunned at the addition of a chromosome. I thought that he could be normal again, but my mother told me that this disease could not be cured since it was inborn.

I could not bear the truth even though it was strongly corroborated. Hiding this secret to Rain, I gained deeper approach to him after series of recreational activities. In definition, Down’s syndrome had its patients unable to cognize the world holistically. But I saw his painting, which once really enthralled me by the portrayal of the animals and plants. Beside this, I admired his dancing skills which had the paces being coordinated and rhythmed. Even I could not reach that high standard. In general, I could perceive many of the life’s best details being captured by his little body, sparkling great amount of his knowledge of the world to me. Nevertheless, I did know that he could get out of the sufferings of his inborn disease.

Through high school study about biology, I came to know about more things about the virtue of lifeforms. There always exist materials of inheritance – genes – that can determine people’s physical and behavioral traits since their birth. But when abnormality comes, such as the alteration in humans’ chromosomes which hold many of the genes, people’s traits will be disrupted, forming some distinct but negative characteristics for them that prevent their life from proceeding like a normal person. Though in the present, there have not been cure for such diseases, gene therapy, a branch of the bioengineering, started to apply in various treatment toward different inborn diseases that were caused by only small changes in people’s genes.

But what about those diseases resulting from the anomaly of chromosomes? Basing on this question, here I apply for the college I applied for with the aim to seek the answer. Through various fields of research opportunities offered by the university I applied for, I could gain a lot of insight into the solution of many of these human sufferings, not only for the theoretical one, but also in the realm of real-life application, which could authentically provide the innocently influenced people with hopes to live a happy life.

The Interpretation of Dreams Journal 5

In addition to one of the main points made by Freud which accounts for the distortion in dreams, there is another interesting idea concerning dream content: “It has at its disposal the earliest impressions of our childhood, and brings to light details from this period of life, which, again, seem trivial to us, and which in waking life were believed to have been long since forgotten.” (Chapter 5, P51) This sentence opens to a new discussion about the materials and sources of dreams in this chapter, which, basically, can be attributed to the four typical dreams Freud mentioned about.

The first typical dream is of nakedness. It is the dream common in everyone’s life that such case could lead to embarrassment. However, the dreamer, inside the dream, will not be mocked and blamed by other unfamiliar people. In fact, most of this type of dream has these strangers paying no attention to the dreamer’s embarrassing nakedness. “The substitute for these persons offered by the dream, the `number of strangers’ who take no notice of the spectacle offered them, is precisely the counter-wish to that single intimately-known person for whom the exposure was intended.” (Chapter 5, P100) As Freud said, the counter-wish signifies a kind of secret which prompts the meaning of the dream to become so vague that produces unsatisfying effects for people. Since we are born, the content of human nature is always present in our mind, but to some degree censored and suppressed as we grow up: we feel ashamed of exposing our body parts. Therefore, through this censorship, the vivid dream provides the means for the dreamer to avoid such situation in real life.

The second typical dream generally plots the death of relatives. Some portion of the dream has the dreamer does not feel so sad about this, but most of it still makes the dreamer feel deeply regretful for their relatives’ death even during real sleep. This type of dream seems to contradict the Freud’s claim that the latent content – the unconscious – plays a role in the dream’s content, since people really do not want to have their beloved persons die. But if people think of our childhood memories, they do have some uncomfortable experiences with their relatives that prompt the wish of leaving them away. Freud admits: “Many adults who today are devoted to their brothers and sisters, and support them in adversity, lived with them in almost continuous enmity during their childhood.” (Chapter 5, P103) Children always have egocentric thoughts that they consider everything surrounding them under their control. They do not have much sense about death but rather think it will not disturb other living people.

A more confusing element of the second typical dream is about the death of parents, since people tend to love their parents for their nurture. But for Freud, there is another thing needed to be brought out: “It is as though a sexual preference made itself felt at an early age, as though the boy regarded his father, and the girl her mother, as a rival in love — by whose removal he or she could but profit.” (Chapter 5, P106) Naturally, mother will be sexually attractive to son and father is sexually attractive to daughter. During childhood, for example, a son will be permitted to sleep with his mother when his “rival” – father – leaves, proving that the hostility has been testified by the sheer wish-fulfillment that inadvertently has set father dead in his dream.

Although not systematically categorized into the book, the third typical dream is added into the previous part: the dreamer flies with a feeling of ease or falls in terror. What is interesting is that it generally takes part in grown-up adults. Freud debunks other people’s theory that this type of dream is attributed to the present physical sensations while explains this dream as a kind of wish-fulfillment which is suppressed in real life. Children have been experienced in exciting rapid motion which afterwards ends with unhappiness, and as adults recollect back this memory, they are regretful for their inability to do such things again.

The last typical dream centers on examination: the dreamer fails on a test and has to study a subject again or fails to receive doctor degree. This dream is common for people who are going to take an important task such as final exam. But even for those who have already received doctor degree, they still experience this type of dream. “We dream of our matriculation, or the examination for the doctor’s degree … whenever we feel the burden of responsibility.” (Chapter 5, P116) For Freud, this can be attributed to the dreamers’ anxiety of conducting great things they feared of failure, because they are responsible for them. But as the dreamers realize they have succeeded in such tasks in reality, they feel relaxed about their testing experiences, willingly reducing the stress of doing their jobs in the future.

Compare the four types of dream, it is not difficult to find out that they both similar in the subconscious thoughts about fulfilling wishes. While the first and fourth type of dream gives the dreamer a sense of avoiding such cases in real life, the second and third type, though undesired, has its manifestation of the dreamer’s unconscious will to have their beloved persons die or move rapidly, which, as to Freud, are distorted by the strict dream-work. But still, they have common features for the dream content: “the preferential selection of recent and also of infantile material.” (Chapter 5, P82)

I often tend to have the second type of dream, which is about the death of my father. In one such a dream, my parents, after traveling, take airplane to return to Shenzhen, but the plane suddenly crashes when it is landing. As the plane incinerates, my mom successfully escapes through parachute, but my father fails to survive. After several moments, I am notified to participate in the funeral and I cries loudly with my mother. At first I could not understand why I cruelly set him to death during my dream, generally attributing this case as the manifestation of my parents’ personalities: my father being industrious but clumsy, while my mother being intelligent. (Like Homer and Marge) But deliberately, I noticed that it usually happens when my father actually stay at our city for quite long days. He is a good husband who has the will to spend time with his wife to have good experiences, and this really somewhat bothers the relationship between me and my mom. In fact, my mother fulfills my requests more often than my father does, and I am also biased to share some great experiences with her. Moreover, jealousy arises when she talks about my father’s advantages and expect me to act like him. According to Freud’s ideology, these stimuli, which could be regarded as Oedipus complex, prompt me to wish my father to receive a business and leave our city as soon as possible. If that wish comes true, I can take time to hang out with my mother.

 

References

Freud, S. (1997) The Interpretation of Dreams (Wordsworth Edition.). New York, NY: Wordsworth Classics of World Literature

Contrast of the Deeds and Character Traits of Beowulf and Aeneas

Beowulf and The Aeneid present two great heroes with distinctive characteristics and stories. Beowulf, disbelieving about determinism, is a brutal and arrogant warrior who kills monsters for glory without any god’s help; Aeneas, on the other hand, is a person who, called by fate, defeats enemies with supernatural aid and shows responsibility for people.

Beowulf, being regarded as a pagan, possesses pride about his glorious past as well as violence toward foes. It is not difficult to see that Beowulf challenges what he deserves to be. “Often, for undaunted courage, fate spares the man it has not already marked.” (572-573) Beowulf makes this claim early in the poem when he describes his swimming contest. Though the narrator of Beowulf believes God determines everyone’s fate, Beowulf claims that if people’s fate has not been decided yet, they can succeed through sheer courageous behavior. This tenet becomes Beowulf’s path toward glory which could be illustrated by his fierce single combat against Grendel without any weapon. Actually, his courage is so strong that swords even weaken his abilities, as evidenced by Hrunting (1458) and Naegling (2680) that both render futility of battle. It is to his Scandinavian nature that Beowulf pursues for treasure as a symbol for his victory, since he realizes that death is inevitable. Therefore, any reward for him can be regarded as significant for his individual achievement. Even he perishes after fighting against the dragon, his reputation has been deeply established in his fellows’ mind.

By contrast, Aeneas is empathetic with his people and destined to accomplish many quests with the help of divinity. “I am Aeneas, duty-bound, and known / Above high air of heaven by my fame, Carrying with me in my ships our gods / Of hearth and home, saved from the enemy. I look for Italy to be my fatherland, And my descent is from all-highest Jove.” (1.519-524) This is how Aeneas introduces himself to the huntress he meets in the forest of Libya. They reveal how much his mission and responsibilities make up his identity. He perceives duty as more important than his own gain: when he falls in love with Dido, he is reminded of his goal and quickly decides to leave her but continues his journey toward the revival of his followers. Although his power is finite and limited, he is able to achieve great arms from gods that propel his triumph over his opponents. Through the war against Turnus, it can be deduced that he also has the will to ask for help from other groups of people if he is not able to handle some situations by himself. Even he wins, however, Aeneas may show sympathy for his enemies and spares them when they are powerless.

Though Beowulf and Aeneas differ in many perspectives, they share the courage and wit of completing their important goals. As Beowulf is able to defeat dreadful monsters without any other people’s help and grab his treasure for his glorious commemoration, Aeneas, being blessed with his additional strength, can also walk through the dangerous adventure and reach his fulfilling accomplishment. Both Beowulf and Aeneas are great figures during their time when certain ideologies play a large role in contemporary societies, regardless of how they overcome the many challenges place in front of them.

Summing up all the points about the two heroes’ deeds and character traits, Beowulf and Aeneas both in some way present people’s ideals about great men, but the brutal and boastful Beowulf can also be seen as an individual who pursues for his own lifelong glory, while the dutiful and fateful Aeneas is more like an idol who is able to conquer the quests for his folks.

 

Works Cited

“Beowulf.” The Norton Anthology of World Literature. Trans. Suzanne Akbari. Third ed. Vol.B. New York and London: W. W. Norton, 2012, 112-182. Print.

“The Aeneid.” The Norton Anthology of World Literature. Trans. Robert Fagles. Third ed. Vol.A. New York and London: W. W. Norton, 2012, 965-1072. Print.