Charles Lamb’s “Dream Children”
The work “Dream Children” by Charles Lamb reflects many aspects of Lamb’s psyche. This work reveals Lamb’s desire to have children. He dreams of telling the children of Grandmother Field; this shows a certain intimacy he wanted to have with children. However, his idea of having children becomes twisted with the line “We are nothing; less than nothing and dreams.” This line shows how confused he is about having children and how they seem transparent. The thought that “children are a good topic to think about, but not have in reality,” consumes him.
Lamb’s past may explain this thought of his. His mental instability and seeing Mary stab his mother may have created this traumatic effect. In the end, the dream changes as if it becomes a nightmare and Lamb or Elia jolts himself awake. There may be some argument that this may have been a dream dreamt while he was taking opium or while hallucinating on opium. “Dream Children,” may have been inspired by Charles Lamb’s negative experience of opium intake. At first, everything seems to be OK, however the gradual decay of sanity occurs and everything becomes unclear and incoherent.
Also, this work closely resembles Alice in Wonderland. The main character is Alice and the events take place in a science fiction parallel universe. The Queen of Hearts likes to behead the characters, which makes me think of Charles’s sister Mary stabbing their mother. Alice also falls in to a hole because she is not content with her life and so she ventures off to another place, much like Lamb does in his essay. Because he does not have children of his own, he dreams of children and their characteristics.