In this analysis of the short story, “Candy” by Nick Antosca, required myself to research and understand the discipline of dream interpretation. “Candy” is about a dream Nick Antosca had while he was in High School. In this neighborhood suburb there had been an outbreak of contaminated swimming pool water due to a pool cleaning agent. The contaminated pool water caused hallucination and dementia. This dream shared the same initial plot with another popular story by John Cleeve “The Swimmer”. The protagonist decided to swim in all the swimming pools in his neighborhood. As the story, just like a typical dream, things started to become suspicious and uncanny. Why did Nick dream of the water being contaminated while physically pleasing? Why was he obsessed with Megan? Did the ending have two meanings?
When it comes to dreams we really do not understand where it comes from, what is it trying to tell us and why we have them. Many uninformed people might suggest that dreams are random, like static on a radio, however, observationally it provides more than it seems. Dreams happen to you; rather than you create it like a thought while conscious, where you can state some form of credibility, it behaves independently. It functions like an involuntary form of cognition. This indicates that there are things thinking within you. This same sentiment is also shared by someone who is not a psychoanalyst, Fredrick Nietzsche. In his book Beyond Good and Evil he addresses this topic, “namely, that a thought comes when ‘it’ wishes, and not when ‘I’ wish; so that it is a perversion of the facts of the case to say that the subject ‘I’ is the condition of the predicate ‘think.’ one thinks; but that this ‘one’ is precisely the famous old ‘ego,’ is, to put it mildly, only a supposition, an assertion, and assuredly not an ‘immediate certainty.’ After all, one has even gone too far with this ‘one thinks’—even the ‘one’ contains an interpretation of the process, and does not belong to the process itself”.
Trying to interpret dreams is very difficult task, which additional gets harder when the creator of the dream is absent from your presence. Because, one of the main methods used to help interpret dreams is Free Association. In Free Association, the dreamer describes certain scenes from the dream and articulates what they felt and other thought that were linked that raised while describing. Through meaning and feeling, not logic, dreams convey ideas.
One of the pioneers of dream interpretation, Sigmund Freud, view dreams as wish fulfillments. He believed that you sub-conscious is fully of hidden secrets and desires. They pressure the Ego to display themselves but the Ego works hard to suppress them. The Ego tried to suppress these desires because within it there are internal sensors which block certain messages that the conscious did not want to hear. However, while sleeping, Freud believes that Ego weakens with cause the desires to manifest themselves as dreams. But because the Ego is not full inactive, it is still able to transform this desire into symbols, so that we can live out our desire and fantasies without knowing.
Carl Jung who had a different perspective toward dream interpretation, states that dreams are full displaying itself the best it could, even though they are vague and incoherent. He believed that dreams share a link between the conscious and the sun-conscious just like Freud, but unlike Freud, he also believes that dreams share the same narrative structure as the mythological representations. Jung was famous for his idea about the collective unconscious, that generates our ambitions to the ideal which then manifest itself as dreams.
Dreams are very interesting because, dreams tell you things don’t know, which is quite strange because why or how could you think up things you don’t know. It’s fascinating, why don’t you know already understand what the dreams are saying? Secondly, why does it have to manifest itself as a dream?
In analyzing the entire story, it seems Nick Antosca represented in his dream, from my interpretation, the growing distance between him and his girlfriend, Megan, which ended in a breakup. This story was written using several recurring motif, literary comparisons, and interesting literary structuring. The dream was set in the suburbs during the spring. Throughout the neighborhood there was an influx of new swimming pool being built due to Christmas salary bonuses and vying among neighbors to see who would have the better pool. Later in the dream, there was a discovery that the pools’ cleaning agent caused hallucinations and dementia. I believe that the toxic pool water represented the unhealthy infatuation he had developed for Megan. Evidence being that every time he enters the water he gets into a euphoric state. Nick’s behavior in and out of the pool water resembles the same behavior as a drug addict. Every time he is out of the water he gets headaches and pain as if he was experiencing withdrawals. Additionally, his thinking is equivalent someone who is having a psychedelic experience and is now seeing the world in a whole new lens, or in Nick’s case “Bliss beyond bliss. What a world, all in glorious Technicolor. Can vision be too clear? Can you overdose on clarity?”.
In another observation, I realized as the writing progresses and the pace increase that the paragraphs got shorter. This technique was used quite brilliantly, because as Nick started to hallucinate more and lose his inhibition, it felt as if he was fast forwarding through time. It indicated to the reader that he is not fully aware of environment and actions.
In the conclusion of the dream, I had to main two interpretations. However, it relies on if Nick had the dream before or after the breakup. Again, by not having the opportunity to talk with the dreamer it makes it tougher to interpret. In our sub-conscious, we tend to suppress information we may not want to acknowledge. If the dream is prior, his sub-conscious is trying to indicate that he is hiding the fact that the relationship is coming to an end, and is anticipating the breakup. Whilst if the dream is post breakup, he sub-consciously knows that he must let go of the feeling he is holding on to. Evidence being “I don’t open my eyes. I am thinking great thoughts. My veins scream. My skin is peeling off, floating in strips”.
In conclusion, dreams hold vast information which can tell us a lot about what is hidden in your sub-conscious that wants to display itself. There are still many aspects of dream interpretation that I don’t understand. I believe to get a better grasp of dream interpretation, you would have to increase your knowledge of mythology, symbolism and familiarize yourself with the big thinkers in this field, like Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud. Similarly, in the dream of Nick Antosca, symbolism played a huge part in his sub-conscious communication with the conscious. Representations like the contaminated water and his euphoric state every time he is in the water, hold certain meaning. In suggestion if one is trying to grasp the introduction into learning about dream interpretation and about the sub-conscious I would four main books. These are “The Interpretation of Dreams” by Sigmund Freud, “Man and his Symbols” by Carl Jung, “Maps of Meaning” by Jordan Peterson, and lastly, “The Origins and History of Consciousness” by Eric Neumann.
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