Sunday, April 6, 2008
Doctor Hoffman and Dream Interpretation
If anyone were to read even the back of the book for a basic premise summary of “The Infernal Desire Machines of Dr. Hoffman” and they were taking a Critical Theory course like this one, one of the easiest theories that could be applied to this novel is Psychoanalysis. Since Psychoanalysis is essentially dream interpretation and the titular Desire Machines focus on people’s dreams, interpreting them would be a challenge. A good example that this theory could be applied to this story is early on, page 19, “By the end of the first year there was no longer any way of guessing what one would see when one would opened one’s eyes in the morning for other people’s dreams insidiously invaded the bedroom while one slept and yet it seemed that sleep was out last privacy for, while we slept, at least we knew that we were dreaming although the stuff of our waking hours, so buffered by phantoms, had grown thin and insubstantial enough to seem itself no more than seeming, or else fragile marginalia of our dreams.” The rest of the paragraph goes on to describe some of the phantoms and sights that people see either awake or asleep, from “dead children” to “abandoned lovers”. Adapting Psychoanalysis to these dreams and probing deeper into them with interpretations of our own would make for a very interesting paper on the matter.