Page:Freud - The interpretation of dreams.djvu/316

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

298 THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS

it refers—and then we know, in a manner which is quite analogous to knowledge in waking life, that this or that person is the one who is meant—while the visual features belong to another person; or the dream image itself is composed of visual features which in reality are shared by both. Instead of visual features, also, the part played by the second person may be represented by the mannerisms which are usually ascribed to him, the words which he usually speaks, or the situations in which he is usually imagined. In the latter method of characterisation the sharp distinction between identification and composition of persons begins to disappear. But it may also happen that the formation of such a mixed personality is unsuccessful. The situation of the dream is then attributed to one person, and the other—as a rule the more important one—is introduced as an inactive and unconcerned spectator. The dreamer relates something like "My mother was also there" (Stekel).

The common feature which justifies the union of the two persons — that is to say, which is the occasion for it—may either be represented in the dream or be absent. As a rule, identification or composition of persons simply serves the purpose of dispensing with the representation of this common feature. Instead of repeating: "A is ill disposed towards me, and B is also," I make a composite person of A and B in the dream, or I conceive A as doing an unaccustomed action which usually characterises B. The dream person obtained in this way appears in the dream in some new connection, and the fact that it signifies both A and B justifies me in inserting that which is common to both—their hostility towards me—at the proper place in the interpretation of the dream. In this manner I often achieve a very extraordinary degree of condensation of the dream content; I can save myself the direct representation of very complicated relations belonging to a person, if I can find a second person who has an equal claim to a part of these relations. It is also obvious to what extent this representation by means of identification can circumvent the resisting censor, which makes the dream activity conform to such harsh conditions. That which offends the censor may lie in those very ideas which are connected in the dream material with the one person; I now find