Dream Children: A Reverie by Charles Lamb

Summary of “Dream Children: A Reverie”

Charles lamb who is known as The Prince of English Essayists is the writer of this memorable essay. This autobiographical essay is counted as one of the finest essays in English literature. Lamb was nearing when he wrote this fine essay. The death of his elder brother was fresh and heavy on his mind at that time. He lived a very tragic life and suffered loneliness all his life. He lost his parents soon after his birth and was brought up by his grandmother Mrs Field.

Charles Lamb was influenced in his childhood by his grandmother but she also left him very soon. He had a disappointing love affair with a girl named Ann Simmons in his youth but unfortunately, he could not marry her and remain a bachelor all his life. Even his sister was subject to the fits of madness. All these strands of his life make this essay so memorable. He wanted to get rid of his deepening loneliness but he couldn’t overcome his pain all his life. So his agitated mind created his dream children John and Alice whom he tells the real stories of his life. He dearly wanted his family and children and watches them in his reverie. He tells them the fond memories of his childhood when he spent some wonderful time at the great house in Norfolk. He tells his dream children about his grandmother, who was loved and respected by everyone because she was a good and religious lady and she knew the Psalter and Testament by heart. He also tells them his association with his elder brother John Lamb. He missed him dearly after his death. At the end of his reverie, he realizes that there is no one with him and he is bound to live alone.

There is an underneath flow of emotions behind the words of Charles Lamb. This essay has been entitled “Dream Children – A Reverie” which is the most suitable title because it depicts the emotions of a man who was left all alone and had nor one to share his feeling. So in his reverie, he creates his dream children and tells them everything about his life. The title truly reflects the mood of the essay.

Long Answer Questions

Q. Justify the statement that “Dream Children: A Reverie” is lyric in Prose.
Ans. Dream children: A Reverie is an autobiographical essay written by Charles Lamb who is famous as the ‘Prince of English Essayists’. This essay is an outburst of emotions of Charles lamb. He lived a very pathetic life because all his dear ones left him one after another forever. He missed them throughout his life. Lamb wrote this essay when he was nearing fifty.
The death of his elder brother John Lamb was fresh and heavy on his Mind. Along with this pain, He also had other sufferings which he bore all his life. He puts all his emotions in this essay. Every word of this essay tells the pain and suffering of Charles lamp.

This essay is known as ‘A lyric in Prose’. The writer has used the most refined language full of his personal sentiments. A strong flow of emotions can be seen throughout the essay. It gives this essay the status of a lyric. The essay shows expressions of the writer in full fledge just like a poem. The writer succeeds in demonstrating his emotions in his words. The family and children which he dearly wanted in his life but could not get them is perfectly depicted in this essay. So this essay is truly a lyric in prose.

Q. In Dream children- A Reverie Lamb has woven fiction round certain facts of his life. Illustrate this statement from the essay.
Ans. The essay Dream children – A Reverie is a masterpiece written by Charles Lamb. This is an autobiographical essay in which the writer tells his dream children the real stories of his life. Lamb has woven fiction around certain facts of his life in this essay. In real life, Lamb was deprived of his family and children. At fifty he dearly wanted his family and children with whom he could spend some happy time. But it was the tragedy of his life that he had no one to share his joy and sorrow. So his agitated mind creates his dream children John and Alice. He tells them all the memories of his children when he spent time with his grandmother and elder brother. Whatever he tells them his all the real facts of his life. It is his reverie in which he wishes to spend some time with his children who do not exist in real life. The narration is written in such an agreeable manner that the reader believes that everything is happening in real. The writer expresses all his emotions with his words.

Q.3 Discuss the element of pathos in the essay “Dream Children: A reverie”.
Ans. Dream children: A reverie is one of the finest essay written by Charles Lamb. In this autobiographical essay, the writer tells his dream children the memories of his childhood and his near and dear ones. This essay is an outburst of emotions that we can feel throughout the essay. It becomes clear that the death of John Lamb, the elder brother of Charles was fresh and heavy on his mind. The essay is full of element of pathos. The writer becomes emotional when he tells his dream children about his grandmother, elder brother and his beloved whom he could not marry. He missed them so much and fell all alone in the world without them. His deepening loneliness tortured him and made him suffer all the time. He wanted his family and children but they were denied to him in actual life. All these strands of his life go to make the present essay so memorable. There is a strong flow of the current of emotions which make the reader feel sympathy for Charles Lamb. We can understand the pain hidden behind his words. This essay is full of such elements which arise sympathy for the writer.

Short Answer Questions

Q.1 Write a characters ketch of Lamb’s grandmother.
Ans. Lamb’s grandmother was a housekeeper of the great house in Norfolk. Lamb was influenced in his childhood by his grandmother. She was a good and religious lady who was beloved and respected by everybody. She had a great spirit which enabled her to take care of the great house in the most dignified manner till her death she was often called the mistress of the great house though, she was just a caretaker there. She loved all her grandchildren and often invited them to spend their holidays in a great house. She was esteemed as the best dancer in her youth. Everyone believed that she knew the Psalter and Testament by heart. When she died, people from for distance came to attend her funeral to show their respect towards her.

Q.2 What sort of person was John Lamb? How did Lamb admire him?
Ans. John Lamb was the elder brother of Charles Lamb. He was loved the most by grandmother field. He was a handsome and spirited youth. Who never liked to be confined within the boundaries of the great house or the garden. He liked to do an adventurous thing. He used to mount the most mettlesome horse and go to the countryside. He liked to run a race with the hunters in the woods. Charles admired his elder brother and said that he was the king to the rest of the children he took great care of his younger brother. In childhood when Charles became a lame footed boy, he carried him over his shoulders for miles. The writer was closely associated with his elder brother and missed him a lot after his death.

Q.3 What are the similarities between Alice the mother and Alice the daughter?
Ans. Charles Lamb sees his dream children John and Alice in his reverie. His dream daughter Alice was the mirror image of her mother. Many similarities have been shown between Alice the daughter and Alice the mother. The daughter also had the same tender look on her face as her mother. The writer finds the eyes and the bright hair of the daughter just like the mother. He could not make any difference between their eyes. It appeared to him as if Alice the mother was peeping through the eyes of Alice the daughter. He considered Alice the daughter as the reincarnation ( rebirth) of Alice the mother.

Q.5 Describe cremation of Grandmother field?
Ans. Grandmother Mrs Field was beloved and respected by everybody who knew her because she was considered a pious, great and religious lady. When she died, her funeral was attended by poor and rich alike. People from for distances came to pay their homage in honour of Mrs Field. Everyone wanted to give his tribute to the lady who knew the Psalter and the Testament by heart.

Q.5 Describe how Lamb used to move about in the garden.
Ans. Charles Lamb was always excited to go to the great house in his holidays. He loved to spend his time roaming in the empty rooms of the great house. I particular he liked to mob about in the spacious garden of that house. He could spend hours there in his busy idle diversions. There were many fruit trees in the garden and children were forbidden to pluck to fruits but Charles was not interested in them.
In fact, he liked doing some other activates like running around yew trees, laying on the grass, taking the smell of the garden and basking in the orangery. His most favourite part in the garden was the little pond where he sat for hours watching the activities of fish.

Q.6 Who did grandmother field love the best among the lamb brother and why?
Ans. The writer says that Grandmother Field was very kind and loved all her grandchildren in particular she loved. John Lamb the most. It was because he was a handsome and spirited youth. He didn’t spend his time wandering in the lone house or the garden but he liked to do some adventures like riding a horse or running a race with the hunters. He was a king to the rest of the children. Everyone admired him for his helping and courageous nature but the grandmother loved and admired him the most.

Q.7 Why does Lamb say that grandmother Field was not the owner of the house ‘yet in some respect she might be said to be the mister of it too”?.
Ans. Grandmother Mrs Field was the caretaker of the great house in Norfolk. She took utmost care of the great house even when the royal family moved to the anew and more fashionable house. She looked after it in a way as if it belonged to her. She was very loyal towards her responsibilities and maintained the dignity of the house till her death. Many people respected her for dedication and loyalty. Though she wasn’t the real mistress of the house yet she was called the mistress of it too.


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