Einstein's Dreams | Study Guide

Alan Lightman

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Course Hero. "Einstein's Dreams Study Guide." March 30, 2017. Accessed November 17, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Einsteins-Dreams/.


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Einstein's Dreams | 14 May 1905 | Summary



In this world time stands still. Raindrops stay suspended in the air, and people pause midmotion. If a traveler approaches this world they will begin to move more and more slowly until they stop at the center. Two kinds of travelers are drawn to this frozen world: lovers and parents. Here lovers' feelings will never fade, and children will never grow older. People can move if they are not at the world's center, but they move "at the pace of glaciers." Some say it is best to avoid the center of time since without the passage of time people can't truly live their lives. But some would rather have "an eternity of contentment," even if it is frozen.


Time's structure in this dream world is linked to people's emotions and relationships. People in this dream world are similar to those in 26 April 1905 who live at higher altitudes in order to gain a few precious seconds of time. Here people attempt to "cheat" time by moving closer to its "center," where it slows down. By doing so they hope to freeze moments of happiness in relationships. But although time slows down, their sense of time does not. In fact, when people leave the center of time, they find they've lost relationships and the sense of having lived their lives. Here Lightman brings the motif of consequence into play yet again, showing the Dream Figures contending with this "frozen time" paradox.

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