Einstein's Dreams | Study Guide

Alan Lightman

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Course Hero. "Einstein's Dreams Study Guide." Course Hero. 30 Mar. 2017. Web. 19 July 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Einsteins-Dreams/>.

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Course Hero. (2017, March 30). Einstein's Dreams Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved July 19, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Einsteins-Dreams/

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Course Hero. "Einstein's Dreams Study Guide." March 30, 2017. Accessed July 19, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Einsteins-Dreams/.

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Course Hero, "Einstein's Dreams Study Guide," March 30, 2017, accessed July 19, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Einsteins-Dreams/.

Einstein's Dreams | 15 May 1905 | Summary

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Summary

In this world, there is no time; there are only frozen images that exist outside of time like still photographs. Since time doesn't pass, the narrator doesn't present any stories of series of events, but merely recites a litany of images involving people and the world. None of these moments can be connected through time, so they are presented as individual snapshots independent of each other.

Analysis

Within the larger context of the dreams presented in the novel, this dream world stands apart, since it doesn't deal with the consequences of time, or its effect on humanity. The narrator invites the reader to imagine inhabiting a world in which time doesn't exist, and to consider how one might translate or understand images without the context of time. Without this context, it's impossible to know whether the images that are being presented are meaningless or significant, since the human mind attaches memory and time to images—an image from the past, perhaps, or one that imagines the future. Humans use time in order to make sense of the world, including their memories and the images they see around them. To the reader, the images that are presented in this vignette merely seem like a list of disconnected things.

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