Einstein's Dreams | Study Guide

Alan Lightman

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Course Hero. "Einstein's Dreams Study Guide." Course Hero. 30 Mar. 2017. Web. 21 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 21, 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 21, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Einsteins-Dreams/.

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Course Hero, "Einstein's Dreams Study Guide," March 30, 2017, accessed July 21, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Einsteins-Dreams/.

Einstein's Dreams | 27 June 1905 | Summary

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Summary

Once a week a quarry worker brings stones from the quarry to the masonry. While he is in the city he makes purchases, visits the church, and sends letters. Even though people try to say hello to him, he doesn't make eye contact or slow down to talk. Some 40 years earlier he was embarrassed at school and made fun of by his classmates; the memory continues to haunt him after all this time. He is stuck in the past. The past is constantly shifting, though; suddenly one day the man wakes up and is no longer stuck. He is someone else now. All over the city people are stuck in their own memories, which ultimately blow away as though they never happened at all.

Analysis

This dream world echoes the dream world of 22 June 1905 in that people's relationship to time is a matter of perception. This dream world follows a man who is stuck in a moment from his past, one he cannot control. The worker can become unstuck simply by shifting his perceptions because perceptions are deeply linked with a sense of time. The man's past doesn't necessarily influence his present or future; it's merely his perception of the past that colors his life—his belief that everyone defines him by one embarrassing moment. This illustrates how people's perception of time and the past can dictate beliefs about their present.

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