59 pages 1 hour read

Sigmund Freud

The Interpretation of Dreams

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 1899

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Chapter 7

Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Chapter 7 Summary and Analysis: "The Psychology of the Dream Processes"

Even dreams that are simple to interpret, such as typical dreams, are still marked by “the essential characteristics which conspicuously differentiate a dream from our waking thoughts, and this difference demands explanation” (333). Where the previous chapter has focused on the processes within the dream that give rise to its content, this chapter focuses on the deeper psychic processes that create and surround dreams themselves. Freud looks to several dynamics to investigate this.

A. The Forgetting of Dreams

Memory seems “peculiarly incapable of retaining dreams” (334). Instead, we forget dreams or only recall fragments. The narrative order of dreams is often added afterward, such that the most important components of a dream to interpretation may in fact be points added in recall. However, as Freud has noted elsewhere, even the minutiae of dreams are relevant to their interpretation: “Every analysis will afford evidence of the fact that the most insignificant features of the dream are indispensable to interpretation” (335). Furthermore, secondary elaboration is itself subject to censorship and other subconscious forces and can as such be worked into the interpretation. In fact, patient doubt of the events of dreams is generally a sign that a dream-thought is being approached, since censorship works on the dreamer’s waking mind and blocks access to the undesired wish the dream expresses.