Wednesday, July 11, 2012

lifestyles of the rich and imprisoned

Good morning, everybody.

This post is related to this entry in my dream journal.

Also, I added a drawing to this entry in my dream journal.

The most striking image in the dream for me was the image of the Vesuvius castle. I think this image largely comes from my reading Little Dorrit, by Charles DickensA good amount of the second half of the novel has taken place in Venice.

Little Dorrit's family has been found to be the heirs to a great fortune. They are released from the Marshalsea debtor's prison. Immediately, after settling accounts with some people, and seeing to the well-being of some other people, the family goes out on a series of travels. While out on their travels, the family meets up with some other people from London. The groups of people all end up in Venice, where, apparently, they decide to spend a large portion of their time.

Of course, Venice is a city of canals, and, as Dickens describes it, is kind of like a labyrinth of canals. Now in my dream, the canals are dry, so they look like aqueducts. In my experience, aqueducts are used as channels to divert storm waters flowing down from watersheds, in order to prevent flooding. So most of the time, aqueducts are dry. But I'm not sure if the network of concrete is really supposed to be aqueducts or canals, or if it's supposed to be something altogether different.

Again, why should I substitute "Vesuvius" for "Venice?" Vesuvius is a Volcano, and Venice is a town. My dream begins with the launching of a space rocket. So maybe my dream took the name Vesuvius for the estate to combine the town of Venice with the explosive action of the launching of the space rocket. I'm not sure.

The Vesuvius of my dreams is famous because of something to do with wine. Wine also plays a big role in passages of Little Dorrit, in a number of different ways. One of the characters, I can't remember who right now, made a good deal of money off a vineyard. All throughout the story, wine is shown as an illustration of the comforts that certain establishments can provide people. And even the way people drink wine (or, in one occasion, wipe it off their mustache) can indicate what kind of a person one is.

The "gated" community feel of the Vesuvius of my dreams also relates to a passage where Little Dorrit reflects on the similarities of the lives of the extremely wealthy with the lives of the poor in the Marshalsea debtor's prison.

In fact, I'd like to share the passage with you where Little Dorrit reflects on the similarities. The passage is from the rights-free Project Gutenberg version of the book, the link to which is above.

"It appeared on the whole, to Little Dorrit herself, that this same society in which they lived, greatly resembled a superior sort of Marshalsea. Numbers of people seemed to come abroad, pretty much as people had come to the prison; through debt, through idleness, relationship, curiosity, and general unfitness for getting on at home. They were brought into these foreign towns in the custody of couriers and local followers, just as the debtors had been brought into the prison. They prowled about the churches and the picture-galleries, much in the old, dreary, prison-yard manner. They were usually going away again tomorrow or next week, and rarely knew their own minds, and seldom did what they said they would do, or went where they said they would go: in all this again, very like the prison debtors. They paid high for poor accommodation, and disparaged a place while they pretended to like it: which was exactly the Marshalsea custom. They were envied when they went away by people left behind, feigning not to want to go: and this again was the Marshalsea habit invariably. A certain set of words and phrases, as much belonging to tourists as the College and the Snuggery belonged to the jail, was always in their mouths. They had precisely the same incapacity for settling down to anything, as the prisoners used to have; they rather deteriorated one another, as the prisoners used to do; and they wore untidy dresses, and fell into a slouching way of life: still, always like the people in the Marshalsea."

Before reading Little Dorrit last night, I looked through the Connoisseur booklet of luxury homes put out by Sotheby's Denver in June. The Connoisseur comes with my copy of the Denver Business Journal. Of course, I don't have the money to buy one of those multi-million dollar homes. But I love to look through the pictures and imagine what it would be like to live in one of those places. I'm not alone in that, I'm sure.

So I think my dream combined my fantasy of living in one of those luxury houses with Little Dorrit's reflections on the idle lives of the wealthy in Venice, to make a Vesuvius castle as a part of some gated community.

The interesting thing is that the "Himalayan Museum" is located down in the bowels of this concrete network before the Vesuvius castle. Of course, the "Himalayan Museum" is the Ruben Museum of Himalayan Art, distorted into some kind of basement convention center, for some reason.

But what also strikes me as odd about that is that the Himalayas are well known for being very high mountains. But here we have a Himalayan Museum, a museum for the cultures of the high mountains, being entrenched before a castle named after a volcano, or a mountain. So the mountains are trenches before a mountain. I'm not sure why that is, either.

Of course, Vesuvius had an entire culture at its base -- Pompey -- which was destroyed by the volcano. So that could be a part of it. Maybe my dream is somehow comparing Himalayan culture with Pompeyan culture. I don't know.

Another thing I'd quickly like to mention is the connection of my first dream with a movie I watched last night, "Billie." The movie stars Patty Duke and was made in 1965. The movie is about a girl who uses the rock and roll rhythms inside her head to pace herself for running. By using these rhythms, she can actually make herself run so fast that she can beat all of the boys on the track team. There's actually no girls' track team at this school -- because in 1965, this film says, sports were thought of as something girls didn't do.

The film is actually pretty cool. Patty Duke is awesome. And there are a couple of other pretty intriguing plot lines in the film, besides the track star plot. But one of the main things that people talk about throughout the film is equality between men and women. One of my favorite ideas, stated by Billie's father, is that Billie has invented a third sex, in addition to men and women: the sex of "equals."

Of course, even before this film, people were speaking of "third genders." I think Havelock Ellis may even have mentioned homosexuals as being a "third gender." And transgendered people were, and still are, sometimes, thought of as a third gender. But I don't think I've ever heard the third gender referred to as "equals." It sounded too awesome -- like something you might hear in a science fiction novel. Anyway, that's at least part of the reason I had that dream about equality.

But an image in my fourth dream also comes from the movie. Since there are no sports for girls in "Billie," there's apparently also no girls' locker room. So the boys make a locker room especially for Billie. The locker room is, unfortunately, the storage room/boiler room, apparently. But the boys do it up nicely, so that Billie feels welcome.

I took the idea of a storage room and made it into my house, and then into my grandma's house (or vice versa -- I'm not sure). My grandma's house is kind of like storage. She has a lot of stuff. It fills up her whole house.

And my apartment -- well, I barely have anything. Seriously. Outside of my books and notebooks, I barely have anything. But I think I think of my apartment -- of my whole entire life -- as storage. Because I have, for instance, a whole bunch of accumulated knowledge, and I'm just not putting it to any sort of good use.

I keep on trying and trying to think why this is. Why am I so unactive? How could I have spent -- for goodness sake -- close to seventeen years by now, if you include my three years of college, studying and studying and writing and writing, and not doing anything -- or, really, only doing a very negligible amount -- with all this stuff? I just store it up. Store, store, store.

It does make me think of another passage of Little Dorrit, which I'll end this entry by sharing with you:

"Fanny has adapted herself to our new fortunes with wonderful ease...

"This reminds me that I have not been able to do so, and that I sometimes despair of ever being able to do so. I find that I cannot learn. ... I am so slow that I scarcely get on at all. As soon as I begin to plan, and think, and try, all my planning, thinking, and trying go in old directions, and then I remember with a start that there are no such cares left, and that in itself is so new and improbable that it sets me wandering again...

"It is the same with all these new countries and wonderful sights. They are very beautiful, and they astonish me, but I am not collected enough -- not familiar enough with myself, if you can quite understand what I mean -- to have all the pleasure in them that I might have. What I knew before them, blends with them, too, so curiously. For instance, when we were among the mountains, I often felt... as if the Marshalsea must be behind that great rock; or as if Mrs. Clennam's room where I have worked so many days, and where I first saw you [Arthur Clennam], must be just beyond that snow. Do you remember one night when I came with Maggy to your lodging in Covent Garden? That room I have often and often fancied I have seen before me, travelling along for miles by the side of our carriage, when I have looked out of the carriage-window after dark. We were shut out that night, and sat at the iron gate, and walked about till morning. I often look up at the stars, even from the balcony of this room, and believe that I am in the street again, shut out with Maggy."

No comments:

Post a Comment