In the short story “I Sell My Dreams,” the author Gabriel Marquez throws light on the superstitious beliefs that human beings crave and depend on.
I Sell My Dreams Summary
The story begins at the Havana Riveria Hotel, where the narrator was enjoying breakfast with his friends. They noticed a car getting hauled up by a crushing wave just before them. The disasters flew everywhere, especially one car that crashed into the hotel wall. The accident shook everyone and became the reason for great panic among the onlookers. The tourists in the hotel were thrown across the lobby. The fire department arrived soon and began cleaning the wreckage.
The car that crashed into the hotel wall was airlifted using a crane. Among the ruins, the body of a woman was retrieved. She was killed instantly when the car collided and wore tattered clothes. Her identity was revealed as being the housekeeper to the Portuguese Ambassador. There was, however, one familiar accessory she wore that the narrator was familiar with. It was her gold ring, shaped like a snake and with emerald eyes.
The presence of the ring was bothering the narrator. He had seen the ring some thirty-five years ago. It was worn by an exceptional woman he met in Vienna at a tavern while she was having her meal. Her charm, dress, and jewelry had captivated the narrator. She was originally from Colombia and came to Austria as the war began. She spoke a little Spanish and liked music.
The narrator was in awe of her. The two started spending time together, but she never revealed her name. The narrator called her Frau Frieda. When asked what she did for a living, she replied, “I sell my dreams.” She was in her thirties and was the third child among the seven in old Caldas. Her family has a practice of telling dreams before they had breakfast, and she believed in it wholeheartedly. She thought of herself as an oracle of dreams, a clairvoyant of the future. She had convinced her family that her dreams were very potent when she had a dream about her brother, and it showed her power to foretell events through her dreams.
During the Viennese winners, Frau Frieda got a job at the house of a very religious family and was given a room, three meals a day, and wages enough to cover minor expenses. Her job only requires her to understand her dreams and interpret them to predict the family’s daily fate. The family planned their actions and inactions around her predictions, and she was equated to the authorial seal of the house. When the master of the house died, he bequeathed a part of their estate to her, provided that she continues to predict the family’s future.
One day Frieda visited the tavern and met the narrator. She told him that she had a dream about him and asked him to leave Vienna. Her conviction was so strong that the author believed her talent and left for Rome the same night and did not go to Vienna since.
Thirteen years later, the narrator was in Barcelona with poet Pablo Neruda. It was Neruda’s first time in Spain since the Spanish Civil War. During lunch, Neruda whispered to the narrator that a woman was continuously staring at them. The narrator turns back and is pleasantly surprised as he recognizes the woman to be Frieda. She was more plump and grey and was still wearing the ring. The narrator introduces her to the table, and she talks about her dreams as Neruda rejected them as inconceivable.
The narrator takes a stroll with Frieda post-lunch and finds out that she inherited the whole estate. She told the narrator that he could now go back to Vienna if he wished to, which he said he would not even if her dreams were not true. Neruda and the author left her to go back and sleep. About ten minutes after going to sleep, Neruda wakes up and exclaims that he saw Frieda, the woman who dreams, in his dream. Neruda’s wife grew anxious because of it and requested him to disclose this to Frieda. When it was time to depart, the narrator met Frieda to bid her goodbye. She tells him that she dreamt that Neruda was dreaming about her and this surprised the narrator. On noticing the amazement on the narrator’s face, she quickly justified it and said that there are some dreams that slip in and have nothing to do with reality.
The narrator never thought of her until the day of the incident. The ring on the woman’s finger revived his memories of Frieda and he had to ask the Portuguese Ambassador about her. He met him at a diplomatic event and spoke about her. The Ambassador was enchanted with her powers and abilities. The narrator enquired his last question, “What did she do for you?” To that, the Ambassador replied, “She dreamed.”
I Sell My Dreams Analysis
The story is based on two distinct areas- the war and the post-war eras. During wartime, Frau stayed with the Viennese family that was very superstitious which was not uncommon during the time. The characters played an important role in establishing the precedent of superstitions. Frau was the unaffected bearer of the same and the author was the recipient of the same. The story shows that her dreams could be considered prophetic because of her own superstitious upbringing.
Throughout the story, the narrator used techniques to create a backdrop and made the story seem realistic. There was an ironic undertone throughout the story and with other such use of literary devices, the narrator successfully immerses the readers into the superstitious world.
I Sell My Dreams Theme
The story shows the fulfillment and belief of protection people attain with their beliefs, faith, and superstitions. A belief in what goes beyond the explainable is helpful in cases when someone has to make a decision. With the setting, characters, syntax, and diction, the narrator expands on this theme and uses the most ironic tone.
I Sell My Dreams Key Points
The short story “I sell my dreams” carries a sense of security for the ones in stress and difficulty to look out for the most unexpected, unexplainable causes and solutions. It throws light on the presence of things that are not just confined to physical sciences and extends itself to the metaphysical state of being.