Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The power of dreams

When the crew is losing hope, Albanov dreams of a fortune-teller whose message will fortify the struggling men. In the dream, "a scrawny old man with white hair...appeared from behind a block of ice," and Albanov and his men know immediately that he is a fortune-teller (46). The old man tells him that open water is nearby, but cannot complete his message before Albanov wakes. Nevertheless, the message and presence of the fortune-teller in a dream is enough to encourage the crew. Albanov makes no claim that an actual fortune-teller was a work, and acknowledges that his illness had made him hallucinate the day before, but the power of that one dream to restore the hopes of the men is remarkable. This scene is a good example of the superstitions that can empower, rather than disempower, an expedition.

1 comment:

  1. I think this also illuminates the illusory (or maybe just unimportant) nature of the distinction between truth and fiction. Albanov's dream may not be "true," but that doesn't make it any less important in terms of the expedition, just as the "truth" of the narrative doesn't necessarily impact its effect on us.