Romeo and Juliet at King's Island-or-The Poetry of Young Love: Part 1

Parenting and the Coming of Age Story

After I had been told about the "birds and the bees", my adolescence was marked by little serious parental intervention. No need to worry anyways, I was more the Dantean "love at a distance", "type of guy". My parent's house rules were fairly simple, come home on time on school nights 9 pm, and 11pm on week-ends. If you're late, call. If my parents went on vacation, which they often did when I was an adolescent, then there would be a party at my house. Never did I ever hear from my parents upon their return home, that I (or my friends) had left a mess. The house was always left spotless, more or less. During one Christmas my family vacationed in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico by now I was 18. We had adjoining rooms.

A few days into the vacation, I met a couple of medical students. We agreed to go out for a night on the town. In a Volkswagen "Thing" my father had rented, we went to a "disco", called "The City Dump". Quite a hopping place. The first night, I came back to the hotel room just after 2AM, I sensed my parents were still up, however I just went to bed. Next morning at breakfast, nothing was said. The next night, the two medical students and I again went into town. This time, I returned after 4AM to my hotel room. This time, out of the darkness of the hotel room adjacent to mine came my father's voice, I was being called to the carpet. After that night, or morning as the case might be, I was never called to the carpet again, I had gained my freedom. A number of years later we reminisced about the vacation and they humorously admitted that they had been awake that first night.

Not all adolescents are that fortunate, in their "coming of age story". Parents can make life difficult for their children, not that the reverse can also be very true. While parental guidance (PG) is very important, parents also need to understand the needs of the adolescent to grow, experiment and test boundaries in order to learn. Dictatorial parenting can only lead to conflict and often psychological injury. Here then is one such adolescent's dream.

Charlene, 17

In my dream, it was myself, my little brother, my mom, and the guy that I'm currently talking to (Bobby). We're on a ride, Adventure Express at Paramount's King's Island.  After we got off the ride, Booby and my little brother wandered off in separate directions.  As soon as they left, my mom started yelling at me for dating Bobby.  She told me it was disgusting and that I should be ashamed.  When Bobby came back, I asked him where he had been and he told me that he didn't feel comfortable around my family and that he could sense how my mother felt about him.  So, he just decided to stay away. I felt very hurt. Then I woke up."

Mark's Reply: Romeo and Juliet -or- The Poetry of the Family Dialogue of Love

"Oh Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art Thou Romeo?"

The recurring archetypal theme of young teenage lovers, is given voice in another dream interpretation, Coming of Age posted at the International Institute for Dream Research website. The interpretation itself is dated, mainly because the film "Summer of 42", was one I remember seeing as an adolescent. Which begs the question, what coming of age film, song or book do you remember? Today a great deal of "dating" takes place on the Internet. Already in 1998, I had an adolescent referred to me because an Internet "triangle" had developed.

Ethel S. Person "Dreams of Love and Fateful Encounters", provides a psychological structure and background for Charlene's dream above. Person states; "Because falling in love is a complex psychological act, it should come as no surprise that there are precursors during the process of growing up. Indeed, there is a developmental series of ‘love dialogues,' the apex of which is the mature act of achieving mutual love."

Charlene's dream is one part of the developmental series of dialogues of love, that she will give voice to in her life and in her lifetime of dreaming. As she grows older, she may decide to say, "I do", and thus be married. Later, she may ask the nurse to hold her new born baby, thus beginning the generational conversation anew. Later, she may hold the hand of her dying parent. Later, her child may hold her hand on her own deathbed. This is the dialogue of love and the generational circle of life's dialogues.

The dialogue in Charlene's dream however is darker and more depressing. Charlene is intuitive for an adolescent, for she understands that love is a dialogue by saying; "the guy that I'm currently talking to (Bobby)." Unfortunately the conversation between Bobby and Charlene takes on a tragic poetic turn due to parental intervention (Charlene's mother); "As soon as they left, my mom started yelling at me for dating Bobby.  She told me it was disgusting and that I should be ashamed." The mother's private conversation is inducing shame and disgust into the mind, feelings and body of her child. The mother's motives are uncertain, even if the message to the daughter is a clear one. Perhaps the missing father from the dream provides a family conversational clue? The popular song Family Portrait by Pink may provide an answer?

Shakespearean Courtship Rituals -or- Poetic Darkness and Light

In the extreme, such tragic family dialogues have been reported to us in literary form. "Romeo and Juliet" by Shakespeare who personifies the archetypal poetic problems of young love and how relationships become  emotionally entangled when parents interfere in their children's "courtship rituals" (aka "dating") and "wooing". Shakespeare employed the dream in Romeo and Juliet, to dramatically underscore the developmental thoughts, feelings, motives and dialogue of young lovers. This Shakespearean "dialogue of love" is marked by the play of "metaphor", specifically the poetics and poetry of the game of love. Other dreams such as Don't Let the Sun Catch you Crying, sent by an adolescent has a similar Shakespearean light and dark poetic message.

That the dialogue and poetry of love takes a tragic turn in Charlene's dream is found towards the end when she calls Bobby out; "When Bobby came back, I asked him where he had been...." Bobby's response to Charlene; "he told me that he didn't feel comfortable around my family and that he could sense how my mother felt about him.  So, he just decided to stay away. I felt very hurt. Then I woke up."

 Somnililoquy of Love -or- The Undiscovered Country of Dream Language

Much like the soliloquy in the balcony scene of Romeo and Juliet, we are allowed to eavesdrop (via the dream) into the dramatic communication dynamics of Bobby, Charlene and her mother. Bobby and her mother both dramatically speak their mind, it is Charlene who is the metaphoric and emotional "monkey in the middle" (aka "Keep away game"), leaving her feeling hurt.

On a few final notes, the psychological phenomena of "dream speech", has received little attention from a dream research perspective. Similar to the soliloquy the "somnliloquy" of Charlene most likely was only dramatically heard in her head only, and not verbalized as evidenced in some sleep disorders. Dream speech, may provide clues to a variety of speech and communication phenomena including poetry and the language of dreams. In this context, Frank Heynick's "Language and its Disturbances in Dreams" is the only book I have (for some 15 years) that scientifically attempts to understand the psychological problem of language in dreams. It was nice to hear at an International Association for the Study of Dreams conference a couple of years ago Deirdre Barrett present a paper discussing the book.

Charlene's dream above, as so many other dreams and interpretations posted at the IIDR, (especially "The Third Reich of Dreams" shows us), is that this aspect of "Language in Dreams", is still part of Hamlet's " the undiscovered country". It is this Shakespearian literary world of the dreams of comedy, tragedy and history playing out in the "Global Village" as we speak, that the IIDR is poetically making visible and audible for you (the reader).

Read; Shakespearean Dream of Love: Part 2


All material Copyright 2006 International Institute for Dream Research. All rights reserved.