Dreams are defined as a series of images, ideas, and emotions occuring involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep(dictionary.com). In the novel, Einstein’s Dreams, Einstein presents his theory of time as a dream-like series of “images, ideas, and emotions” to allow the reader to relate to his experiences. His dreams take hold of his research blurring his grip on reality. Each chapter takes a different perspective of time, conveying the world as a mosaic of his intangible thoughts. By structuring the novel in this manner, Lightman suggests that time exists merely as an abstraction.
Throughout the novel, Einstein expresses time as a series of dreams.He begins by suggesting that “time is a circle, bending back on itself. The world repeats itself precisely, endlessly”(6). Lightman uses strangers to act out the images of each scene, providing a distant look at the world. He flashes from one scenario to another to create the sense of an outsider looking in on a dream. Thus, he is able to see that “in the world in which time is a circle, every handshake, every kiss, every birth, every word will be repeated precisely”(8). By looking in on these images, Einstein is able to make conclusions about the world.
In one chapter, Einstein defines the world as a series of images: “an eggshell, white fragile, unbroken, roses cut and adrift on the river beneath the bridge, with a chateau rising, the purple petals of an iris held by a young woman”(60). Lightman paints a very poetic scene of the world to emphasize the dream-like quality of his ideas.
In another chapter, Lightman describes a flock of nightingales as time. “Time flutters and hops with these birds. Trap one of these nightingales beneath a bell jar and time stops”(137). He makes a valid distinction between the youth and the elderly; he conveys the desperation that the elderly feel to slow time while children “have no desire to stop time…for [it] moves too slowly already”(137) for them. Lightman...