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Facing the Page

Literacy in the Arts: Dreams


This past Friday, the group shared their dreams in front of the class. They shared dreams that they had during sleep, as well as those that they hope to achieve.

One student shared her dream of moving into an apartment in Croton Falls, a small city north of Manhattan reachable by train. Sol then explored with the class how one might represent her dream with a photograph without photographing a person. Some students answered, "a train," another said, "an apartment."

Sol offered another alternative—the metaphor. She explained what a metaphor is and asked the students to consider what their answers might be if they used metaphor to represent their dreams—especially useful for dreams that cannot be represented directly, as in Billy's reoccurring dream of ending up in jail. A jail is a place we cannot access, so we must find another way to represent the dream, such as a metaphor that can reveal the emotions that the dream caused.

In Billy's case, the metaphor may be a bird in a cage. She expanded this idea of metaphor to include colors that might create mood in the photograph. Perhaps a dream about fear might be represented by "a dark alley", one student said.

The students lit up with understanding of what was being asked and they were quick to give their ideas about how to show emotions. Depression could be shown with black and gray, they said. Happiness with the sun and flowers...

Their homework: (1) photograph this dream somehow and (2) choose a subway stop in a new neighborhood and photograph the way another culture lives in that area.


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