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  1. #1

    complacent dream

    Hi again

    Just wondering what "a complacent dream of activity" mean in the following sentence:

    General D'Hubert experienced the horror of a somnambulist who wakes
    up from a complacent dream of activity to find himself walking on a
    quagmire.


    As far as I understand, a somnambulistist is the same as a sleepwalker, and with that in mind, does a complacent dream of activity mean that the fictive somnabulist has been sleepwalking and is waking up only to find himself in a place he doesn't want to be. In that case, what has complacency to do with it all?

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: complacent dream

    Quote Originally Posted by Caorthine View Post
    Hi again

    Just wondering what "a complacent dream of activity" mean in the following sentence:

    General D'Hubert experienced the horror of a somnambulist who wakes
    up from a complacent dream of activity to find himself walking on a
    quagmire.


    As far as I understand, a somnambulistist is the same as a sleepwalker, and with that in mind, does a complacent dream of activity mean that the fictive"fictional"/"fictitious"? somnambulist has been sleepwalking and is waking up only to find himself in a place he doesn't want to be. In that case, what has complacency to do with it all?
    Your interpretation is right. He is used to troubled sleep and in the back of his mind - while he's dreaming - he's thinking 'everything's OK really; it's only a dream. I'll wake up safe in my bed in a little while.' That's what is complacent.

    Incidentally, although I think this is what the author meant, I don't think the explanation holds water. If a person is used to sleepwalking, they are used to waking up in inappropriate - and possibly hostile - circumstances. At best I think the author is expecting a lot of the reader; when he says 'somnambulist' he means 'someone who has been dreaming, and thought it was a dream [], but it turned out that he was sleepwalking.'

    b

  3. #3

    Re: complacent dream

    Thank you very much

    Yes, I agree that the author is expecting a lot. In fact, I don't think it is at all common that someone who sleeps as deep as a sleepwalker does is aware that he/she is dreaming.


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    #4

    Re: complacent dream

    General D'Hubert experienced the horror of a somnambulist who wakes
    up from a complacent dream of activity to find himself walking on a
    quagmire.

    I think by "complacent" Conrad is implying that the dream of activity is a "nice" dream, one in which the dreamer is not in danger but rather enjoying a situation.

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