The Role Of Desire In Rebecca Evanhoe's They Were Awake

Words: 1232
Pages: 5

A Look Inside True Desire
In “They Were Awake,” by Rebecca Evanhoe, six ladies meet together for a potluck dinner. The women bring plates, cutlery, salad, pie, and wine to share among themselves. During the dinner, the women exchange their high anxiety dreams with one another that involve rape, suicide, and familiar faces of their male peers such as their uncles, boyfriends, and husbands. After the dinner, the women go home and to resume their evening routines of more drug use and partaking in their favorite hobbies. Evanhoe makes it difficult to ignore the presence of male partners and the connection of sex and desire in the women’s dreams. Evanhoe uses the characters’ dreams, based on Freudian theories, to reveal their state of mind and true
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Stephen P. Thornton introduces the theory that ‘is termed ‘tripartite’ simply because, again like Plato, Freud distinguished three structural elements within the mind, which he called id, ego, and super-ego (“Freud”).’ The ‘id’ deals with instincts and desires that require satisfaction, the ego is the conscious self, and the super-ego contains the conscience and social constructs of the mind (Thornton, “Freud”). Freud used this structure to bring the super-ego to the ego, by talking to his patients on couches, pressing for their inner-most desires. Since the super-ego is less functional during sleep, Freud claimed that the events in dreams were not to be translated solely based on the ‘manifest content’ (Thornton, “Freud”). He sought the unconscious and the objects within the unconscious as the subject rather than the dream …show more content…
They ask her why she killed ‘some man,’ but she doesn’t recall killing anyone until she wakes up in her dream. She then realizes she actually did kill a man. She had used a copper pipe in her purse to strike him all over his body, killing him, running away, and afterwards feeling proud about it (Evanhoe 263). Immediately, with regard to Freudian theory, the metal pipe in her purse represents male genitalia. Her willingness to strike the man and her pride afterword represents her desire to take more control of her endeavors in the bedroom and possibly substitute pleasure with pain with her partners. The interrogation room could also represents the womb based on Arnheim’s research. Similarly to Emma, Becca has a dream she states as ‘wonderful’ that she murdered a man with her bare hands by strangling him. She said felt ‘courageous’ afterword and the ladies praised her for bringing the fine salad that they were eating (Evanhoe 262). Even as each lady returns home, they resume back to their world of desires, be it using drugs and alcohol, playing their favorite sonatas, or chatting with their lovers. This gives more clues as to what these women are actually like out of their dreams. In conclusion, Evanhoe is allowing the reader to assume each character’s desires and personality by paying homage to Freud’s theories in her short