Homework answers / question archive / In the poem "A Dream at Night" by Mei Yao Ch'en, the mending being done of the narrator's clothes by the woman in the poem acts as a symbol of how the narrator can still feel his wife's presence even though she is no longer physically with him
In the poem "A Dream at Night" by Mei Yao Ch'en, the mending being done of the narrator's clothes by the woman in the poem acts as a symbol of how the narrator can still feel his wife's presence even though she is no longer physically with him. It is clear to see that the narrator is still grieving over the death of his wife and thinks of her all the time. At one point in the poem, Ch'en states, "...I dream I am with her. At night I dream she is still at my side. She carries her kit of colored threads" (Ch'en 1-5). It is seen here how every time he dreams of his wife he pictures her mending. Within his dreams, the narrator can sense the presence of his wife and feels as if he is genuinely sharing a physical moment with her, while in reality, it is all formulated in his head and is merely a sensation he has of her presence. The mending materials and the women constantly mending the narrator's clothes are what help the narrator feel the greatest presence of his wife with it being the first memory that comes to his mind whenever he thinks of her. The women mending is basically symbolizing the daily activities that the wife would partake in and make the husband feel happy and joyful. At another point in the poem, Ch'en says, "...she watches over my life" (Ch'en 9-10). Even though the narrator can not physically proof that his wife is watching over him he states this implying that he mentally knows she is, due to the fact that he can still feel her presence. Mending is something the wife did often so the narrator has sowed it into his dreams to still feel as if she is there with him and sharing a beautiful moment with him.
2. The mending of clothes that the woman is doing in the poem “A Dream at Night” by Mei Yao Ch’en is a symbol of her mending his broken heart. The narrator is obviously heartbroken over the death of his wife and is still mourning over it. So much so that he dreams of her day and night. The narrator of the poem stated many times how he dreams of her and has such a strong need for her that he still feels her presence throughout his life. For example, in sentences one, two, four and six it says “In broad daylight I dream I am with her. At night I dream she is still by my side…I see her image bent over her bag of silks…Dead, she watches over my life. “In other words, the narrator is still grieving over his loss and he still sees images of her doing things she used to do and feel her presence watching over him. Near the middle of the text when the narrator speaks on how he sees her mending his clothes so he does not look worn, is a symbol that she is subconsciously mending his heart. For example, in sentence five the narrator states “She mends and alters my clothes and worries for fear I might look worn and ragged.” The mending that he envisions her doing on his clothes represents the mending he also desperately needs for his broken heart. This could also correlate with Freud’s theory of displacement within dreams because the needed mending of his broken heart is being replaced in his dreams by the mending of his clothes by his late wife.