They Who Do Not Grieve Blog
Dreams are what we travel towards. Like many journeys we undertake, things change along the way, the unexpected happens, and we must readjust. Sometimes it is the goal that changes or maybe how we obtain that goal, the road which we travel that changes.
Ever since I was a little girl I had dreamt about going to Boston College just like my dad and my sister did. I was so sure of it, that it was the perfect place for me, that when the time came my senior year of high school to apply to college I only wanted to send one application. I hadn't even looked at any other schools. Thank goodness I had teachers and councilors who were looking out for me and practically made me sit down and look at what else was out there for me. I eventually found three other universities to apply to. Needless to say, I was devastated when the small white envelope arrived at my house telling me it was not to be. I had to reassess. I realized that while going to BC would have been ideal, it wasn't the only way to achieve my real goal; getting a Jesuit education and finding a place to spend the next four years where I could be happy becoming me.
Dreams allow us to try on different personas; they give us freedom and allow us to see the possibilities in our own futures. We can have goals but those goals can fail or impact us in ways we do not understand. Dreams allow us to see new possibilities of who we can be despite where we have come from in some cases. I wanted to go to BC because that was where my family legacy was. I wanted to be the next generation to carry on the tradition and I felt like I was letting my family, especially my dad, down because I wasn't good enough or smart enough to get in. I found a new dream. And I can't imagine being any happier living out my new dream at Loyola.
In the novel, dreams reveal a lot about the characters who have them. Malu dreamt of going to nature and becoming a woman. She sees herself as a beautiful, independent woman who has confidence and courage. She falls in love with a man and has a child on the beach all on her own. She can use her voice and feels empowered to shout and yell out against him when he has hurt her. It is here that we see the true potential in what she can be, who she perhaps wants to be. Instead, the reality is that she is a degraded young woman who is seen as an irremovable and unwanted blemish. The shame of her relatives has been passed onto her and shapes her identity quite literally; her name "Malu" represents the unfinished tattoo that her grandmother has, that has left her body and reputation scarred.
Alofa dreams of a doctor's office. How the office makes her feel, the sights and smells all represent what her new home is like with Viv; sterile and foreign. In the dream she is asked to take off her clothing, she is stripped of her layers. I think this dreams tells us a lot both implicitly and explicitly. We see that Alofa is homesick, that she misses the people, sites, and even the smells of Samoa that we would probably not miss at all. But the dream also shows us how isolated Alofa feels. She is used to living in a crowded house, always surrounded by people, and now she has been put into this new environment with a new language and culture and is forced to swim or sink on her own. She learned how to, "survive anywhere."
I think that the power of dreams and the theme of our class is exemplified in a simple passage, "The story is always changing…like the horizon…sometimes gold…sometimes pink…blue" (pg. 178). Travel, whether it is physical or through the mind and imagination, shapes our realities, who we are, and who we will become.