Dreams and Wishes

“A dream is a wish your heart makes / when you’re fast asleep…” the Disney Cinderella assures her mouse friends. Uh, okay. So by that standard, I’m wishing for spinning out on icy roads, and then sinking into snow up to my waist. At least, that’s what I dreamt last night, or perhaps it was night before last. I guess I have a seriously confused heart.

Or maybe the Disney lyrics writers were the ones a little confused. I mean, according to Cinderella, dreams are wishes, and you just need to believe in them and they’ll come true. It reminds me of the scene in Lewis’ The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, where the ship is caught in a dark space and picks up one of the lost lords they’re searching for. The poor man is utterly terrified, a complete nervous wreck, and when they ask him what’s the matter, he says the island behind him is the place where dreams come true. The crew is thrilled, and they all want to go to this place, when he shouts “No, you fools! Not your daydreams – your dreams!” Upon which, they frantically fall upon the riggings, and sail out of there as fast as they possibly can, pursued by nasty things such as giant clipping scissors and looming monsters. Needless to say, chirping blonde girls, twittering mice and sparrows, and princely castles are not part of this scenario. (If I’ve got some of the details of this story wrong, I apologise to Lewis; it’s been a while since I actually read Dawn Treader.)

In Cinderella, we don’t actually find out what the girl’s dreams are; she won’t tell because then they don’t come true. But I think we can make a fairly accurate guess about castles, princes, and lack of housework. Disney’s Sleeping Beauty goes a step further yet – she’s very specific what, or rather whom, she’s been dreaming of, and she tells quite readily. In fact, she bases the whole choice of her life partner on her dream, because, after all, “I know you / I’ve walked with you once upon a dream…”

So, according to Disney lyricists, dreams are wishes that come true if you don’t talk about them, but keep believing as hard as you can; and they’re also good foundations upon which to build lifelong relationships. To be honest, I don’t think those songwriters were acquainted with real dreams – not everyone is, you know. Maybe a stint on the Island of Dreams Come True would give them a more realistic view of this whole dreaming and wishing business?


2 thoughts on “Dreams and Wishes

  1. Very good point. And there is a real distinction between daydreams and actual dreams. One difference as well, is that in daydreams, we have control. But not so in our sleeping dreams. Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty are not talking about a “happy life” where they have control or ownership. They are expected to comply with a “happy life” where they have no control. I dunno. Just something that jumped out at me.


    • As far as I’m concerned, dreams (night dreams) and wishes (daydreams) have nothing whatsoever to do with each other; it’s exactly what you’re saying, in night dreams there is no control at all. That’s what I mean when I say the lyricists must not be acquainted with real dreams – there are a lot of people who “don’t dream”, i.e. don’t remember their dreams. Half my family is like that, but I almost always remember what I dreamt. And it’s hardly ever anything “wishful”.
      And you’re right, the “dreams” that C. and S.B. are talking about are almost as “lack of control”ish as nighttime dreams.


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