Connotative Dreams in Sabato's The Tunnel Essay

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Connotative Dreams in Sabato's The Tunnel

In Ernesto Sabato’s The Tunnel, dreams reveal Juan Pablo Castel’s obscure and conflicting personality. Castel has lived a life of isolation, despair, and one that has been both solitary and lonesome. His existence becomes meaningful when a young lady named Maria takes notice of an abstract window within one of his paintings. Maria becomes his obsession; he seeks solace and refuge through her. Castel’s dreams unveil his true motivations for obsessing over Maria; they help to display his need for meaning, love, affection and attention. His dreams symbolize his ambiguous and construed emotions as well as foreshadow upcoming events in his life. By making the dreams complex and enigmatic,
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Castel shares the exact same anxieties in his waking life; although he is a highly respected painter, he despises critics because he is paranoid about their opinion of him. He is also recklessly fretful that Maria will leave him or that she doesn’t care about him. As he encounters more and more of his surroundings, Castel finds that his “first adolescent loves were being reborn in the house, with the same trembling and sensations of sweet madness and fear and joy” (88). His “adolescent loves” are symbolic of the love that he is unearthing through Maria. Since Castel has not experienced a true and substantial relationship, he clings to it as if he were a child holding dearly onto its mother. These “adolescent loves” also suggest that he cannot develop an adult relationship with Maria and that they he has childish and unrealistic intentions. Castel’s “sweet madness” foreshadows his eventual turn towards insanity after he realizes he cannot have the person who gave his life purpose and gave him a sense of fulfillment. When Castel awakes, he concludes that the house in the dream was Maria. The house denotes obscurity by being “dark” and by him often being lost within it. Maria is a cryptic woman who sometimes gives Castel definition but often leads him astray. Because of her puzzling

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