“I Dreamed a Dream” is very similar to Beloved

I think the song, “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables is an embodiment of Sethe’s mentality throughout the entire book. In, Beloved, Sethe spends the entire novel constantly reliving the past, the good and the bad. This song is all about how the main character dreams of a better life but is woken up by her reality. She sings, “I dreamed, that love would never die, I dreamed that God would be forgiving”. Sethe has specific flashbacks to the point in her life when she was with Halle. She goes back to the time when her husband was still there with her. Just like the song, she is reverting to the good parts of her past because it is easier than dealing with the traumatic parts.

Similar to the first piece of lyrics, Sethe, is remembering the good times. The character, Fantine, says, “There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung, no wine untasted”. This can easily be compared to Sethe and Halle’s wedding or Baby Suggs’ preaching. In both of these situations there was some sense of joy, even if it was surrounded by a lifetime of slavery.

But, at some point, a lifetime of trauma can catch up to you. Like in the bridge of the song. It says, “But the tigers come at night. With their voices soft as thunder. As they tear your hope apart. As they turn your dream to shame”. This is almost an exact example of Sethe’s sudden flashback of being assaulted by the white men. At the end of the song she sings, “Now life has killed the dream, I dreamed”, which shows how remembering the trauma has ruined her past.

2 thoughts on ““I Dreamed a Dream” is very similar to Beloved

  1. Marissa K.

    Both Sethe and Fantine also do what they think is best for their children. Fantine resorts to prostitution to continue sending money to take care of her daughter, and Sethe kills Beloved to spare her from being a slave. Both characters are also shunned by other women. Fantine is shunned for being an unwed mother and a prostitute, while Sethe is ostracized for killing Beloved.

    Like

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