Bad Dreams and Nightmares

I thought Rainie’s reflection on dreams in “Facade” was really interesting for several reasons. She says “I┬áhate making faces. They give me dreams.” “I only have two kinds of dreams. The bad and the terrible.” “Bad dreams I can cope with. They’re just nightmares, and they end eventually.” “I wake up.” “The terrible dreams are the good dreams.”

The connection of dreams to the faces seems to reveal a link of humanity, relationships, imagination, and identity between the two. Both the dreams and the making of faces are unpleasant for Rainie because she has to confront her identity. She puts on the faces to talk to people, and the most concrete part of the terrible good dreams is her relationships. (“Sometimes I’m married. Once I even had kids.”) Imagining a new face for herself but knowing it’s fake is horrible for her because she can’t have the life she imagines in the good dreams.

The idea of bad dreams as nightmares but terrible dreams as good dreams brings a really intriguing play on what is considered good or bad. A nightmare is unpleasant to be in, but has a sense of ending according to Rainie. The worse dreams for her are the ones that are good in the moment but terrible to live with. She doesn’t see any hope of improving her life so the good dreams only point out how sad she is in her real life. It was odd to see such a negative portrayal of good dreams. I think an actual good dream for Rainie might be one in which she finds a way to reconcile with her identity and make new connections to people. But this seems to be totally impossible for her to even imagine. It was so tragic when she spoke with her old friend and the friend said “What if my baby’s a freak?” It just re-affirmed Rainie’s notion that she could never have a normal life. She is what people are afraid that their children might someday be. I wonder if her friend had been nicer if anything would have changed.

One thought on “Bad Dreams and Nightmares

  1. I love this connection, and it becomes even more important when we examine Rainie’s experience with Della. If the terrible dream is the one where she imagines she’s normal, then Rainie putting on the face for her lunch date is a waking dream. She is temporarily able to pretend that her life and face are normal, hiding behind the mask that she puts on. Then the dream ends as her face falls off, and reality is revealed to her. Because she is so desperate to achieve this sense of a normal life, she has created a nightmare reality for herself, because she will never be able to achieve that which she so desperately needs.

Leave a Reply