Monday, October 11, 2010

Universal Experiance

  • "A child at the seashore, spellbound by her first glimpse of the ocean" (p.75). I believe anyone who has visited the ocean can relate to this. It is an over-powering feeling seeing something so massive and uniform.

  • "At some time in the past, scientists discovered that time flows more slowly the farther from the center of the earth. This effect is minuscule, but it can be measured with extremely sensitive instruments. Once the phenomenon was known, a few people, anxious to stay young, moved to the mountains" (p.28-29). This shows how people are obsessed with youth and connects with people in the way that, no one likes to grow older.

  • "A man sits alone at his table, laid out for two. Ten years ago, he sat here across from his father, was unable to say that he loved him, and searched through the years of his childhood for some moment of closeness" (p.64). This simply shows that everyone has a desire/need to feel loved and accepted.

  • "Some people fear traveling far from a comfortable moment" (p.134). This shows the universal connection that people don't like change and what to stick with what is familiar.

  • "The woman catches her breath. She is fifty years old. She lies on her bed, tries to remember her life, stares at a photograph of herself as a child" (p.137). Everyone holds onto memories and reflects on their lives.

Historical Allusions

  • "Einstein's Dreams" - The title of the novel refers to Albert Einstein, as the book loosely chronicles his developing of the theory of time. (Whole book).

  • Besso - "Einstein and Besso walk slowly down Speichergasse in the late afternoon" (p.51). This refers to Michele Besso who alerted Einstein to the research by De Pretto on the theory of relativity. So in 1905 Einstein published his own work.

  • The Aare - "A boatman on the Aare unties his small skiff and pushes off" (p.5). The Aare is the greatest river which both starts and ends entirely within Switzerland, it's total length, including all bends.

  • Marktgasse - "Walking on the Marktgasse one sees a wondrous sight" (p.66). This refers to a street in the old city of Berne, Berne is the de facto capital of Switzerland.

  • Zurich - "In Zurich, strict laws have recently been approved by the Council. Pistols may not be sold to the public" (p.39). Referring to Zurich, the capitol of Switzerland.


  • "A young boy sitting in an empty auditorium, his heart racing as if he were on stage." (p.76)

  • "Matterhorn, the jagged peak of white pushing into the solid blue sky, the green valley and the log cabins." (p.76)

  • "A boat on the water at night, it's lights dim in the distance, like a small red star in the black sky." (p.76)

  • " A child on a bicycle in the Kleine Schanze, smiling the smile if a lifetime." (p.77)

  • "Sails billowed like the wings of a giant white bird." (p.77)

  • "The blue shadows of trees in a full moon." (p.78)

  • "Red hair of a lover, wild, mischievous, promising." (p.79)

  • "The mountain tops all over the world are nestled with (such) houses, which from a distance look like a flock of fat birds squatting on long skinny legs." (p.29)

  • "A leaf on the ground in Autumn, red and gold and brown, delicate." (p.76)

  • "Dust on a windowsill." (p.76)

  • "In this world in which a human life spans but a single day, people heed time like cats straining to hear sounds in the attic." (p.109)

  • "A life is one snowfall." (p.110)

  • "Snow clings to the spruce beside the building." (p.135)

  • "A oval window, looking out on fields of hay." (p.77)

  • "A life is the delicate, rapid edge of a closing door's shadow." (p.110)


  • (Concept) Mechanical time
"Time, rigid and metallic as a massive pendulum of iron that swings back and forth." (p.23).              
     This quote shows the archetype of time as a mechanical and unstoppable force.

  • (Concept) Age
"At length, the populace have become thin like the air, bony, old before their time." (p.32).
     This shows the archetype of old age as being "thin and bony".

  • (Character) Addicted scientist
"'I'm making progress,' says Einstein. 'I can tell,' says Besso. Studying with alarm the dark circles under his friend's eyes. It is also possible that Einstein has stopped eating again." (p.98).
     Einstein, addicted to working on his theory of time hasn't slept, eaten, or left the house in a long time. This reflects the archetype of the "mad" or addicted scientist who can't pull himself from his work.

  •  (Character) Empty Nester
"The mother of the man spots him sitting with the woman. She wrings her hands and whines, for she wants her son at home. She sees him as a child." (p.124-125).
     The mother watching her son have dinner with his girlfriend shows the archetype of the lonely parent who wishes their child were back home.

  • (Character) Child trying to block out fighting parents
"The sounds of her parents' fighting drift up to her room. She covers her ears and stares at a photograph on her table." (p.135)
     This shows the archetype of the "abused" child trying to block out the violence.     


Einstein's Dreams is a philosophical novel that explores various different theories of time. These theories are presented through short stories that make up the book. Each story is written in a way that pushes the readers thinking, exploring new ideas and concepts in ways that at times can be comical and in others very dark. The stories are occasionally interrupted by interludes in which Einstein himself discusses his work on the theory.