In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, dreams are thrust into reality without the consent of the travelers. As soon as their minds light upon a former dream, that dream comes to life in the darkness. In this place, aptly named Dark Island, people are driven to madness by the depth and darkness of their own minds. They cannot trust others because these people are also subject to the changes that their own subconscious has placed on them. They live completely isolated from others because the world has turned into a perversion of their own mind. Lord Rhoop has been so isolated in his own subconscious that he has lost his will to live. When they first hear his cries, he is described as having “some inhuman voice or else a voice of one in such extremity of terror that he had almost lost his humanity”(Lewis 155). Even though the travelers on the Dawn Treader are strangers, they are less frightening to him than the potential of his dreams.
On this island, the only thing that causes any harm, as Franklin D. Roosevelt so poignantly reasoned, is the fear itself. Even Lucy falls victim to this fear, preferring to stay perched on the mast rather than seek help from Edmund and Caspian. She cannot control or predict this new reality and therefore distrusts everyone in it. Nobody is physically harmed on this island; rather they are driven to terror by the unknown.
In general, I love when I can remember my dreams. I see them as a fascinating glimpse into my own mind. I find it even more interesting that it is impossible for your brain to dream anything original. Every single aspect of a dream is drawn from something you have seen or experienced in your bodily life. These experiences are jumbled within your mind and spat back out in a seemingly nonsensical storyline for you to watch while you sleep. Though most of my dreams are simply bizarre, I have had dreams so terrifying that I am reluctant to sleep again lest they return. Like our travelers’ experience on Dark Island, these dreams tend to toe the line between dream and reality. They are usually less ridiculous than most dreams and therefore are extremely vivid. I am transported from what makes sense and good logic in my life, yet I am unable to distinguish anything from reality. Also as on Dark Island, no harm ever comes to me during these dreams. My dream self is not bodily injured, but experiences such profound fear that I feel affected by this fear even in my waking life.
In my most frightening dream, I thought I had awoken in my own bed. I knew that there was someone in my bedroom that intended to harm me, but I was totally unable to move, open my eyes, or even scream. In the dream, I knew that my parents would hear me from the next room if I could only control my body enough to muster a shout, but nothing happened. Thinking back on the dream, I realize that there really was no imminent danger. The real trauma was produced by my own panic. As on Dark Island, I had no control over my own experience and greatly feared what was unknown to me.
Though fearing the unknown is displayed on an exaggerated stage in a dream, this concept is not foreign to daily life. Looking towards the future, especially as a senior, it is easy to see nothing but blackness. We press on not knowing what we will find, but we press on, as Reepicheep demands, not sure that we will find full wallets and bellies, but sure that we will find honor in adventure.