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Dream Children- Essay summary- Charles Lamb

Updated: Jul 21, 2023

Work Introduction:

Charles Lamb's "Dream Children" is a captivating essay that delves into the author's nostalgic reflections on his childhood. Within the walls of an ancient house, Lamb recalls both fond and bittersweet memories that shaped his early years. Through vivid storytelling, it evokes a sense of wonder and nostalgia, captivating both young and old alike.

Work Summary:

Dream Children Summary-

● The essay begins as Lamb shares a story with his children, James Elia, John, and Alice about his great-grandmother Mrs. Field, who lived in a big house.

● Despite the house belonging to a wealthy man, Mrs. Field was its caretaker and treated it as her own.

● The children's curiosity is piqued by a carved story on the chimney, but their disappointment ensues when they accidentally place a marble on it.

● Lamb proceeds to share anecdotes about his religious great-grandmother, who fearlessly slept alone in the house despite rumors of two haunting infant spirits in the house. Her funeral drew a multitude of mourners.

● She was a good dancer when she was young. Meanwhile, Alice moved her feet as she was too fascinated by dancing. The grandmother was tall and upright. But was defeated by cancer gradually bending her once upright posture.

●The garden surrounding the house boasts an abundance of fruit, including nectarines, peaches, and oranges, which young Elia admires.

● Of all the children, Grandmother Field loved John the most due to his vivacity and love for outdoor activities. He would even carry his limping brother, James Elia, on his back during their outings. Unfortunately, John's untimely death left James with a profound sense of loss.

● Overwhelmed by the story, the children began to cry at the sad events and asked him to continue the story and to focus on their mother. Lamb describes the challenges of managing his mother, Alice, and his daughter, Alice, keenly observes the way her mother looks at him.

● The dream-like narrative takes a haunting turn as the children gradually fade away before Lamb's eyes, revealing that they are not the real children of Alice and himself. Lamb awakens to find himself alone in an armchair, realizing that he had been dreaming of these ethereal "Dream Children."


Lamb, Charles. "Lamb's essays; a biographical study". 1891: Boston. D. Lathrop company.

~ Literpretation Team for Education

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