HiSET: Language Arts - Reading : Comparing and Contrasting

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for HiSET: Language Arts - Reading

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Comparing And Contrasting

Passage adapted from The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud (1900)

It is easy to demonstrate that dreams often have the character of blatant wish-fullfillments; so much so that one wonders why the language of dreams was not understood long ago. For instance, there is a dream that I can experience at will, experimentally, as it were. When I eat sardines, olives, or other strongly salted foods in the evening, I am awakened in the night by thirst. But the awaking is always preceded by a dream with the same content: I gulp the water down; and it tastes delicious to me as only a cool drink can when one is dying of thirst; and then I wake up and really have to drink. The cause of this simple dream is the thirst which I feel when I awaken. This feeling causes the desire to drink, and the dream shows me this desire fulfilled. It thereby serves a function which I can easily guess. I am a good sleeper, unaccustomed to being awakened by any need. If I can slake my thirst by dreaming that I am drinking, I don't need to wake up in order to be satisfied. Thus this is a convenience dream. The dream is substituted for action, as so often in life.

Recently this same dream occurred in a somewhat modified form. I had become thirsty even before sleeping and drained the glass of water which was standing on the nightstand next to my bed. A few hours later during the night I had a new attack of thirst which was more inconvenient. In order to get some water I would have had to get up and take the glass standing on my wife's nightstand. I dreamed therefore that my wife gave me a drink out of a vessel. This vessel was an Etruscan funerary urn which I had brought back from a trip to Italy and had since given away. However, the water in it tasted so salty (plainly because of the ashes) that I had to wake up. It is easy to see how neatly this dream arranged matters; since it its only aim was wish-fulfillment, it could be completely egotistical. A love of convenience is not really compatible with consideration for others. The introduction of the funerary urn is probably another wish-fulfillment; I was sorry that I didn't own the vessel any more--just as the water glass beside my wife was inaccessible. The urn also fit the growing salty taste which I knew would force me to wake up.

According to Freud's interpretation, what is a key difference between the two dreams described?

Possible Answers:

Only the second dream was brought on by eating salty foods before bedtime

Drinking the water in the first dream was delicious, while in the second dream the water Freud drank actually made him thirstier

In the first dream the water Freud drank satisfied his thirst and he did not need to drink when he woke up, while the second dream left him awake and thirsty

The first dream was a convenience dream, while the second dream was a wish-fulfillment dream

Correct answer:

Drinking the water in the first dream was delicious, while in the second dream the water Freud drank actually made him thirstier

Explanation:

First paragraph: "I gulp the water down; and it tastes delicious to me as only a cool drink can when one is dying of thirst."

Second paragraph: "However, the water in it tasted so salty (plainly because of the ashes) that I had to wake up."

Both dreams were simultaneously convenience and wish-fulfillment dreams.

Upon awakening from the first dream, "I gulp the water down; and it tastes delicious to me as only a cool drink can when one is dying of thirst; and then I wake up and really have to drink," so he does feel the need to wake up and drink after both dreams.

The second paragraph does not say that Freud didn't eat salty food before bedtime.

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