Dream Essay #1: Fran, Bob, and Dream-Logic

There once was a fellow whose name was Fran
Fran came to the blueberry farm
He said 'Oh, no!' cuz his boss was Bob
And Bob was comin' that day

Then Bob walked up with a big ole grin
Fran shook all over with fear
Bob said, 'Quick, you're fired! Get outta here'

With a cry Fran ran to his1 car
And put his hands on the wheel
And drove away that sunny day
And never was seen no more

This poem was composed using stream of consciousness speech in a kind of daydream, and its story (perhaps for this reason) follows the logic of a dream. The primary element of the story that makes it dream-like is the feeling that things happen for no clear reason, that the story moves itself forward without the need for internal justification. Whether Fran is afraid of his boss for a reason or not doesn't matter; he is, and the fact that he is afraid seems to guarantee that Bob is going to do something bad when he arrives. This fear is shown to be legitimate when Bob arrives and fires him, but whether Bob has any reason for firing Fran or not isn't important; it Fran's fear premonition that causes the firing in a narrative sense, as the premonition expects to be fulfilled.

At Bob's command, Fran immediately leaves. At the poem's end, the statement that Fran was never seen again casts his departure as a kind of suicide, a final throwing in the towel in response to his fate as an afraid and subservient person. However, the fact that Fran initiates the power imbalance by fearing Bob's arrival makes him largely responsible for his fate. As the product of Fran's fear, it is unclear whether Bob is real at all. Very possibly, he is the dreamt embodiment of Fran's own inner fears. He certainly has no qualities that are not defined by his status as a foil or antagonist to Fran, as all we see is his big grin in contrast to Fran's fearful convulsions, and his act of firing Fran.

As is often the case in dreams, this poem contains a important ambiguity or paradox. The seventh line can read either as written, 'With a cry Fran ran to his car,' or as it is also sometimes recounted 'with a cry Fran ran to Bob's car'. This one word change completely changes the story that is being told, and changes Fran's departure from a kind of helpless suicide to a desperate act of rebellion. In the medium of dreaming or stream of consciousness, these simultaneously true contradicting options allow Fran a chance to struggle against the power imbalance which he has created, but allow us to see that this struggle is not certain.

Another interesting aspect of this poem is the way in which it uses unusual vernacular like 'big ole grin' and 'never was seen no more'. I think that pieces of stream of consciouness writing and dreams often have a kind of dream-character, and this type of word choice helps to create this character. It seems to be related to the simple matter-of-fact storytelling tone.

Word count: 447


or Bob's car