In class, we have been discussing the role the unconscious plays in our understanding of the “deep house.” It is a place of darkness, memory, and repression, an actualization of Freud’s theorizations of the unconscious, or the “id” of the self. In Freud’s Interpretations of Dreams, which I read in ENG 271, he argues that dreams are the manifestation of our unconscious and that they reveal important things about the past in meaningful and symbolic ways. Although I am not Freud’s number one fan, I do think this concept is at work in the novel. There are three pieces to dream analysis: content from the previous day, content from childhood (or in this case, more generally the past), and somatic, or bodily, content. In the deep house, the narrator experiences all of these things; it is a mingling of the past, the present, and the somatic. Each room is a memory, something specific and significant that informs the reader of the narrator’s internal state on a much deeper level (literally). Each of the four main elements seems to have a deepness about them, possibly representing the dark unconscious that lies within us and all things. Dreams afford the dreamer the ability to confront the issues of their past indirectly (i.e. while they are asleep rather than awake), and in this same way the narrator is able to indirectly confront his past. The present content, in this way, is the search for his wife, the knowledge of the bear, etc. He takes all of these things with him in his journey to the deep house (and outside of the deep house, when it seems like his exploration of the deep lake and deep woods also involves delving into the unconscious), and they inform his experience. Lastly, the fingerling is the somatic, the constant physical reminder of what is on his mind. Freud claims that the incorporation of the somatic can indicate important messages to the dreamer. The fingerling making the husband unable to walk does this in a simple, yet effective, way. It is a manifestation of his fears, causing a sort of fear-based paralysis. Additionally, its constant presence and the pain that it causes seems to symbolize an internal conflict (again, literally) with who he is and the choices he has made.
These scenes surrounding the deep house reflect a strange passing of time, something that is inconsistent with reality. They take on a dream-like quality, which is why I feel the Freudian analysis is relevant.