The Freud Museum

Dreams

Tuning the piano

"Her husband asked her: 'Don't you think we ought to have the piano tuned?'
And she replied: 'It's not worth while; the hammers need reconditioning in any case'
"This was a repetition of a real event of the previous day.... But what was the explanation of her dreaming it? She told me that the piano was a disgusting old box, that it made an ugly noise, and so on... 'Box' ['Kasten'] was a substitute for a 'chest' ['Brustkasten']; and the interpretation of the dream led us back at once to the time of her physical development at puberty, when she had begun to be dissatisfied with her figure. We can hardly doubt that it led back to still earlier times, if we take the word 'disgusting' into account and the 'ugly noise', and if we remember how often - both in double entendres and in dreams - the lesser hemispheres of a woman's body are used, whether as contrasts or as substitutes, for the larger ones."


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