Einstein's Dreams

Lightman's Methods in Einstein's Dreams

In Einstein’s Dreams, Alan Lightman criticizes people’s struggles to hold onto time through hyperbole, nameless characters, average themes and simplistic syntax. The people in Lightman’s vignettes have a common problem: how to slow down time; whether to hold onto youth or save a moment for eternity. Although sometimes they cannot name the cause of their dissatisfaction, the characters are constantly plagued by the feeling that they are not living life to its fullest, and they feel trapped by time.

One method that Lightman uses effectively to argue his point in Einstein’s Dreams is hyperbole. The vignette which shows people living in tall houses merely to hold onto youth seems ridiculous at first look; however, on reflection it is not as absurd as it seems. The people in the vignette attempt to live life to its fullest extent by building their houses on stilts on the tops of mountains because they have heard that time moves more slowly further away from the earth. (22) In today’s society, people do bizarre things to appear and feel younger—men sometimes struggle with midlife crises by trying out a new car, sport, or even finding new, younger women to make them feel more youthful. For women, this is often most obvious in terms of...

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