Introduction & Overview of An End to Dreams

This Study Guide consists of approximately 24 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of An End to Dreams.
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An End to Dreams Summary & Study Guide Description

An End to Dreams Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Bibliography on An End to Dreams by Stephen Vincent Benét.

Stephen Vincent Benét is one of America's most popular short story authors. His The Devil and Daniel Webster is considered a classic, and his "An End to Dreams" appeared in Pictorial Review and won the O. Henry Award in 1932. Benét refused to follow the literary trends of his era, presenting instead in his work a more positive view of the American character in its historical moment. In his study of Benét in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, Joel Roache claims that Benét's vision of the human ability "to transcend its limitations" has assured that his short stories will enjoy a "secure reputation."

"An End to Dreams" focuses on the life of James Rimington as he dreams about it, while anesthetized in a hospital. As he lies in a hospital bed after a serious operation, James dreams about his personal and professional past. In his dream, he imagines that ambition prompted him to reject his small-town values, along with his childhood sweetheart, in order to gain power and wealth through the single-minded pursuit of corporate success. This success then alienated him from those he cared about and cost him any sense of peace. Just at the moment he dreams about dying alone in the hospital, he awakens, and the reader learns his life has taken a very different path. Benét's complex portrait of James, as he is portrayed in his dream and upon waking, presents a compelling exploration of the consequences of the pursuit of the American dream.

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This section contains 259 words
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An End to Dreams from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.