Cartoon Dreams: Psychological Insights In SpongeBob And The Justice League
Childhood is a time of frequent and intense dreaming for many individuals. Often these nocturnal experiences from early life have a darkish hue–children are particularly liable to nightmares, sleep paralysis, and night terrors. However children are also extra possible than adults to experience magical goals of flying and lucid desires of self-awareness. The whole wild world of dreaming, in all its unusual complexity, seems extra accessible in childhood than it’s later in life.
A rich tradition of children’s literature, going back to such classics as Alice in Wonderland, Goodnight Moon, and Where the Wild Things Are, has addressed the profound emotions of worry, wonder, and curiosity that usually pervade children’s experience once they go to sleep and dream. Cartoons are another highly effective medium that can reflect recurrent themes in childhood goals (good examples embrace Little Nemo in Slumberland, Dream of the Rarebit Fiend, and the Sandman collection).
Cartoons on television have carried on this tradition, telling stories about dreams with way more psychological depth and energy than many adults understand. These animated fictions about bizarre characters doing absurdly unrealistic things prove to replicate the emotional actuality of childhood with stunning accuracy and psychological insight.
Two episodes from current cartoon series might help for instance the purpose.
The first comes from “SpongeBob SquarePants,” which first aired in 1999 on the Nickelodeon network and has gone on to develop into considered one of the most popular cartoons of all time. An episode in season 5, titled “Roller Cowards,” features dreaming as a useful source of self-data. The episode opens with Sponge Bob and his best good friend Patrick hearing about an incredible new roller coaster ride (“The Fiery Fist O’ Ache”) at their favorite amusement park. The night time before they go to the park, Sponge Bob goes to sleep eager about how much enjoyable the experience will be. But then he has a nightmare in which the roller coaster leads to terror and loss of life, and he wakes up trembling in worry. When Patrick comes over and asks what’s mistaken, Sponge Bob says he simply had a foul dream. Patrick rapidly says he had a nasty dream, too. Sponge Bob asks what he dreamed, however before Patrick can reply the bus arrives to take them to the amusement park, and away they go.
It seems Patrick is simply as scared as Sponge Bob, although neither of them wants to admit their fears to the other. Their desires present accurate barometers of how they really feel, regardless of all their acutely aware efforts to pretend in any other case. Solely when they finally make the humbling confession to one another that they are scared to go on the ride, are they ready to embrace the thrilling, spine-dislocating expertise of the “Fiery Fist.”
A second instance comes from the “Justice League” sequence, which first aired in 2001 on Cartoon Network. Based on characters from DC Comics, the collection gathers seven famous superheroes–Batman, Superman, Marvel Girl, Green Lantern, Flash, Hawkgirl, and J’onn J’onzz–who battle a colorful variety of super villains. The second season introduced a two-half episode titled “Solely a Dream,” that includes a criminal named John Dee who uses an ESP-producing machine to remodel his own mind into a robust weapon that may attack individuals of their dreams. After murdering his faithless girlfriend, Dee–who has now taken on the nom de guerre of Dr. Destiny–focuses his evil energy on the members of the Justice League when they fall asleep and dream.
That is the place the cartoon enters more subtle psychological territory. Dr. Future assaults each superhero at his or her weakest level, namely what they concern probably the most. This fear provides shape to the sort of nightmare that Dr. Future sends to each batman t shirt price 100 of them.
For the tremendous-speedy, wisecracking Flash, his nightmare entails by no means being able to decelerate, so he can by no means once more connect with regular individuals; as Dr. Destiny intones, his dream prison is “being caught in excessive gear, alone endlessly.” In Superman’s nightmare he can’t management his more and more destructive powers, which he tries to cover but Deadpool can not. His greatest concern is that his power will harm the very individuals he cares about probably the most. The Green Lantern dreams that he goes back to his outdated neighborhood, but he recognizes nothing, and everyone speaks a distinct language. When people see him they flee from in terror; just like the Flash and Superman, his deepest anxiety has to do with staying linked with other people despite his particular powers and unique identity.
Hawkgirl’s dream is perhaps essentially the most intense and horrifying of all. After a false awakening that provides her a moment of misleading reassurance, Dr. Future binds her wings and sends her plunging all the way down to earth, straight into a yawning grave through which she is buried alive beneath a mound of dirt. For a superhero whose particular energy is flight, this can be a terrifying nightmare certainly.
Batman, meanwhile, has managed to stay awake, but barely. Dr. Future haunts the periphery of his sleep-deprived consciousness, nearly inflicting him to crash the batman t shirt price 100 Batmobile.
Happily for the Justice League, J’onn the Martian Manhunter has the flexibility to go into individuals’s desires and assist their dreaming selves struggle back against Dr. Future. J’onn serves as a kind of shamanic warrior and therapist, telling each of the superheroes what he or she wants to listen to to rally their power and break free of their nightmare. Every of them alone can’t defeat Dr. Destiny. However as soon as they find new sources of energy within their dreams, the collective may of the Justice League (sans Surprise Girl; she does not appear in this episode) is enough to overthrow Dr. Destiny and his Freddy Kruger-like reign of terror over their slumber.
And finally, Batman can sleep.
The Justice League episode is far more psychologically advanced than the one from SpongeBob SquarePants, which is befitting given the latter show’s focus on youthful children and the former’s enchantment to older children and tweens. Both cartoons, nonetheless, current an analogous appreciation for dreaming as a technique of expressing essential emotional truths, especially these truths that seem most scary to our waking minds. On this planet of these two cartoons, desires are portrayed as a worthwhile source of insight. With out placing a lot weight on stories meant primarily as entertainment, it is nonetheless fair to say that the decision of every story teaches a basic respect for the power and knowledge of dreaming. These cartoons have, maybe unwittingly, done a beautiful service of dream schooling for hundreds of thousands of kids.