the glass cage

I had a dream back in mid-February, while I was in the early stages of reading Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, and it was odd, but not really odd until about ten days later, when I reached a point in the book in which something so similar to a room from that dream was described in the story.

It was a bedroom comprised of glass walls– no privacy, but as it was high up on a building in the city, it was of little consequence in that regard. The more pressing thing was the coldness of it. It was pouring rain outside, and winter, in the dream, and the people who’d occupied the apartment previously had put up a sort of stop-gap insulation of plastic –the kind used to insulate windows in a drafty house– but the plastic sheets reached only about three-quarters of the way up to the ceiling in this glass room, so it served little as insulation, and greatly as a depressing barrier against clear viewing of the city beyond. Oh, and another dour aspect of our glass room was that the ‘bed’ folded out of a built-in couch, sadly out of date, hideous, and uncomfortable despite its size. (While I don’t share Ms Rand’s worship of modern architecture,  she does a bang-up job of describing the best of the modern– if only more of what existed  of the modern were of the ilk she describes, and less of the type that has become the all too familiar blight on both city and suburban landscapes… It is happening, but painfully slowly.)

At any rate, a “glass cage” was described in the book as a bedroom built atop the penthouse occupied by Gail Wynand, the newspaper and real estate mogul in the novel.  All told, the fact I dreamt of a modern building going to seed (we’d inherited an apartment in such a building from grandparents in the dream) was not surprising in the least, as the book is spun from threads of architecture and extols the virtues of the modern, but the specificity of the glass room did catch me off guard. A thrilling thing to come across while reading– a true coincidence*, considering I’d never read the book before.

* Conversely, it may have been inevitable; I was merely in tune with the author’s thesis. Incidentally, the glass cage gets torn down and replaced with a cave of the opposite sort later in the book. It’s just symbolism, after all.

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