Themes

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 187

The most obvious theme in Andre Breton's Manifesto of Surrealism is consciousness vs. unconsciousness. His whole discussion around surrealism is based on whether we exist in a dreamlike state or in reality and whether or not we choose to acknowledge dreams for what they could really be.

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Throughout the manifesto, he hearkens back to the point that we give waking events more credit than the events that happen while we're in an unconscious state. This theme of consciousness vs. unconsciousness is weaved throughout the piece while Breton discusses the place dreams have in our waking lives.

Less so we see a theme of writing and how it relates to our unconscious mind. Most prevalent is Breton's depiction of thoughtwriting alongside Philippe Soupalt and how our thoughts, when put in writing, are strong but are subject to outside distractions. Breton also mentions Saint-Pol-Roux who, when he was about to sleep, hung a sing on his door that read, "The poet is working." This suggests that dreaming and being in that surreal state is largely related to the written form, and that dreams are a way of creating ideas.

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