The reality turns into Michael’s dreams or thoughts in two passages. The first passage is at the beginning of the book, in the second chapter of the first part. This chapter describes the house where Hanna lives. The description begins with the fact that the house is not there any longer. Michael describes the house that was now built there instead. Then he compares it to the house that stood there at the time of his childhood and youth. All this takes place in reality. But then Michael mentioned that he had seen the house much earlier, when he did not even know Hanna. “I had been aware of this building since I was a little boy.”
This description is then mixed up with Michael’s world of thought, as he represents the interior of the house and its occupants, who he never got to face. Then, the entire description plays in the dream world.
These dreams end up with pressing the doorhandle of the house. In another dream, the house is located on the countryside. This dream lasts longer or Michael remembers its details better. “It is surrounded by fields, rape or wheat or vines in the Palatinate, lavender in Provence. The landscape is flat, or at most gently rolling. There are no trees. The day is cloudless, the sun is shining, the air shimmers and the road glitters in the heat.”
The house looks inappropriate, because it has firewalls and belongs to an urban block but is now on an open field.. These dreams end with pressing the latch.
These dreams of Hanna’s house show how important it was to Michael. The symbol “house” in dreams is actually for soul. The fact that Michael is not dreaming of his own home could be the explanation that Hanna is more important to Michael than his own family. Maybe it was more important to him than himself, because he always takes all the blame on himself when they had a conflict. Therefore, Hanna’s house is something like a second home to Michael, and it was also the site of their daily meetings.
The second passage in which reality merges into the dream world of Michael is the thirteenth chapter in the second part. Here, Michael describes how he imagines Hanna as concentration camp guard: “I saw Hanna by the burning church, hard-faced, in a black uniform, with a riding whip.”
He also sees Hanna in his thoughts with even more pictures to show Hanna as a hard, cold warden. Then he remembers the time together with Hanna. These are plenty of nice pictures. The images merge in Michael’s head. He sees Hanna, who loves him with a cold face and is silently listening to him reading aloud. Michael also had different dreams: “The worst were the dreams in which a hard, imperious, cruel Hanna aroused me sexually; I woke from them full of longing and shame and rage. And full of fear about who I really was.”
These images illustrate the inner confusion in Michael. He has met unexpected new sides of her character that did not fit to Hanna. He is unsure whether it is wrong to love a perpetrator of Nazism.
In both places, you can clearly see how Michael mixes up reality and dreams.