The Sopranos: Season 4 Analyzed; Week 11
Dan, don't leave us yet. In the second dream—the one that closed the episode—Tony was calling out that he was there to do the masonry. (Was that his grandfather's profession?) This makes perfect wish-fulfillment sense: It's a humble, blameless profession, unlike the one that he's in. But was Tony lying in the dream, trying to pass himself off as a humble Italian workman instead of a mafioso? After all, he was having trouble getting the words out, and his accent sounded more Jersey than Napoli. But then again, he was wearing old-fashioned clothing in the dream, of the sort that wouldn't have looked out of place at Ellis Island. So, perhaps Tony was sincerely identifying with his father and grandfather: They came to America earnestly trying to make a buck and ended up walking into the house owned by the lady in black, full of death and guilt and wickedness and who knows what other terrible surprises.
Glen O. Gabbard, M.D., is a professor of psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine and author of The Psychology of The Sopranos, inspired by this discussion. Philip A. Ringstrom, Ph.D., Psy.D., is a senior faculty member at the Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis in Los Angeles. Joel Whitebook, Ph.D., is on the faculty of the Columbia Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. Margaret Crastnopol, Ph.D., is on the faculty of the Northwest Center for Psychoanalysis. All are practicing therapists as well. Daniel Menaker is the author of The Treatment, a novel about therapy, and is executive editor at HarperCollins. Judith Shulevitz writes the "Close Reader" column for the New York Times Book Review. Jodi Kantor is Slate's New York editor.