Requiem for a Dream Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Requiem for a Dream

There are four main characters: Sara Goldfarb, Harry Goldfarb, Marion, and Tyrone C Love. Sara's dream is to be on television. In order to be on television, she needs to lose weight and becomes addicted to diet pills. Her son, Harry, gets addicted to heroin. At first Harry, Marion, and Tyrone want to sell heroin to make a fortune and to follow through with their dreams. Instead, they get addicted to heroin . All they can think about is heroin while all Sara can think about is losing weight. This obsession destroys them, but they refuse to see this.
Click here to see the rest of this review

   The book is written in an unusual way. All grammatical rules are thrown out and a unique style emerges. There are no quotation marks or apostrophes during dialouges between characters.
The review of this Book prepared by Echo.

The story's main characters are mother and son, Sara (Burstyn) and Harry Goldfarb (Leto), Harry's girlfriend Marion Silver (Connelly), and Harry's friend Tyrone C. Love (Wayans). The novel and the movie both deliberately move through three sections: summer, fall and winter.

The story begins in summer. Sara is a middle-aged woman who lives alone in an apartment in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, spending all day in front of her television watching a repetitive and insipid weight-loss infomercial, wherein the host, played by Christopher McDonald, repeatedly describes three things he did to change his life. Two of them are revealed (Abstinence from red meat & refined sugar), with the third only being heard by Mrs. Goldfarb as she slips into a drug induced stupor (in a screenshot from the movie one can see that the third "life changer" is "No Orgasm"). The sound therefore is represented as digitally distorted speech, unintelligible to the audience. Along with this, she spends her time indulging in chocolates and other unhealthy foods, as well as pining for her late husband, Seymour. Harry only shows up at her apartment periodically to steal her television in order to finance his heroin habit.

The review of this Book prepared by a Level 1 Blue Jay scholar

The story of 4 characters who dream of a better life but are brought down by drug addiction. Sarah takes diet pills so she can appear on a TV show, while her son Harry, girlfriend Marian, and friend Tyrone try selling heroin as a way to make money. Family and relationships fall apart as the drug becomes the most important thing.
The review of this Book prepared by Beth Hoffman

Four very likeable people use drugs in search of a dream - all with the intention of making the drug use very temporary.All end up as addicts, and the book chronicles their downward spiral in a compelling and sympathetic manner. You really hate to see them crumble. A great book!
The review of this Book prepared by Kathy Parsons

Chapter Analysis of Requiem for a Dream

Click on a plot link to find similar books!

Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   depressed Time/era of story    -   1980's-1999 Family, loving relations    -   Yes Special relationship with    -   mother Internal struggle/realization?    -   Yes Struggle over    -   vague finding self/purpose in life (i.e. no plot to book) Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Battle with a psychiatrist    -   Yes Drinking/Drugs problems?    -   drugs

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   unemployed Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   Jewish


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   2 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Southeast    -   Northeast City?    -   Yes City:    -   New York    -   dangerous

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only    -   descript of kissing    -   touching of anatomy Lot of foul language?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

Books with storylines, themes & endings like Requiem for a Dream

Hubert Selby, Jr. Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
2 Ways to Search!

Our Chief Librarian