Proust, a contemporary of Freud was greatly influenced by the latter in his philosophical leanings and in literary work. Freud treated symbolism in his book Psychoanalysis. According to this theory he propounded which must have influenced Proust, objects or ideas are represented by symbols. Our dreams can symbolize something we have left unexpressed and remain embedded in our unconscious mind. Many of Freud's ideas, however, are sex-oriented .
In the complex realm of our existence, the truth remains that ugliness and perversion abound which we try to prevent from surfacing in our conscious mind. These however may find their way into consciousness in our unguarded moments.
Proust was a realist and at the same time a symbolist. As such he portrays mental awareness as stream of consciousness. This reduces man's dignity as a human being. Common to Freud and Proust's work is the prevalence or integration of sex into their hierarchy of value.