If a meaningful understanding of the past is to be gained, the resources of both history and memory must be used.
History is the factual, objective recording of events through documents, archives, records, artefacts and physical evidence whereas memory is the recollection of individuals of their personal experience and sequence of events however, adding the human element to the situation or experience. However, history and memory sometimes contrast with each other but most importantly they need to complement each other; without one, the stories of events that shape human experience are incomplete. While history offer the factual, documented record of events. Memory is also necessary to complete the story but at the same time enabling the human element of the story. The differing nature of history and memory frequently causes them to conflict and contrast with each other. In attempting to reconcile history with memory, disagreement and tension will inevitably arise. Nevertheless both history and memory can be just as distorted as one another. History can be distorted by being misrepresented by bias, by the absence or hidden evidence and information. Yet memory can also be distorted as they are personal recollections of events that have occurred. In spite of this they can be biased and open to inaccuracy and can be scattered all over the place. The book The Fiftieth Gate – A journey through memory traces the author Mark Baker’s search for the details of his parent’s early life. The son of holocaust survivors, Baker is aware that his own experiences are very different to those of his parent’s, and sets out to discover their hidden stories. However, Baker as the historian is unable to rely on his parents recollections and needs documented evidence to validate their recollections of the past. As Baker’s parent’s stories unfold he finds himself on a journey through memory. With Baker unfolding his parents stories are taking him on a journey which is helping him...
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