History and Memoery

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The interrelationship of history and memory show that each is individually limited- memory presents limited perspective while history presents limited account- this conflicting nature ensures that without considering both we have a less reliable history. This concept is portrayed in the prescribed text “The fiftieth gate” by Mark Baker that involves an individual’s journey into the past to reconstruct his parent’s experiences. Baker’s explores the idea that both history and memory are essential to validate, illuminate and add emotion and colour to the other in order to ultimately form a true representation of history. Through the study of this text one can come to understand that the ultimate role of history is to find self-identity and unlock the barriers of the past. Memory is shaped by and composed of individual emotions and self-reflections; as a result it is influenced by bias and is highly subjective. Therefore memory only provides one bias and subjective perspective of history, making the representation of history to be less reliable and limited. This is portrayed in the line “It was cold, winter, we had winter boots on, the ones with money sewn inside. He says it was cold. Winter. But it was warm. Autumn”. Here the use of direct speech engages the audience into Yossl’s situation. The audience is then able to realise that the experiences of fear, torment and paranoia that Yossl went through in the holocaust has shaped and influenced his memory. As a result his perspective of history is less reliable and thus highly limited. This is portrayed in the line “I remember this exactly like yesterday: there was a church with some hills…can you see my legs through there? Here through the use of a narrative device, an interview, Baker engages the audience’s attention through the use of first person language and direct speech. This then conveys the idea that memory is limited in representing history because it is influenced by individual experiences that will...
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