History and Memory

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Gate 42 Analysis
Throughout gate 42, Mark Baker combines both assumed history and a plethora of evocative language techniques to recreate the death of his grandmother, Hinda. From such a technique, one can infer that when history and memory combine, the interplay allows a heightened understanding and perceptive insight into events of the past; specifically the Holocaust. Such a theory becomes evident within the opening of Gate 42, as Baker uses the repetitive symbol of a Jewish poem to draw the reader within the text, allowing an emotional engagement to the horrors of the Holocaust. Acting as a metaphor for the human condition, the humbling lover case ‘i’ gives a profound insight into the attitudes of the Jews, forced to believe they were ‘untermenschen’, or the scum of society with no identity. Such a technique demonstrates the importance of an interplay between history and memory, as in being a postmodern student, the treatment of the Jews is assumed to be common knowledge, however it is this insight into a poem written by a witness which adds colour and breathes an evocative emotional impact into documented fact. The ellipses following the conclusion of the poem ‘tell him that i” symbolizes an unfinished story and allows the responder to assume it is ambiguous in subject, relating to all Jews and the horrors experienced collectively. Such a portrayal of this idea of courage and survival depicted throughout a spiritual element of poetry (commonly referred to as ‘food for the soul’) cannot be depicted throughout only documented fact, as although the approximate number of survivors is known, this figure gives no insight into the immense struggle for life experienced by thousands. As the gate progresses, it becomes evident that Baker has utilized historical evidence (which the responder assumes to be credible, due to Bakers efforts to ‘sift for the truth’ throughout the entirety of the book) to recreate a fictional portrayal of Hindas death. Although as...
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