History and Memory 50th Gate

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The Fiftieth Gate.

Mark Raphael Baker’s novel is a combination of fiction and non-fiction which is brilliantly used to express history and culture and what can be achieved when history and memory are fused together to create an impression of the past and its connection with the present in a unique and evocative way. Baker takes us on a journey through the history of his parents as holocaust survivors, casting light on their memories hidden by pain and despair and through the process takes his own journey of self discovery. Baker’s occupation as a historian helps verify the memories and accounts of his parents; Baker uses techniques such as official documents like birth and death certificates, letters, archival documents as well as oral recordings of the memories of his parents as holocaust survivors. Baker’s use of fiction adds to the novel in a new way and helps us remember those whose stories can’t be told; he does this through imagery and evokes empathy from the readers. The 2002 film Rabbit Proof Fence, directed by Philip Noyce is based on three young half cast girl’s journey from Moore River native settlement camp 2400km back to their home in Jigalong the film portrays the true events of Molly Craig, Gracie Field and Daisy Craig Kadibill and the history of stolen generation in 1931 and the men and women behind it. The film shows the history and memories of both the aboriginals and the settlers in charge of Moore River native settlement camp. This allows us to see the perspective of all members. Noyce use techniques such as long shots and extremely close ups to create connections allowing the viewers to emphasise with the loss the aboriginals experienced. The Fiftieth Gate and Rabbit Proof Fence both show culture by speaking in their own unique native tongue this creates awareness to the audience of the history of that particular group.

Baker being a historian finds it hard to believe his mothers memories “I don’t believe you, prove it” and he often...
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