Longest Memory

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The responders interpretation of Fred D’aguirs novel THE LONGEST MEMORY is enhanced and challenged by his interview “ Building Bridges Back to The Past” by Maria Frais. The interview enriches our interpretation of the novel to be that of a slavery based narrative. The responders interpretation is challenged by the lack of response to the fundamental theme of the role of women. Slavery is the central theme explored throughout the text. D’Aguir’s mix of events constructed by a series of dramatic monologues“ brings into play multiple view point about slavery”. This statement enhanced our interpretation of the novel as a slavery based narrative and explained the use of monologues in the novel. Each monologue presents an underlying event that is later recounted creating a parallel structure. This is seen in Whitechapels first monologue, where the reader learns of “the pointless death of a boy (he) loved as (his) own”, at the hands of the overseer. In a later monologue, that we learn of the overseer’s relation to the boy, “(his) own half brother”. This accumulative development of events through the novel creates the” filling in (of) the gaps” D’Aguir had hoped to create. D’Aguir stated the narrative was to be its “own argument”. This enhanced our understanding of slavery as he developed many characters to coincide with the dominant and alternate discourse of the time. In the context of the novel the dominant discourse held was that slavery was right. As stated by the Plantation owners ” Slavery is fine”. Articles in the Virginian use economic jargon to speak of slaves, “Wise investment”. Making the point that slaves are assets or commodities. The question of price of life even arises in a heated talk between Mr Whitechapel and Sanders Junior, “ you will repay to me every last cent of that boys value”. The economic jargon and honest valuing of life, undefinably defines the dominant discourse towards slavery as simply a “trade”. In comparison we see that slavery is...
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