Role of History and Memory in Understanding Truth

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It is the interplay of both history and memory, which allows us to gain empathetic understanding of Truth. History is factual, and traditionally objective, yet is subject to bias and control. It cannot reveal the reality of human experience, as it relies on facts, lists and statistics; the need for memory arises. Memory is a composition of personal perspectives which can be deemed subjective, yet challenges history’s authority and rationalism. Combined, history and memory generate a powerful tool when assessing the past, as explored in Mark Baker’s ‘The Fiftieth Gate’. Baker uses deliberate selections of documents and personal accounts from his parents, with stylistic features and representational methods, to create a rounded understanding of the Holocaust. ‘The Sydney Jewish Museum’ similarly employs a range of representational methods and medians to present history and memory, in order to gain a complete understanding of the truth. History is evidently used as an important framework for events throughout ‘The Fiftieth Gate’, using fates and chronological order, “12th of December”. The use of dates validates memory within the text. History, on its own, is seen as not effective in determining the truth as it is written from a historians collaboration of documented evidence, which is unstructured. Connotations chaos and lack of direction are clear as Baker’s documents “lay strewn across the floor… dismembered words… bits and pieces” this is highlighting the need for deliberate selection of documented evidence. This bias, throughout ‘The Fiftieth Gate’, is emphasized as a historical document written by the Germans, who completely disregard the millions of murders of... 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...
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