The Assault - Memory

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Stephanie Zito

The Assault
Memory and how it affects Anton’s character

Memory is defined as “The faculty of the mind by which it retains the knowledge of previous thoughts, impressions, or events.” Memories are units of information that have impacted one’s life and are stored in the brain for years. In some cases, dramatic events may not let the brain register every single detail about a situation. This is much like Anton’s case of the winter of 1945 of the novel The Assault by Harry Mulisch. The events of that winter affected him like no other would. The loss of his mother, father and brother and the burning of his house left an impact on him but the events were so grave his brain did not allow him to remember the smaller details. As he meets important people from his past, he begins to remember the smaller things he has experienced.

Throughout the whole novel memories begin to slowly flow back to Anton. Every person he meets allows his memories to develop. First, he sees his former neighbours, the Beumers’, who not only jog his memory but allow him to learn new things about that night. Although the memories should have been vivid in his mind, Anton had forgotten some of the events of that night. Simply seeing the Beumers’, and being in their presence helped jog his memories. They had him over for supper while he was in the neighbourhood for a friends’ birthday. It had been evident that Mrs. Beumer’s memories were certainly more vivid than Anton’s. Next had been his meeting with Fake Ploeg junior, the son of the Nazi who had been killed that terrible night. Ploeg had not been over his father’s death, He and Anton both had arguments defending their fathers, and why that night may have happened. This allowed Anton to open his mind to new ideas, and question his theories as if they had not been thought out correctly. Another happens later when Anton meets Takes, a friend of his father-in-law’s. In the first episode Anton is thrown in a cell with an...
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