The Persistence of Memory

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The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali is a very surreal painting, which at first

appears to snapshot of something someone might see if they were having hallucinations on

psychedelic drugs. Everything seems vague and distorted, departed from reality. There are

several items that stand out in the painting and lead me to the conclusion that the main theme of

this painting is time. We all worry about time, from first thing in the morning thinking about

making it to work on time, or getting frustrated because of the time wasted sitting in traffic. The

meaning of this painting appears to be that time is not real, and does not matter. It just slips

away, but memories still persist. This essay will explain several observation that support this

meaning, focusing on the clocks/pocket watches, the red watch covered in ants, the figure in the

middle of the painting, and the background and landscape in this painting.

The first thing that stood out in this painting was the various pocket watches or

clocks scattered throughout the scene. At first glance it seemed the clocks were the main focus

of the paining, and started making several observations. These were obviously not ordinary

pocket watches. The first characteristic that raised interest was the fact that the clocks appear to

be drooping, almost as if they are melting, though they are in the shade. This represents time

slipping away. The other characteristic to take note of is the time on the clocks. The times to not

seem to be consistent at all, as if the exact time does not matter. These were some of the main

observations that supported the conclusion that the meaning of the piece is centered around time.

In addition to the three large, droopy clocks, there is one small red pocket watch in the

lower left hand corner. This watch has normal form, but is covered by ants. Ants usually would

gather around a dead animal, or something similar that...
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