Speech – Reflection on History and Memory
Throughout time, perspectives of history and memory have changed. They have been moulded by the events of our time as well as the texts and we read. The question of what is history and memory is being raised. Is it a scholarly discipline that claims to record the truth vs. a cognitive faculty coloured by trauma and emotion? To me history is represented as official memory of the winning side. As a result, it is very subjective, selective, bias and with multiple gaps and silences. Once we are able to understand how history and memory have been presented to us, though a wide range of text types as well as our own knowledge of events represented in the text then we are able to more deeply and with more certainty, define what history and memory is. The poem “Requiem for the Croppies” by Seamus Heaney, “The Boy in Striped Pyjamas”, a novel written by John Boyne and the Smithsonian September 11 Website, “Bearing Witness to History”, enable us as readers to grasp the complexities that are represented between the interplay of history and memory.
Representation refers to the construction of aspects of ‘reality’ in a text that helps to shape meaning of a person, place or event. Representations are personal and inherently biased as composers deliberately and selectively choose examples and sources that support their views of the world. Images and phrases used within texts are used as ‘triggers’ of these memories of the histories of the events.
Seamus Heaney’s “Requiem for the Croppies” is an example of this, of this ‘disempowerment’, ‘the losing side’, recording not just its own collective memory but personal memory, that is, the poet’s version of history. “Requiem for the Croppies”, challenges the notion of an absolute truth by defying the victor’s version to commemorate the united Irish Rebels. This text is a new representation of the Irish rebellion, a direction of memory that has not been explored as deeply as others....
Please join StudyMode to read the full document