Essay on History and Memory

891 Words Dec 24th, 2010 4 Pages
Gate 42 Analysis
Throughout gate 42, Mark Baker combines both assumed history and a plethora of evocative language techniques to recreate the death of his grandmother, Hinda. From such a technique, one can infer that when history and memory combine, the interplay allows a heightened understanding and perceptive insight into events of the past; specifically the Holocaust.
Such a theory becomes evident within the opening of Gate 42, as Baker uses the repetitive symbol of a Jewish poem to draw the reader within the text, allowing an emotional engagement to the horrors of the Holocaust. Acting as a metaphor for the human condition, the humbling lover case ‘i’ gives a profound insight into the attitudes of the Jews, forced to believe they were
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It is here that the power of representation becomes evident, as by utilizing both History and Memory, Baker is able to both pay tribute to the dead and give dignity and identity to the victims of the Holocaust. Such a notion becomes evident throughout the evocative simile “we stand like a forest of trees” referring to not only the communal strength and courage of the Jews experiencing the Holocaust, but adding a spiritual undertone to the text. By referring to the symbol of ‘trees’, one can infer that Baker is making a link between the Holocaust, and the natural processes of the earth; specifically of life and death. Such an image resonates with the reader as instead of viewing the Holocaust through the typical horrific representation of documented fact, this portrayal provides a platform for a heightened understanding and empathy toward such an event.
However, one must consider that despite the concept of memory adding an emotional impact to documented evidence, the concept of history cannot be overlooked; as the Jewish words included in the text such as “ Ay li lu’ and ‘Scheller” add gravitas to the recreation, allowing one to consider that it is a credible and reliable…