History and Memory Essay

1517 Words Nov 25th, 2010 7 Pages
MODULE C – History and Memory
The Fiftieth Gate by Mark Baker suggests that a combination of history and memory is essential in making meaning, i.e. in shaping perceptions of the world around us. How does baker represent this combination to create meaning?

History can be viewed as a sequential series of indisputable events, whereas memory is of such events that are highly subjective, and affect the way in which they are perceived. The link between history and memory and the way it shapes the world around us, is a component of past and present. We are shown this throughout the prescribed text, The Fiftieth Gate, where through bakers quest we see the past continually impacting on the present, as the memories of the past affect those who
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Whatever the reason may be, these lapses in memory posed a problem for Baker as he tries to immerse himself in his parents history, so that he too can reach an understanding of who he is, “I knew I has to wrap myself up in the details of her story, if only to immunize myself against the secret thing that lay there, threatening me beneath her bright clothes and lipstick”. Only then when Baker discovers who he is, and where he came from will he emerge into a “stream of light”.

For the duration of Bakers quest for self validation, Baker has to deal with the historian and the son to bring his parents to “open the gate” and let the memories flood back. As the book develops, one can see the authors growing obsession with finding validation and truth to those memories, as his search for proof is fuelled with the desire to uncover who he is. To discover the integrity of his parent’s memories, Baker tries to fill in the shady memory gaps by savagely searching for the historical documentation to prove the memories, “18th December 1923 at 2pm”. His search for proof grows until his parents words are not enough, the process of verification brings him to shame, each memory needs a tacit approval…