The Fiftieth Gate And Cathy Wilcox 's Cartoon

1777 Words8 Pages
In contemporary society, our knowledge of the past is articulated through the interplay between history and memory, which work to expose the elusive truths of the past, and exemplify the strength of humanity. Richard White, a historian, posits; “History is the enemy of memory...History forges weapons from what memory has forgotten or suppressed.” This definition postulates that there is an inevitable dichotomy between the accretion of factual evidence and the subjectivity of personal experience by shaping the collective past of humanity. However, as indicated by Mark Baker’s memoir, The Fiftieth Gate and Cathy Wilcox’s Cartoon, both of which explore perceptions of the Holocaust through an array of unique and evocative literary…show more content…
Lest we forget” Baker’s attitude leads his mother to question, “Does history remember more than memory?” Here, rhetorical questioning indicates the way in which private memories are often abandoned in favour of public representations of historical events. The public representation of the Indigenous history is the one written from the European perspective, whilst the private memories, from the Indigenous perspective, similarly to Genia’s, are often forgotten or not validated. However, Baker soon comes to realise that these memories of his mother are just as valuable, if not more, than those of his father. He acknowledges that; “Unlike my father, she could never show her children the scars on her arm; hers were invisible, numbered in the days and years of her stolen childhood”. Through metaphysical imagery, Baker, and ultimately the audience, recognise the eloquence and value of Genia’s memories in shaping a voice and persona that, although equally valid to those of other survivors, has not been publicly recognised.
Compelling and unexpected insights are generated through a range of literary devices that illuminate the powerful conceptual premise of 50th Gate. Evocation and metaphor depict the fragmentary dreamlike nature of memory as memory
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