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Free «History and Memory» Essay Sample

In Leslie Marmon Silko’s novel Almanac of the Dead the readers get the chance to see what the story of war would look like if it was cut into a thousand pieces through history and memory (Yuknavitch 123). Yuknavitch says that in this novel dates and national wounds was fragmented and dispersed over a new version of history in which those wars were merely signs in a sequence that never ends (123). History and memory in Leslie Marmon Silko’s novel Almanac of the Dead works the cross use of discourses and the breakdown of narrative content, reconfigured as a continual series of texts, signs and images, flatten history and displaces prior met narratives. Looking at war in Leslie Marmon Silko’s novel Almanac of the Dead history gives us new ways to struggle with the writing and the unwitting of war (Yuknavitch 123).

Silko’s novel Almanac of the Dead shows how memory has been redefined as a construct with many of the same features that fiction displays. Yuknavitch also says that Silko’s novel prohibits any single memory a place in history at all (123). Lee says that Silko’s novel Almanac of the Dead is a hemispheric parable of the indigenous Americas bent upon restitution of sovereignty and human spirit in the face of colonialism and war (22). To show how history and memory is depicted in the novel, Silko envisages nothing less than the restoration of historic landscape and the return to indigenous custody through a risen people’s army of a borderless human order (Lee 22).


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Jamaica Kincaid in her novel A Small Place she says that history and memory are evident. This is because the present mergers with the past and that historical corruption fuse with its latter day counterpart. Ferguson says that Jamaica Kincaid uses memory and history when she problematize’s the colonial category of law by offering new vantage and critical paradigms that censure passivity. Through being a recorder of the people’s history, Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place affirms creativity as a combative weapon and a survival tool (Ferguson 166).

It can be noted that in the novel A Small Place, history and memory helps Kincaid to applaud agency and the voicing of resistance when one of the characters Lucy comes to cherish solitude and self-sufficiency, capitalizing on experience she formerly scorned. In the novel A Small Place Kincaid elaborations of a worldwide century’s long scenario are also evident. By relying on memory that can always be rewritten and hence can also be faulty she underscores the existence of a host of perspectives, questioning notions of absolute meaning (Ferguson 166). Through the use of history and memory in Kincaid’s A Small Place draws back from definitive closures, preferring not to conclude because all the events that happened in the novel were always in the process of being receipted.

History and memory in Jamaica Kincaid A Small Place flatters when having restored the historical divisions of colonizer or the colonized to the tourist landscape. Melas says that memory from the point of view of those locals that Jamaica Kincaid’s A Small Place directs her tourist diatribe in A Small Place which as much as it mocks and controverts an idea like Lefebvre’s has the unmistakable rhetoric and design of a stern pedagogy (161). This was one of the wide and happy gaps in the cultural memory and then through history Kincaid herself with a lesson in global capitalism, local corruption and the harsh realities of poverty (161).

In Anzaldua’s Borderlands/La Frontera history and memory is informed by a critical consciousness of mastery and loss that legitimizes structures of power. Gloria Anzaldua’s Borderlands/La Frontera thus portrays her historical and personal destinies as gendered and ethnic subjects at the intersection of memories of different languages and generational and cultural terms (Seyhan 114). She also shows her own effort and struggles to reinvent without historical precedent. Seyhan says that Anzaldua’s Borderlands/La Frontera uses memory to recover a broken linguistic history and retells, reinvents and repossess it for individual and collective empowerment in her Borderlands.

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Anzaldua says that her poetic performance in her memory had a critical message and a crossover of several genres and thus her book presents its story in a collection of poems, reminiscences, personal and collective histories and memories of critical combat (Seyhan 114). Memory and history in Anzaldua Borderlands/La Frontera plays a critical role and presents a cross fertilization of ideas, images and mourning. History in her work refers to the representation of her almost instinctive urge to communicate, to speak, to write about life on the borders.

In Borderlands/La Frontera, Anzaldua says that the book is a testimony and history to the uncompromised power of a language forged at borders of space, time, and memory in legitimizing identity (Seyhan 115). It can be noted from the text that forcing the Spanglish speaker to the rules of academia and at the same time forcing locks on her mouth reveal a full blown disregard for the historical role of border languages.

Memory in Borderlands/La Frontera shows how Anzaldua is critical of a configuration of material and historical forces inscribed in the speech of individuals and communities. History for Anzaldua Borderlands/La Frontera is associated with linguistic consciousness in the perception of language borders and the society. Seyhan says that it is important to articulate that memory and history in the text presented Anzaldua with conflicting reinterpretation of native myths and national epics in her tales challenges.


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