April 25, 2005

Reflecting on Textual Memory

In the 5th grade, I was in a program at school called GATE. This program consisted of gifted or exceptional students. In this program the students were required to do certain projects and studies. One of the projects my group chose was the study of the Titanic and the history of the tragic voyage.

I recall even at such a young age, reading a book on the Titanic. This book consisted of pictures of the wreckage and the Titanic before the accident.

Before reading this book (whose title escapes me), I had some prior knowledge of the Titanic and that it was a supposed “unsinkable” ship that sunk, due to a high speed crash into a protruding iceberg.

However, once I started reading that particular book, I was placed inside the original Titanic. I seen the extravagance of the glass and silverware, chandeliers, rooms, the band, the food, the size of the ship, the rich people, and I even got a glimpse of the arrogance of the makers of ship and the confidence of the passengers.

Because of this text, I was able to witness all the memories of the survivors who actually seen in person what I was seeing and hearing in this book of pictures and testimony.

According to Margaret Atwood, “You don’t look back along time but down through it, like water.” Found in “Textual Memory: The Making of the Titanic’s Literary Archive” by Tim Woods and Peter Middleton.

Also, Paul Auster in his “Book of Memory’s” states, “Memory: Therefore, not simply as the resurrection of one’s private past, but an immersion in the past of others, which is to say: history— which one both participates in and is witness to, is a part of and apart from.”

I interpreted that he was implying that memory isn’t about bringing up the past, but is like an interest or fascination in others past and through history we witness and contribute to it directly and indirectly.

Posted by Denishia Salter at April 25, 2005 03:06 PM

You bring up a great point, Denishia--memory as a storytelling method. I am going to address this as part of my feminine vs. masculine storytelling method. Something like, "Is memory a predominant feminine storytelling method, or is it a general way to depict history?"

Posted by: Amanda Cochran at April 25, 2005 10:16 PM
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