The Fiftieth Gate Essay

August 6, 2017 History

The interplay between history and memory is a solipsistic act. where history necessarily relies on memory to keep its verve whereas memory relies on history to prolong its immortality. Throughout Mark Baker’s polyphonic non-fiction memoir. ”The Fiftieth Gate” and the yarn like thought of the images below. memory is depicted as the Panacea that enriches history as it provides diverse single positions on the historical event of the holocaust. However. the life besides adduces the complications that memory might endure. thereby uncovering the unequal omniscience of history.

Baker envisages the construct of interweaving memories on clarifying historical grounds. In Gate 38. the faery tale quality of this gate symbolises how memory can fall in with historical grounds to supply a more profound scope of information. When Baker recites his dream to Genia. he uses the metaphor of “a river of wine” that has turned to “blood” stand foring the connexion between an individual’s memory. in this instance Baker’s memory of his childhood narrative. and elaborate history of the Holocaust which the grownup historiographer. Baker. had evidently studied.

However. Genia recognised Baker’s dream as a childhood narrative book with a different stoping. This representation demonstrates both how single memories validate each other and how history is revealed through its interplay with memory. Baker farther explores how memory provokes and vindicates history in his non-fiction life. Typical of the whole memoir. gate 39 constitutes a many-sided types of textual signifiers portraying the ambiguity of history and its inability in blossoming the past’s riddles without the assistance of memory.

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Baker delineates this impression by analyzing the prewar historical papers. his “most treasured photograph” of his household taken in 1946 saying that although“The exposure transcends clip. There is nil to propose it is 1946” ergo exemplifying the obstructor history faces in making the absolute truth. Furthermore. Baker depicts utilizing rhetorical inquiries what the historical papers failed to reply. ” Does non the lensman know that in two months my grandmother’s smiling will be erased everlastingly? ” Whereas the impact of incident on his mother’s memory “it was a vacation because I remember seting on my best dress” intentionally evokes the lucidity of peculiar memories in providing the replies. Therefore. the restrictions of history are revealed by diging into one’s memory. as memory provides a more complete portrayal of a historical event. On the other manus. despite memory’s immediate interconnectedness with history in being its nurturing kernel. yet it endures multifaceted elaboratenesss which hinder history from absolute truth.

This dichotomy of memory is represented by the double star of Genia’s personality ; ”I am your victim. non your oppressor” . Baker depicts the extremes of Genia’s personality. between depression and excitement through eclipsis. ”That was me so. Nothing to look at now…nothing to see…ruins” and in her inversion of cause and consequence about her original period of depression: ”I remember now. The dislocation. it was because of you. ” This double nature of one’s memory provokes memory’s obfuscation. hence uncovering the imperfectness of history.

Additionally. memory’s failure in go throughing the trial of athanasia manipulates the unequal omniscience of history. Gate 41 recounts Baker’s effort to happen Benjamin Kogut. a subsister who saved Yossel. Baker’s father. as a agency of heightening historical grounds by the inclusion of Kogut’s memory. Baker uses recount about “The Search Bureau for Missing Relatives” in Jerusalem to demo how historical grounds is sifted. Ultimately. Baker’s find of a Kogut household member’s Tel Aviv telephone figure reveals that Kogut has died go forthing “ one individual exposure from after the release. but no memories” .

Baker’s metaphor of “peering into memory’s black hole” conveys the inclination of memory to be lost therefore releasing the construct of “absolute truth” while uncovering history to be merely a partial representation of corporate memory. In retrospect. the reader sees memory moving as an anecdote since it assists history but fails to accomplish history’s “absolute truth” . This impression is kindred to Sir Winston Churchill’s political orientation which depicts that “History is written by victors” as a agency of showing the interplay of memory and history where the bias of corporate memory restrains the candor of history.


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