Memory Goes to War

December 8th, 2010

In class we saw a video called “Waltz with Bashir,” its about Ari completely suppressing his memory of the war. His memory is triggered when his friend mentions a recurring dream to him and that makes him remember a certain image. The image or images rather are of him and a fellow soldier standing up from a body of water and walking. And of him going into a alley where women are crying and crying. With only these memories he starts his journey to try and recollect his suppressed memories.

We have read in Schacter’s work that when a memory is extremely upsetting a person can completely forget it or atleast attempt to. And this was re-inforced in the PBS special we saw. The director of this film actually went through this. When we first read about this type of suppressing, I thought if it so traumatic how could you forget it. However when we were watching the film and in our discussions afterwards, I remembered a story I had read similar to this.

I read a book in the summer of my sophomore year in high school called “The Perks of being a Wallflower” by  Stephen Chbosky. Unlike other books they asked us to read this one was very interesting. The book is about a boy,Charlie, going through conflicts many teens go through. However the connection to the film is a an incident that occurs to Charlie and the reader doesn’t realize till near the end of the book. Charlie has a strong connection to his Aunt Helen. He really liked her because she was the only one who would give hime two presents; one for his birthday and another for Christmas. Unfortunately she dies on his birthday and saying right before she left that she was going to get him a present. Because of this he feels very guilty for her passing away. Time passes and then when he is with a girl he likes,Sam, and they are being intimate he suddenly triggers a memory he had suppressed very very deep: his Aunt Helen molested him as a kid. He had absolutely no recollection of these memories because he buried them so deep because he didn’t want to think about it. But when a incident triggers that memory he is no longer able to suppress that memory and is now getting treated for a breakdown because that memory resurfaced.

Charlie’s case is similar to Ari’s. In both cases when the memory resurfaces and is brought to the individuals consciousness they go on a journey to discover their past. Charlie does it with the help of a psychiatrist, trying to overcome his past to accept it and move on. Ari does it by digging deep and really searching by questioning others and piecing back his memory so he could remember what happened so it can stop haunting him. Both people suppressed a memory that was too much for them to handle at the time, but later when it is triggered they have to deal with these memories. And both were great examples to clearly demonstrate how a tragic memory can be repressed.

AIDS Quilt.

December 2nd, 2010

The first time I heard about the AIDS quilt was in fifth grade. I remember reading an article about it , the quiet classroom and for some reason I was so amazed by it. I found it so fasinating and I believe that is why this memory stayed with me. When we read the text in history class pertaining to the AIDS quilt again I was so engaged in it. I feel like it was so powerful and I thought to myself someday, I have to go see it.
   So when I heard they were showing it at QC I was really excited to see it.  And when I went it was definetely an amazing experience. Each quilt was so creatively put together, you can see the amount of effort people put into it. For someone who has AIDS, or even any other medical problem,it is definetly a big change in life and so is it in their families life. I think the quilt represents them accepting that things are gonna be different now but they know they will overcome it. Its also a way of keeping the person alive through memory. Death is NEVER easy for anyone. Losing someone is a very hard experience and sometimes when the number of people dying is so high it loses the value of the significance. But like the article we read said, these were people too they had families and we cannot and shouldnt forget them or what they died for. The quilt is not only for the families of people who have lost someone to AIDS its a message to everyone; its gonna be very difficult but lets help fight this battle together. This experience of seeing the quilt was definetely memorable.  The reason I think is because I went into it with so much past connections and hopes so I was already expecting a good outcome. And I got to share it with my best friend who I had to beg to come with me! It was definetely a good experience.

Thanksgiving.

December 1st, 2010

Thanksgiving is a big deal in my family for two reasons. The first is obvious; its thanksgiving and the second is it usually falls around my younger brothers birthday or on my older sisters birthday, like it did this year. So theres always two reasons to celebrate. Since my dads family doesnt really celebrate thanksgiving, we just celebrate with my moms family. My family usually gathers in my grandmothers one bedroom apartment to celebrate dinner.All of my extended family lives in Brooklyn and me and my family live in Queens. So they are usually all gathered together and we are the last to arrive. Then what I remeber most about past thanksgivings is that we put a blanket on the floor and try to find a place so we can sit and eat. Once everyone is sitted someone leads the prayer.Although my family is predominetly Catholic I have uncles and even my dad who arnt and sometimes they do their own prayer of thanks over the food too.The food is also multicutural
and most of the time you know who will cook what. Like my one aunt will cook pasta and the other will cook the rice etc. After dinner we clean up and the nwxt part of the evening consists of the loud socialing. The adults or as we like to call them “old people,” sit and chat in the living room and the younger folk gather in the bedroom. Unless if by luck the elders are talkig about anything interesting we all get together in the livingroom.

How does this shape my family identity? Well, individually the food dishes come into play. The dishes have become traditional not only to the holiday but also to the person cooking it. They sort of become part of the person, we all know which family will bring what so it forms a identity. Together the identity is shaped when we gather on the floor to eat. In my culture they believe that god blesses those that eat their meals on the floor. Theres a certain beauty that i always feel when we all gather to eat our meal together. Another example is when we do our prayers it shows that we are together even though we differ in religion. As much as I love my culture and its rituals and traditions I also like the blending of other cultures and the assimilation that happens. And I believe all of this adds to my families identity of Thanksgiving, every family is different and so is every families way of celebrating.

Memory Book Entry Post

December 1st, 2010

After taking this course I think it is safe to say we all believe that yes memory is faulty. Its never guarnteered when it will work and when it won’t and that is why it is called a paradox. Well because of this course I am now more aware of the limitations of memory. For example a few days ago my dad was telling me a story that I’ve heard him tell a couple times before too. However there  was something different this time.. As he was telling the story he mentioned the “king buying 12 cars” but I distinctly remember hi saying last time “the king bought 5 cars.”
What was the reason for this change? Maybe my dad was trying to emphasize how wealthy the king was so he changed it  like how in Pual Revere’s Ride the story is changed a little to fit a more heroic image. Or maybe it changed unknowly just becaause thats just the way memory works. As it is stated ” In each construction of a memory, people reshape, omit, distort, combine, and recognize details from the past in a active and subjective way. ” Or another possibility is that my memory is faulty as we know that memory fades over time and in fact maybe there were 12 cars mentioned in the story the whole time. Whatever the case I think the solution would be to get another person to verify the story and see if theres any evidence. Although it seems, like any other memory, so clear and positive that it is true, as we have learned through this  semester is that we must accept that memory is faulty and has limits.

On Connerton’s second type of forgetting.

November 23rd, 2010

In the text, Connerton talks about the second type of forgetting. This type involves “two groups of people to attempt to consciously forget the wrongs of the past in order to unite and live together in peace.” I think the best example of this is friendship pr even any kind of relationship. Relationships are never perfect and require a lot of work and sometimes that means forgetting and moving on. Everyone makes mistakes but we have to realize whats more important and keep moving forward.  Coincidentally, that is exactly what happened to me this weekend. A friend of mine was mad at me for the past few months and I didn’t know why or even what happened. And although we ran into each other a few times she refuses to talk to me.  However over the weekend she texted me and we started talking and agreed to move on and just forget what happened. There’s no use to hold on and remember memories that hurt you and stop you from going on with your life. So as we consciously decided to overlook the past so that now we can have peace between each other and within our circle of friends, just like Connerton stated.
And this also goes back what he mentioned about forgetting being looked down upon, when it shouldn’t be. As in this example we see that forgetting is beneficial. This brings up a important question “would you really want to remember everything?” Sometimes forgetting can be just as significant as remembering.

Memory Book Project Post: Personal Memories

November 11th, 2010

 Lilies. 

       I have no problem with they way lilies look, infact I think they’re beautiful. But, the way lilies smell, thats a whole different story. Whenever I pass by them, I don’t have any particular thought or memory that is triggered. However, when I smell them one thing always comes to mind: funerals, my grandpa’s funeral in particular. My grandpa’s funeral was the first time I’ve been in a funeral home, and I remember a specific smell being so overwhelming. For a long time I didn’t know where this smell was coming from,until recently when my mom brought some flowers home.  They were blue roses with lilies that hadn’t bloomed yet. They were very pretty and I passsed by them countless times and nothing ever grabbed my attention. But, a couple days later the lilies came out, and this time when I passed by, the smell was so overpowering. I realized it was the flowers, the lilies in particular. My memory maybe a little fuzzy but when I smell those flowers I remember the way funeal home looked  filled with so many people, everyone wearing black,a despair among everyone, and my grandpa. Every time I come across this smell, it reminds me of him. These lilies and their smell, which I used to despise so much, have led me to a proustian moment of my own.

Vladimir Nabokov’s “First Love”

November 9th, 2010

A. Nabokov’s choice on what to include and what not to include have a great impact on the reader. He choose to include very realistic descriptions of the train. He describes the views in sees inside and ourside the train and how exquisite it felt to be in there. The whole first part of the text was devoted to the train; its descriptions and some of the activities that took place on the train. When talking about Colette he is vivid in his description of her. For example when he talks about her attire, and how at first he thought she was a boy because of the way she was dressed. He talked minimally about his family. He mentions how his sisters werent there and he played cards with his mother, and that his father was reading the newspaper but thats it. He doesnt write to much about them, maybe suggesting that, that information was not relevant to what he was trying to say.

B. The langauge he uses is important too. He speaks in first person, and that sets a very personal tone for the text. He uses that when describing things, it adds to the accounts he is giving. He gives the name of cetain things, like the name of the train, in French. I think is a important touch because it gives more of a feel to the work, like you are there present with the author.

C. He is pretty aware of his own memory process. For example when talking about an instance and he mentions his brother and he then says ” was he awake, was he there?” You can see he is questioning his own recollection perhaps to make it more accurate or maybe to shows its faults. Another instance is when he is trying to remember the name of the dog. As he is writing he can feel the name coming back into his conscience and he can now recal it. It showed that he was talking to himself as much as he was talking to reader. Ant that he was aware of his own memory process.

Recontextualized Ringtones.

November 9th, 2010

A song can be “recontextualized” when it’s heard as a ringtone depending on the setting. When you change the setting of a song it changes your view of it. For example, say you are on the bus and you get reconnected with a old friend. In the midst of your conversation their phones goes off and their ringtone is a familiar song. You were happy to see them after so long but sadly your stop is here and you get off. Now when you hear that song again it has a different affect on you. It has a connection with your friend, so when you hear it next time you will remember them.Another example is when I first heard this song called “Sugar” by Flo Rida featuring Wynter Gordon, I didnt like it at all. But it was playing on a show I was watching and just the way they presented it, it was cute and now I didnt dislike it as much. So the show “recontextualized” the way I saw the song, changing the way I fellt about it.

The Musical Madeleine.

November 4th, 2010

Thesis: Ringtones are highly powerful in the cutural memory of the person whose phone it is, and the surronding people. Just like how smell and taste make Proustian memories, ringtones also leave a special mark on its audience sometimes confining the person whose ringtone it is and at others confining the ringtone.

I usually either have my fone on silent, vibrate or have the ringtone that is usually already installed in the fone. I’ve never really personalized my ringtone. However my younger sister always has a song playing for her ringtone. So when I was reading this article it reminded me of her. And when her ringtone plays it does distrupt the setting that is going on and at times it okay cause I like the music that is playing and I will sing along and at other times it is very annoying and distracting. For example when you are trying to sleep or study and now you have a song stuck in your head. And just about two minutes ago as I am writing this someones fone went off grabbing my attention toward where I heard the noise and it just basically re-instates what the text was saying. But anyways when the article talked about the Goth girls ringtone and how it was powerful in her surronding I could understand what the author was trying to convey. I thought they used a easily understanding example which was good. It showed how much a ringtone can say without you having to say one word. And a particular sentence that stood out was “she brands the ringtone just as much as it brands her.” It showed how much our society tries to sort of set everything into catergoies and cliques.

My Halloween Memory.

November 1st, 2010

When I try to recall my memories of Halloween I remember being in my old house in a black shirt and black pajamas, I think I was a witch that year. I think i’m abour eight or nine years old. and I see myself jumping around in the living room and having all my candy all spread on the dark red carpet and my sisters ‘ are too but they are clearly seperated from each other. My aunt and cousins are leaving and my older sister went to say goodbye but I didn’t go, i’m sitting with my candy. I’m sorting through my candy to see which ones I want to keep and which I want to trade and the TV is on. The parts I remember are clear, however I remember them as I were looking at myself, not as I were actually doing the activity. The other parts, such as if my younger sister went to go say goodbye or not to my cousins is a blur. Sometimes I think she did and at others I can see her sitting across from me. I think the reason why I remember this, is because i remember feeling a little guilty for not going to say goodbye and instead being focused on the yummy treats. Maybe my mom was telling me that they were leaving or something I don’t know why but I remember that and it being so important. However I feel that it is accurate because i always get this “flashback” when I think of Halloween. But then again maybe because I remember it so much it has become distorted.I asked my sister if she remembers my recollection and she said all she remembers is seprating our candies on the floor but not about our cousins leaving. This memory holds a lot of meaning because every Halloween I go trick-a-treating with my cousins and its like a tradition. So when this time of year comes around I recall my this memory from my childhood. And even though it may not be accurate I know its really important to me, even though the reason why may not be so apparent.

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