Memory as a Tool

We talked about memory last class; it’s been a theme and a word repeated throughout this text so far. The narrator tends to clarify his memories for us, describing “memory” as something, using a colon to indicate direct relations — lines like: “Memory as months alone: to live in a world changed by my wife but that did not contain her” (65). From what I can discern, these lines help to show us that the character is interested in the way events in the past shape him, and how he is able to learn and grow from thinking about the past — from memories. For example, on that same page, he writes: “In those days I began to miss her differently than I missed her in the years we shared these rooms with the foundling” (65). The husband figure is paying attention to how he has shifted from his past, and how is present self diverges, I think.

 

I’m not sure, but memory seems to be working as some sort of didactic tool in this text. This idea was further solidified more me when our narrator descends into the “deep house” sung by his wife; “and in this room, her wedding ring, discarded” (98), and “the footprints she made on the beach where we wed” (99). In this magicked house, memories are given shape and form — they become physical and tangible objects, and the husband is made to interact with them as he tries to heal present wounds. Why does the wife catalog all of these memories? Did she know her husband would follow? I think so, and his interaction with a physical past will have interesting and powerful effects on him, I think.

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