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Discuss the techniques that L.P Hartley and Ted Hughes employ to evoke memory in ‘The Go-Between’ and ‘Birthday Letters’

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Introduction

Discuss the techniques that L.P Hartley and Ted Hughes employ to evoke memory in 'The Go-Between' and 'Birthday Letters' In an unpublished copy of 'Birthday Letters' that Hughes had given to a friend, he wrote 'before us stands yesterday'. In saying this, I think Hughes looked to the future, as the legacy of the past. So, the future is built on the foundations of the past. But, you could read the statement as a reference to how Hughes makes past, present and the future all co-exist at the same time. For example, Hughes wrote these poems presumably some time after events, but he writes them as if he is looking to the future from that point in time. ...read more.

Middle

Hartley in 'The Go-Between' opens with the immortal lines 'The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there'. It is a broad statement that can be read on many different levels. You could look at the obvious technological advances that have changed the way we live in the past one hundred years (the past fifty for Leo), the social differences in class or creed or how two World wars have changed Britain and the way we live altogether. Leo remembers the events of that summer by what is recorded in his diary, in which he wrote in quite some detail what happened. ...read more.

Conclusion

with the 'The Go-Between'. In 'The Go-Between' Hartley utilized a very faltering narrator in the form of Leo, the accuracy of his memory is questionable as all the memory that is flooding back has been evoked by the proceedings in his diary. The clarity of his memory has been somewhat smudged and repressed thus distorting the original events in his own mind. This shortcoming in memory edges Leo on to remember the events of the summer of 1900. To trigger this 'flash flood' of memory, Hartley has Leo looking over his personal possessions, which then ignites the dormant memories that come back at an astonishing rate and keep accelerating until the climax of the story. ...read more.

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