• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"As always when we look into the world of supposition and rumour that we call the past, nothing is certain. All we find are questions, shadows, ghosts"

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"As always when we look into the world of supposition and rumour that we call the past, nothing is certain. All we find are questions, shadows, ghosts" In documenting history, one must, indeed, enter into the realm of supposition and rumour in order to achieve a valid and comprehensive representation of the past. The distinction between history and memory is becoming increasingly blurred through the recent creation of numerous texts representing both. The Fiftieth Gate by Mark Baker, and Maus I and II by Art Spiegelman are two representations of history utilising completely different text types however, they are linked by a common element, the memories of the authors' parents'. The key phrase in the above quote is that in looking into the past, "all we find are questions". This is true for any investigation into history, as the true history is always the peoples' history: the subjective and personal stories encountered by each individual. Throughout these texts, the experiences and history that is attempted at being represented are the common but greatly dissimilar experiences of the Holocaust. History is a record of interpretation. "So people are shown not what they were, but what they must remember having been"1. It is the memory of the past that makes the history so significant, not the hard facts of the history itself. ...read more.

Middle

It is through this struggle as well as Baker's self-reflexivity that The Fiftieth Gate becomes a very human text, permitting the responder to go beyond the role of audience and to become involved within the text. Baker employs the use of italics to imply his parent's direct accounts that are often interspersed with his own, more factual comments. For example, at the beginning of chapter VI, Baker's comments over his parents serve as a (sometimes useless) commentary to the account being told. "For him it began in Wierzbnik. I was born in Wierzbnik. Wierzbnik was born before him. In 1657, founded by bishop Boguslaw Radoszewski who obtained royal permission to colonise woodlands along the Kamienna River. I remember on Saturday all the Jews would go walking in the forest..."2 The contrast between Baker's father's sentimental comments on his past and Baker's hard facts and straight background information serves to remind the audience of the manner of history. No one representation is adequately able to summarise or explain the past which explains the composer's need to re-establish ideas through fact. The historical documents that Baker had searched for in his pursuit of the truth to his parent's stories and included fragments of in the text, serve to authenticate his story to the wider audience. ...read more.

Conclusion

The documentation of this conversation immediately draws the reader into the story and gives a sense of importance at being almost personally talked about by the subjects of the text. The parallel stories of Vladek's past contrasted against Art's reactions and feelings towards his search for identity through the medium of oral history combine to give a compelling and interesting perspective on representations of the Holocaust. Both of these texts are a search for an identity of the present, through investigation of the past. Although the content of Maus and The Fiftieth Gate is closely related through the parents of both authors' reluctance to divulge their experiences of the past while the composers both pushed their parents towards giving an account in order to have the story in writing before it was lost, this does not typify the generation of Holocaust survivors. Many victims of the holocaust are and have been, eager to come forward and document their personal stories. Without these stories, the history of the Holocaust would not be a real history, but instead a cluster of numbers and figures with no real meaning and with no faces. In relating personal experience to greater history, each representation of any aspect of the Holocaust contributes to the grand narrative that is history. 1 Michel Foucault 1989, published 1992 2 The Fiftieth Gate, Mark Baker, pg 24, 1997 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE History Projects section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE History Projects essays

  1. Evaluate the arguments for and against oral history as an historical method.

    (Gilbert, K 1977, page 1) Although some of his interviewees were white in complextion such as Natasha McNamara, they are still transcendents of a race that became subject to cruel treatment, therefore when looking for the truth, or actual condition, Gilbert has only used one side of the story.

  2. How Reliable is Schindler's List As A Representation of the Holocaust?

    Schindler sprays them with the hose to deliver them some relief, even though it was under the guise of taunting them. This detail of their traveling conditions is backed up by the picture in source 12 of the cattle carts they were taken in, and Borowski's writing in source 13.

  1. The Panchayat system as an early form of conflict resolution in Trinidad.

    In 1912, Naparima Girls High School was established and by the 1950, Hill View College and Iere High School were built. The mission had made direct economic contribution to the Indian by education him and facilitating his entrance in the professional field on equal terms with other races.

  2. What Do Roman Authors Tell Us About The Celts? To What Extent Are Their ...

    called them "cowardly", as they made an attack on Agricola's army at night time. However, this is likely to have been Roman bias, as the night attack had certainly had the desired effect for the Britons, wiping out one third of Agricola's men stationed with him.

  1. The Holocaust

    Jews were not allowed to be civil servants Jewish doctors were not allowed to work in public hospitals. Jews were not allowed to be judges. Jews were not allowed to vote. Jews were not allowed to be present at any political meeting.

  2. De Bernieres describes History as 'Hearsay tempered with myth and hazy memory.' How does ...

    As she married into the aristocracy, she is likely to be anti-communist and her nationality is also likely to influence her political bias, as explained before; "history is the propaganda of the victors". De Berniļæ½res also gathered oral information from his father, who took part in the campaign in Italy as a soldier.

  1. The Age Of Exploration And Discovery

    They had no money to spare for Columbus. Next, Columbus went to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. The queen was impressed by Columbus - like him, she was very religious. But in the 1480's, the Spanish were busy fighting a war against the Muslims who still ruled part of Spain.

  2. Objective histories.

    The past is not handed to us directly, but we perceive it through the eyes of the historians, who shape it to reflect their own political, social, cultural, religious and educational stances. Conversely, we have the primary sources/evidence available to us, which provide us with information about the past with an absolute minimum of interference of historians.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work