The Things They Carried

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien exemplifies Lehrer’s concept that memories are made up of real and fake fragments. Once an experience is over no person can completely describe that experience the way it was. O’Brien realizes that some of the memories he writes about are vivid memories, while other memories he does not know if they happened in the way he is describing. “The memory-traffic feeds into a rotary up on your head, where it goes in circles for a while, then pretty soon imagination flows in and the traffic merges and shoots off down a thousand different streets.” Parts of reality become intertwined with fiction, and soon the two can not be separated. O’Brien states how the original memory becomes more about telling a story. These stories become more about the person you were, and what you did; and transform to who you are now and how these stories fit your life in the present. Thelen describes how memories change to fit the changing circumstances. These stories that O’Brien creates will always be remembered, even if the actual memory begins to change or disintegrate.

The Things They Carried can also be connected to Marcel Proust’s concept we change or alter facts about a story so we can interpret in the way we are thinking now. When you think about a memory the brain unconsciously modifies the experience. Proust moral to his idea is that memories are unstable and inaccurate. Throughout the O’Brien’s book, he mentions how he can not tell if what he is saying is actually true, and how as he remembers things he see people or objects that he could not have possibly seen at the time. In the chapter “On the Rainy River,” O’Brien mentions how he remembers seeing faces of people he knew from the past, when in actuality they were not there. O’Brien also does not know which stories he is telling are true and which are made up. For example in the chapter “In the Man I Killed,” O’Brien writes about two different accounts of the killing of the man, and adds different information about the life of the man he killed. Only to figure out in the next chapter the stories he had been thinking of were not true. The Things They Carried is book that goes through the complications of memory and storytelling, and also how over time and through traumatic events the line between truth and fiction begins to disappear.


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Voice Envisioned

While visiting the Voices Envisioned exhibits in the Rosenthal Library, I found each of the exhibits interesting. I found the art work inspiring and the words moving. One exhibit I found especially fascinating was Nuala Gallogher’s Empathic Perception. At first I just glimpsed at the cups, not really giving them the attention that I gave the other exhibits. I also remember thinking somehow I’m going to knock one cup over and crack it. Then someone pointed out that they were already cracked; that grabbed my attention.
Gallogher had taken tea cups and cracked them all over, and then she repaired them with different objects; such as band aids and wire. The purpose of her exhibit was to show how every person or society has been broken, and the scars do not disappear but how life goes on. According to Stephen H. Barret, “Empathic perception is made possible through the power of visualization—to sense and become other living things.”( )Gallogher chose china cups because in European culture cups are passed down from generation whether they are cracked or not. She also states the passing down ideas to generations are European traditions.
The cracked china cups directly relate to Daniel Schatcher’s concept “Memory is Life.” People’s live revolve around memory. Memory helps us complete day to day activities, as well as keeps us connected to a past generation. The memories and ideas that get passed from, grandparents, to parents , to childern are the memories that define a person. Like each individual crack on the cups, all individuals and families have scars and stories of their own that define their being and community. Similar to how the Thanksgiving rituals get passed down from generation to generation, and how those moments you create and recreate each year define your family.
Also the idea of passing down these memories from generation to generation connects with David Thelen’s notion of the “storyteller.” The storyteller “takes what he tells from experience- his own or that reported by others.” When the broken china cups get passed down from generation they will also be passed down with the story of how each crack came to be on the cup. Although, over time the story may change a bit, as we have learned memories fade and change over time, the basic concept of these memories will continually be passed down for generations to come.

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Vietnam Memorial

In eighth grade I went on trip with my whole grade to Washington D.C. On this trip we visited many different sites; the Lincoln Monument, the Washington Capital, The Holocaust Museum and many other memorials. In eighth grade I could understand that we were going to learn about different parts of history, but everyone was just excited to get out of school, we weren’t really thinking about the historical aspect of the trip. We took a bus there and we didn’t get there until two o’clock in the morning. We all went to bed and they said we would wake up bright and early in the morning to start the day.
The first event of the day was to visit the Vietnam Memorial. I don’t know how but we all had this enormous amount of energy; it was almost like we couldn’t contain ourselves. We pulled up to the Vietnam Memorial and we walked over to it, and something changed. When we walked by the wall it had this power over us, and all these emotions rushed to us. This wall had the power to silence and stop ninety kids dead in their tracks, and just think. It was not as though everyone burst in to tears, but seeing other people look at the wall with such emotion, and just seeing how many names were on the wall you couldn’t help but think of that tragic time. Walking by the wall and seeing names of people and not knowing what really happened to them was truly sad feeling. I remember my friends and I just pick out one name each, from what seemed like a never ending list, and just thought about what their life was like, how old they were and how they died.
When I think of my time at the memorial it makes me think of one thing Mya Linn said in the documentary. She said the purpose of the memorial was to evoke emotion. Most memorials are to honor the men who fought, and you can pass by those memorials without ever really thinking about what you’re seeing. Walking by Linn’s memorial it is almost impossible to not feel some sort of sad emotions that makes you think about the lives of all those boys and men who died. That was Linn intention for people to walk by it feeling sad and sorry for all those who died. Watching the documentary it is understandable to see why she did not want the statue of the soldiers and the American Flag along side the memorial.
While I was at the memorial I did not see the statue, if I hadn’t seen the documentary I would not have even known it was there. Seeing the memorial brought everyone I was with and me to feel something we hadn’t up to that point. While learning about the Vietnam War you know of the tragic deaths that Americans faced, but not until I was there and saw all the names did I put together the seriousness and horror of the war, and how they were just normal people thrown into that situation. If I had seen the statue I wonder how my perspective on the memorial would have changed. I think somehow seeing the statue before/while seeing the memorial I would have seen the names on the wall as soldiers rather than people.

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Anthem by Ayn Rand is a book about a young boy called Equality 7-2521. In the society he lives the people have no knowledge of individualism. The people do not know the word “I” or”Mine.” They are apart of a collective group that has no identity. They are known by their number and their job. Equality finds a hidden tunnel, where he begins to write in his journal which is forbidden by the Council of Vocations. The people in this society can not act as individuals. According to your job is where you live, with other people who share the same job. They are forbidden to talk about certain topics or use certain words; they are even forced to live without electricity. Equality rebels against the collectivism and conducts an experiment where he creates electric light. He shows this to the council, and they become angered at his act of individualism. Equality runs away with his love into the Uncharted Forest. In the forest they find an ancient house, which is from the Unmentionable Times. Within this house Equality and his love, Liberty 5-3000, discover books with a lost language. Equality and Liberty remain there and rename themselves after the ancient Greek myths they learn about. They promise to use their knowledge to rebuild a society based on individual liberty.
This story represents Connerton’s first type of forgetting. Paul Connerton’s “Seven types of forgetting,” is about all the different ways information and memories get erased or silenced over time. The first type of forgetting “Repressive Erasure,” is frequently performed by a dictatorship to try to past wrongs or because the past does not fit the new ruler. In the book the Council of Vocations completely erased all knowledge of the Old World, or Unmentionable Times. Similar to Hitler’s idea of Nazism and making everyone the same and killing everyone who was different, except they did not know any better they just went on with their lives never wondering what it meat to say the word “I’. Like the examples in the article of the Romans trying to rid their society of former rulers being punished by having their statues ripped down, pictures of them destroyed and their name erased from texts. This is similar to The Council of Vocation who rid their new society of everything from former societies.

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Thanksgiving Ritual

Most people do the same things every year on Holidays. For all the major holidays I celebrate I pretty much do the same thing every year. However, there are things that have changed from the first holidays I remember celebrating till now, that is however not the case for Thanksgiving. Since I can first remember celebrating Thanksgiving to today, everything has been almost completely the same.
My Family’s Thanksgiving ritual begins with waking up to my mom yelling that the Parade is on. My moms always the first one up, and each year she yells up the stairs to tell my dad, my three sisters and I that the Parade is on. We all wake up and walk downstairs and start watching the parade and then five minutes later my dad always says, “Wait, March of the Wooden Soldiers is on.” We always put that on and have the parade on “Recall.” My mom keeps saying girls you better be ready by 2:15. We never really pay attention. Then once March of the Wooden Soldiers and the Parade ends we always watch the Dog Show. We all watch in the living room until my mom says “I mean it go get dressed.” We all go upstairs and get dressed while continuing to watch the dog show until it ends. My family’s job is to bring the appetizers so we are supposed to be the first ones there, but we’re always the last. When we finally do arrive every digs into the food we brought. Then everyone sits either around the kitchen table, around the dining room table or in the living room. While my aunts and my mom cook dinner. Once while cooking dinner my family burnt the sweet potatoes, and for some reason the whole family liked the way they tasted better. Now every year they burn the sweet potatoes.
After we eat, a traditionally American Thanksgiving dinner, everyone goes back into the rooms and continues conversations. However, my uncle goes to the piano and plays for the rest of the night. Always at around seven thirty, they begin to bring the dessert out. Everyone complains how full they are but that doesn’t stop them from having pie and cookies and what ever dessert is out. Everyone leaves around nine, we go home and just sit on the couch and fall asleep. This sequence of events happens every year on Thanksgiving. The conversations may not be the same every year, but the places we sit and have these conversations and the people we have them with remain the same. This Thanksgiving ritual identifies our family. When someone asks us what we do on Thanksgiving each year when can truthfully tell almost the same story. It is in the burnt sweet potatoes and piano playing moments that define our family from all others.

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Prescriptive Forgetting

Prescriptive forgetting is the act of forgetting past wrongs by two groups of people to prevent further hostility. This type of forgetting is devised in an attempt to reunite or help to groups live in harmony. A well known example of this would be between France and England. France and England have been constant enemies since their beginning. They both fought for world dominance, and fought over claims to parts of each others nations. The most popular war between the two nations was the Hundred Years War. During this time both France and England fought for supremacy. Although sometimes they were allied together, much of the hostility still remained between the two nations. For example during World War II these nations were both apart of the Allied Powers, fighting against the Germans. However, they still remained aggressive towards each other.
This hatred continued until both France and England were forced to put their differences aside and forget their former wrongs and unite to form the European Union. The European Union consists of 27 member states. The objective of the European Union is to keep peace and trade within the European countries. The EU has a standardized system that has created laws which guarantee free movement of money, services, people, and goods. One way you can immediately see the alliance flourish is that in most English (in Britain) schools French is taught as a second language.

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Response to “The Musical Madeleine”

Ringtones can have a personal meaning and reasoning for choosing such a song. When I pick a ringtone for my phone I think of just putting songs that I love, or songs that I liked when I was little. My ringtone now is the Rugrats theme song. One day I was on the computer and somehow a rugrats clip came up on Youtube, and I though that would be a perfect ringtone. When I first heard my ringtone I would always think of the opening scene of the show. I still think of that but now I also think of when my friends and I are out and my phone rings they all hum to the song. It really is so funny, and they always tell me never to change it because they love the fact that sometimes when my phone rings we get into a conversation about old shows we used to watch. That’s what I think of when I hear my phone ring. Other people who hear my phone ringtone for the first time always say, “Oh my God I love that show.” When the ringtone goes off most people always start talking about how they used to watch Rugrats on nickelodeon.

My sister has the ringtone “I Whip my Hair Back and Forth,” by Willow Smith. The first time we both heard the song was while we were watching the video. In the video Willow Smith literally whips her hair back and forth. When my sister’s phone rang and the song came on for the first time, the first thing we did was put our heads down and whip our hair. Every time her phone rings we think of that video and we do the same motion she does in the video. That’s what we think every time we here the song. My mom and dad never saw the video but they saw Smith on a talk show once and she had a really weird hairdo. They say when they hear the song they think of her sitting on the show with that strange hairdo.

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“First Love”

Nabokov chooses to, in detail, describe what he saw while on the train and the people he encounter. He brings great emphasis on the towns which he passed on the train and the different shades of light and sounds he heard on the train. For example he notes the shadows that went by as the trained moved, and also he purely describes everything about the train. He also vividly describes the sights while looking outside, “Through forest and field, and in sudden ravines, and among scuttling cottages, those discarnate gamblers kept steadily playing on for steadily sparkling stakes.”
He also puts great importance on the descriptions of the people he encountered. He described what the men and women wore in town, and he describes Colette. He described how Colette was strange, but that strangeness made him fall in love with her. He can recall this memory well because the memories that conjure up emotions are remembered better, and he remembers how he loved her. Much of his story is spent describing his observations, rather than stating what he actually did. He stated the time he spent with Colette and how they stayed on the beach, but he did not say anything he did with his family besides playing cars with his mother. It’s almost as if Nabokov is letting us look through his eyes and we see what he sees; only sometimes letting us interact with him being apart of the memory.
The type of language Nabokov uses is descriptive words. There is a lot of imagery within the story. He uses the imagery to help stress his point and to help a person picture what he is writing about. He uses similes and metaphors to help the readers relate to his meaning.
The parts of the story that shows us evidence of Nabokov’s meta-awareness of his own memory process is on page 58 when he asks himself the questions “Was he asleep? Was he there at all?” He is asking himself these questions to help look beyond only what he sees now and the possibility for more information. Another piece of evidence is at the end of the story how he conjures up certain memories to help him try to remember Colette’s dog’s name.

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“Attach a cultural memory of a song to a caller or callee”

A ringtone is a customized signal or segment of a song. According to the text “The Musical Madeleine,” when a person hears a song they link it or connect it to a specific subculture. When you hear a ringtone, you associate the callee of that phone to that type of music and culture. Unfortunately, this type of generalization is stereotyping. Because we hear a song we automatically think of a certain type of person and connect the callee to that type of person.

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“The Musical Madeleine”

The writer’s thesis for this article is that cell phones, more specifically ring tones, connect an audience with “the world of music,” which also reflects on the type of person who chose the ring tone. According to the writer’s ring tones are reflections of a person, and there phone represents who they are.
Many people make there ring tones according to the music they like. The writers state how hearing a ring tone makes a person think about the ideas and feeling that go along with that song or genre of song. They state how this link to the music produces memories of identity. Also those who use ring tones, use it as a way to let the outer world know their attachment or meaning to this song. The example they give is the Goth girl who has a gothic song on her phone, and everyone would think that was normal. However, they say if that same Goth girl had Justin Timberlake as her ring tone people who didn’t know her would be confused and friends of her could by outraged. This is because when you hear a song you think of the culture performance or culture of the song and then associate it with the person who has that ring tone.
I believe ring tones can accurately represent the type of person someone is. There are some people that have ring tones that suite there personality extremely well, and it’s not surprising they have that ring tone. However, many people like all different types of music. A person good enjoy music from the rap, hip hop, country or Indie genre. So by listening to their ring tone you can not actually recognize with a ones personality. Some of my friends have ring tones that perfectly go with their identity and how they act. Others have ring tones that don’t go along with the music they like at all, they just happened to like that one song.

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