Working Back Through Memory
DOI link for Working Back Through Memory
Working Back Through Memory book
Memory (the deliberate act of remembering) is a form of willed creation. It is not an effort to find out the way it really was… The point is to dwell on the way it appeared and why it appeared that particular way. (Morrison, 1996, p. 213)
This statement by Toni Morrison, the Nobel-award winning novelist, alludes to the ways that certain literary texts both use and investigate memory, something she explores quite explicitly through the theme of ‘rememorying’ in both Tar Baby and her later novel, Beloved. In this chapter, we apply Morrison’s conception of memory as a deliberate act by offering specific approaches to assembling, examining and ‘working back’ through memory. Annette Kuhn (1995) compares memory work to trying to solve a mystery novel ‘except that in a novel there is always an ending, and usually a resolution. Memory work, on the other hand, is potentially interminable: at every turn, as further questions are raised, there is always something else to look into’ (p. 5).