‘At the heart of representation are acts of deliberate selection and emphasis. ’ Analyse how the relationship between history and memory explores this concept in your texts. Through the representation of history via one’s memory, often there are acts of deliberate selection and emphasis to help support an idea. History is a contested version of memory, and therefore memory on its own will be more bias and its representation will often have deliberate acts of selection and emphasis, used through the book True History of the Kelly Gang by “Peter Carey”.
It’s representation of memory is to validate the idea that Kelly is an oppressed individual by the British policemen, and that it is justified that he became a bushranger. In Forest Gump, directed by Robert Zemeckis” explores this concept different. He focuses on the accidental selection and emphasis of the representation of history, through the memory of the protagonist “Forest Gump” due to his low IQ to justify how much a person can achieve while having a lower level of intelligence than those around them.
History is contested memories, and memories are small parts of an individual’s subjective life. In Peter Carey’s novel True History of the Kelly Gang and Forest Gump, directed by Robert Zemeckis, connections between history and memory create compelling and unexpected insights to characters, events and situations. Within the representation of both texts, there are acts of selection and emphasis.
Some of these instances are deliberate, whilst others are accidental. In “True History of the Kelly Gang”, Carey structures his the book as 13 parcels, written from a first-person perspective in past tense as the character “Ned Kelly” to his “dear daughter”, to convey sympathy from the audience by demythologising the ‘Kelly figure’ and humanising him to support the idea that the Irish were oppressed by the British in Australia.
Therefore through Kelly’s ‘memoirs’ the cruelty of the British police and a repetitive parasitic view of them “Sir Redmond Barry waited for her like a great fat leech” is heavily emphasises that historically the Irish were oppressed by the British, and that Kelly is justified in that they took everything from him with no contribution. The policemen’s perspectives are rejected in Kelly’s parcels “No we come to apprehend you/….
You are a liar” and are therefore deliberately not selected to obtain only Kelly’s memory and history. This is further emphasised further in Parcel 9 when Sargent Kennedy’s letter to his “poor wife” is not recorded through Kennedy’s perspective because it would antagonize the Kelly figure and contest the historical idea of Kelly as the oppressed Irish underdog.
In True History of the Kelly Gang, Carey structures his novel in 13 parcels, written in epistolary form to represent the memories of Ned Kelly personal memory. The acts of representation are deliberately selected and emphasised to portray Kelly in a more humanistic manner to his “dear daughter” through sympathy. Through the memories of Kelly and popular history, a portrayal of oppressive policeman figures and the ways Kelly is situated to respond to them. The policemen repetitive parasitic view.
However, even though the “True History of the Kelly Gang” subscribes to the concept ‘At the heart of representation are acts of deliberate selection and emphasis’, there are various other texts implemented into the novel that undermine Kelly or are selected against him. Sargent O’Neil’s recount of “A Certain Man” corrupts Irish history, which portrays an attack on Kelly, creating more sympathy towards him, but also acknowledges that “history it is indeed quite essential”.
In his story, O’Neil leaves out crucial factors and “painted the outrage in every detail” to create “the memory of the policeman’s words” about Kelly’s father, and the effects it has on Kelly is emphasised through parasitical imagery “I went about growing up this slander wormed deeper and deeper…” The newspaper reports in “True History of the Kelly Gang” further demonstrate Kelly’s own selection and emphasis on detail, and the addition of them contests Kelly’s memory, and therefore makes the novel historically justified. The Sticking up of Faithfull’s Creek Station” contests and juxtaposes Kelly’s own views of himself a martyr and instead perceives him as a murderer “obey or he would blow his … brains out. ”
This violent imagery portrays Kelly as villainous and undercuts the selection and emphasis Kelly himself has done within the parcels of his history. “Forest Gump” contests the concept that ‘At the heart of representation are acts of deliberate selection and emphasis. And instead continually displays accidental acts of selection and emphasis through the representation of his life. The recollection of his personal memories is represented through the framing device of Forest sitting on a bus bench and talking to individuals around him, whom contest his flashbacks. An older man refuses to believe that Forest Gump owns “Bubbagump” shrimp and portrays his disbelief by laughing heavily.
After the man leaves, Forest visually consolidates his ownership and thus, story by displaying a “Fortune” magazine to an elderly woman which has a picture of him on it. The movie also demonstrates the implications of when memory is not contested with the flashback/ montage behind the name “Forest Gump”.
Historically, “Forest Gump” was a “Klu Klux Klan” member, but Forest only remembers his Mother saying that it’s “To remind us all that sometimes people do stupid things. The Mother selects and emphasises certain parts of “Forest Gump’s history” to convey a more acceptable and innocent story to the protagonist, and therefore he remembers it differently to the ‘accepted history’. Throughout Forest Gump’s flashbacks, he consistently accidentally leaves out essential historical contexts and emphasises instead on the smaller, more personal details. After meeting President Nixon, he mentions complaining about some flashlights in the room next to him “keeping him awake” over the telephone.
He emphasises the telephones keeping him awake, but completely fails to acknowledge that this was due to the “Nixon scandal” which creates Irony to further emphasise his obliviousness to the world around him. While his memory isn’t inaccurate, it doesn’t align with the historical opinions on the situation. Also, when explaining about his investments in a “fruit company” he only emphasises what he did with the money, being that he fixed up the “church” and ironically left out the part about it being “Apple Computers”, whom are a historical company.
Although this selection of emphasises is accidental, and not deliberate, and therefore contrasts with the idea that representation is deliberate selection and emphasises. Both texts demonstrate acts of selection and emphasis within memory, but both juxtapose one another as to whether they are deliberate or not. History is when these acts of selection and emphasis are juxtaposed with another perspective that is contrasting. Throughout both texts, history is conveyed by the juxtaposition of memories.