Focussing on The Fiftieth Gate, a novel by Mark Baker, explain the difference between history and memory, and explain whether one is more valid than the other. Other support material included.

Essay by salsagalHigh School, 12th grade May 2002

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History can be viewed as a sequential series of indisputable events, whereas memory is of such events that are highly subjective, and affect the way in which they are perceived. The link between history and memory, and the way the human experiences it, is a component of past and present. We are shown this throughout the prescribed text "The Fiftieth Gate", where, through Baker's quest, we see the past continually impacting on the present, as the memories of the past affect those who have endured it. The other related material studied also shows examples of this complex relationship surrounding history and memory.

Within the prescribed text, the composer, Mark Baker, combines different types of text in one volume. This is a technique designed to reveal aspects of an event from various points of view.

The title, The Fiftieth Gate, refers to the highest knowledge of God, which is either total darkness or total enlightenment.

The book confers to this theory in that it is structured using fifty gates, with each chapter adding to the knowledge.

An important feature that is learnt from the text is the inability to find out or determine everything. We cannot know all of history; the experience is limited and personal. Another major idea within the text is the conclusion Baker comes to that "we are the sum of our experiences", as this is represented throughout.

For Baker the text is a discovery of the history of his family. He wants to be able to define what happened to them, yet while he acts as an archaeologist, uncovering the details of his parents' lives, he is also inevitably linked by birth and this blend of objectivity and subjectivity makes the text more realistic. Baker, as an historian, uses society's tools to explore his parent's...