Monday, January 24, 2011

Admittance Of Age-Induced Senility

O'Brien indirectly admits to succumbing to senility via his paragraph on page 36. He asserts that the stories up which he conjures are substitutes for his paucity of memories. He claims that his stories are occasioned by his memories, and that his stories have a longer shelf life than his memories. Imagine one's memory as an original Rembrandt piece. Imagine the stories which are fostered to fill in the missing pieces are Xerox versions of said piece. The original piece (initial memory) is always going to be worth more. The copies (stories) will always be worth less. If he eventually loses his memories, his stories about the events would be as valuable as mine or Martin Scorsese's. Lauding stories as some type of memory substitute would be dishonest. Using them as an aid would be walking a fine line between fiction and non-fiction, one which would endanger the veracity of one's original memories. It could be done, but one would have to take great care.


  1. I don't think that O'Brien was saying that at all. I think the point was that even though the war happened when he was a young man and he's now 43, remembering it and writing it down keeps it alive, as if it were still happening. He says remembering leads to stories, and stories make the remembered event last forever. In my opinion, he was trying to say that's why stories exist--to keep the past alive so we can always remember it and learn from it and relive it.

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  3. It boils down to semantics. "Stories", to me, are purely fictional tales for entertainment or spiced-up versions of truth with the intent of capturing an audience. "Stories" are irrelevant if one has memories. The memories are the facts. Sure, you could use "stories" to spice it up, but purporting it as the truth would be dishonest.