History For Both Watermelon Woman and Kindred Until now weve been reading the

History for both watermelon woman and kindred until

This preview shows page 39 - 45 out of 68 pages.

HistoryFor Both Watermelon Womanand KindredUntil now, we’ve been reading the literature of race in terms of its contemporaneous legal and anthropological contexts. In these last two weeks, however, we’ve shifted the ground to questions of history, memory, and forgetting. What is the relationship of the present moment to the past? What is the legacy of race and slavery in the United States? Is it possible to live outside or beyond the past? And what does it mean to find oneself “outside” of history—that is, outside of the dominant modes of representation of history? :
Image of page 39
History v. Historicity It’s one thing to say that history is the domain of the facts of the past. But what facts, since there are so many? And what can one say about these facts in terms of their significance, their relationship to cause and effect?
Image of page 40
History v. Historicity
Image of page 41
Context: Time Travel
Image of page 42
Context: Time Travel Stories H.G. Wells. Time Machine (1895) Can history be altered? Wells leaves this question tantalizingly unanswered. Ray Bradbury. “A Sound of Thunder” (1952) The killing of one single butterfly, in the prehistoric past, changes everything in the present. Alfred Bester. “The Men Who Murdered Mohammed” (1958) No matter how many times a angry husband goes back in time to erase his wife from history, he fails. He starts by killing his wife’s grandfather; then the grandmother; then George Washington, Christopher Columbus, Napoleon, and, finally, Mohammed. No luck. Each person dwells in their own time continuum, and they can only travel up and down their own. The carnage afflicted on the past unhinges the main character only from his own continuum, so he now dwells as an insubstantial ghost or voyeur through time.
Image of page 43
Image of page 44
Image of page 45

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture