Comparing Mccarthy's Remainder 'And Mccarthy'

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In the simplest of terms, people are products of their past. A significant part of personal identity is established through the outcomes of and reflections on particular past memories. Human beings access their pasts and the emotions associated with the past through enduring memories. Memory gives us control over our past and a semblance of control over our present. For Jean-Bapitste Clamence in Albert Camus’ The Fall and the narrator of Tom McCarthy’s Remainder, their problems with memory, especially traumatic memory, lie in the lapse in control that each of them experienced during their traumatic event. Although the protagonists are affected by vastly different traumatic memories, both Camus and McCarthy create characters that have serious…show more content…
For the narrator, he begins to gain a sense of reality by reestablishing the connection between emotion and memory as he reenacts his memories: “I wanted to reconstruct that space and enter it so I could feel real again. I wanted to; I had to; I would. Nothing else mattered” (McCarthy 67). The connection between physical happenings and the emotions associated with that moment allows the narrator to feel real and alive. McCarthy emphasizes the importance of recollection as the narrator regains a sense of control over his own reality. His disconnection from his memories makes the narrator feel out of control of his own life and his past. By reconstructing the memories, he is making the memories part of his present. By solidifying his ability to remember, the narrator creates a world that is comfortable and controllable. For Clamence, actively remembering serves as a way for him to come to terms with his newly accepted…show more content…
By reenacting his memories, the narrator gains a fleeting sense of authenticity: “Remembering it sent a tingling from the top of my legs to my shoulders and right up into my neck. It lasted for just a moment– but while it did I felt not-neutral. I felt different, intense: both intense and serene at the same time” (McCarthy 9). The “tingling” effect brings the narrator back into the world of emotionally connected memories. It brings him from a state of detachment to a feeling of awareness and reality. He feels “not-neutral,” and thus, becoming an active participant in his life and his memories. For the narrator, forgetfulness would create an existence without the feeling of living. By reconstructing his memories, the narrator is simultaneously controlling his present life. He recreates aspects of his life that he is comfortable with. Due to the reenactments, his life is filled with emotions that are both controlled yet pleasurable which is how he feels “both intense and serene at the time”. For Clamence, he gains something less concrete in his attempt to overcome forgetfulness. The protagonist gains a heightened sense of self-awareness as he lives his life in constant reflection of the moment on the bridge as well as the subsequent events. By reflecting on his traumatic memories, Clamence gains a more decisive definition of his

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