Memory In Anton Mulisch's The Assault

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History has always had an impact on the outcome of future events; past events—defined and redefined by the traumatized mind—stand as an experience in their own right. In The Assault, Anton experiences the resurrection of traumatic memories from his past until the point he can completely cope them. The tumultuousness of this process allows Anton to confront his memories in stages—consequentially altering his approach to memory. Although Anton is resistant to his childhood memories, he accepts them more so throughout the remainder of his life, achieving an ambiguous state of closure by the novel’s end. Anton’s approach to memory doesn’t change in the sense that he remains passive until the end of the novel; conversely, his attempts to keep his past buried are foiled by coincidence; and the natural course of time alters his perception of memory. “All the rest is a postscript—” defines the remainder of Anton’s life and resonates in such a powerful way because he never turns over a new leaf—as one can never walk away from their memories forever—in the sense that he continues to remain a passivist until the novel’s end (Mulisch, 55). Anton does not seem comfortable with his new life in Amsterdam in the beginning of episode two. He chooses not to join the other youth around him because lacks any connection with them: “his entire universe had become that other one which…show more content…
Mulisch’s use of repetition and coincidence leads the reader to see the challenge Anton faces in confronting his past completely. Although coincidence permeates most of the novel and is able to stand as a topic in itself, it is the main trigger in Anton confronting his past on multiple occasions; an example of this is Anton’s confrontation with Fake in his living room at the end of the third episode, which captures the result of coincidence foiling Anton’s resistance to his

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