Seamus Heaney's Use Of Memory And Memory

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Contents 1. Introduction 2. Present - describes the ageing condition: an intensification of evaluative processes, the need for self-definition in contemporary postmodern society, temporal constraints and bodily decline hinders construction of meaning, the possibility of generating fresh meaning in retrospection 3. Past a) Blank spaces - remembering and forgetting, culpability in events/mistakes that come to light b) Spots of Time - see below J c) Nostalgia - yearning to return to earlier days, yearning for a former state of being, but the suffering that results from being unable to return 4. Future - unburdening of the past as a way to overcome buried guilt, mourning the loss of the past properly by conferring it symbolic status,…show more content…
Far from being stale and tepid artefacts of the past, memories have a crucial pertinence to the present. Like the firebox in the poem, the aged person’s trove of memories is considerably ‘weighty’, both in the sense that it contains a lifetime’s worth of recollections as well as in the substantial influence it holds for the ageing individual. Memory is essential to the construction of one’s sense of identity, a proposition undergirding St Augustine’s Confessions and echoed by writers and philosophers alike.1 The English philosopher John Locke asserts that ‘it is plain consciousness, as far as ever it can be extended, should it be to ages past, which unites existences and actions, very remote in time, into the same person’.2 In old age, memory not only retains this function, but acquires even greater importance. The literature we explore in this paper…show more content…
Being contingent on so many various socio-economic, demographical and cultural factors, any attempt to characterize or chart an average experience may be justifiably accused of being an over-generalization. For example, while the rich retiree may thoroughly enjoy his leisure, the financially poorer aged adult might be fraught with anxiety over finding ways to further his employment. Ageing women and men also struggle with markedly different biological changes. To gloss over these differences would do injustice to the vast spectrum and intricate particularities of the ageing experience. In this paper, I focus on literature of ageing from the first-person perspective of male figures. Gender-specific issues, however, are not a key consideration in the discussion. Rather, what is of greater importance is the direct access first-person accounts grant us to the inner consciousness and psychological workings of the central characters and

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