we take pictures with people so they could remember us and leave memories behind so they donít forget us.† And the difference between the two are the same.† We leave these moments in the air, hoping that somewhere, someone will find them and make sense of everything we chose to ignore.
People have an annoying habit of remembering things they shouldn't
Needless to say reembering is never easy nor is the moral growth that is closely tied with it an irreversible process. For fallibility, or at least the danger of forgetting what is essential, is always a historical possibility. What we need to recognize is that such forgetting would not simply be a personal failure but rather a loss of community, of necessary social meaning.
[Morrison] indicates in several ways why historical memory might be available to human subjects only if we expend our notion of personal experience to refer both to ways of feeling and of knowing, and to include not just individual selves but also collectives.
a kind of braiding of consciousness is achieved, a weaving together of emotional perspectives, through which not only is a memory relived but a new meaning created as well.
While the black patronymic is erased, the child inherits its mother's statusless condition. That inheritance paradoxically marks social affiliation and identity: historical continuity that originates in a place before othering. Although slave children are not the material possessions of their mother they are, as Morrison suggests, possessed by her in the intensity of a relationship which resonates in memory.
The compromises sought by fears of psychic fragmentation are achieved through representational systems that order difference at specific historical moments on behalf of hegemonic interests. Through mutually constitutive discourses of sexuality, race, class, and gender, some subjects are marked collectively as phobic objects.
If Beloved speaks to the inadequacies of memory in its efforts to retrieve a personal and collective past, she speaks even more powerfully, through her mediations, to the risks and dangers of forgetting. To repress memory, "to keep the past at bay," is to divert it into the dark silences and crippling diversions of hysteria.
[Beloved] is the representative of the "sixty million and more" victims of slavery: of a collective tragedy which, as history, must be remembered and redeemed. Beloved's story is a story of personal and collective loss: the deprivation of home, abandonment by an enslaved mother, the erasure of a disinherited father, the alienation of her body in rape and of her mind in the shattering of the mirror of identity.
By centering in her narrative a black woman who is, not incidentally, a mother Morrison documents the tragic human cost of being "other" and takes us into the dim regions of desubjectfication and undifferentiation