Memory and Remembering: Foer, Griffin, and Doyle

Subject: Literature
Pages: 8
Words: 2027
Reading time:
8 min
Study level: College

In their works, Foer, Griffin, and Doyle chose to explore rather abstract subjects such as memory and remembering that resonate quite strongly in the age of information and the written word the society experiences these days. The three authors preferred different approaches to present their arguments. While Foer’s essay is straight to the point with clearly expressed points of view, those by Griffin and Doyle take the reader on an emotional journey supported by numerous of complex metaphors before arriving at the conclusions.

Unlike Griffin and Doyle, Foer selected a formal approach to the subject and did not transform his essay in a historical narrative research or descriptive report about wildlife. However, this statement does not mean that Foer’s work is juxtaposed to the other two. Foer’s main idea about the “humankind’s collective memory” (160) relates closely to the essay of Griffin who wonders if one is “ever really free of the fate of others?” (235), and has common points with the work by Doyle that emphasizes the total disconnectedness of humans from one another in our highly connected world.

In his essay “The End of Remembering”, Foer declares that to some level, memory has evolved into a less indispensable phenomenon in people’s everyday existence. In the contemporary domain that is endemic with technological developments, life has been made tranquil through a lot of methods. The author advances his idea of the procedure of reading and remembering with the help of particular philosophers from before the present epoch.

For instance, for Socrates, reading and writing was a “cue for memory”, and the philosopher stressed the importance of passing knowledge through these means (Foer 161). As the human society evolved, and the scope of knowledge increased, people started being preoccupied with the development of particular techniques to train one’s memory. One of the most famous ‘trainers’ was Peter of Ravenna, who wrote a book on the matter (Foer 167). These instances show that humans have always valued memory as it was regarded as a tool of connectedness to each other as well as previous generations.

Clearly, contemporary people are also concerned with memories. Foer defines a number of approaches that help to advance memory, which according to him, have been effective in supporting him and others to recollect high amounts of material in the memory. Foer implies that exploiting the memory methods he defined in his work had a constructive influence on his life. In general, he was able to success in a mental athletics championship game, as well as surpass in his GCSE evaluations. He also infatuated an extraordinary capability to learn French and German.

Importantly, Foer’s points of view appear to be factual signs that the world is developing to the end of remembering. “Today; when we live amid a deluge of printed words – would you believe that ten billion volumes were printed last year?” (Foer 164). Foer highlights on the idea of remembering details about one’s life, those of others around them, and the environment as a fragment of living a rewarding life. He declares that remembering information makes a person more independent from the devices and notebooks that are already freely available.

In his work, Foer explores the philosophical meaning of knowledge and wonders whether or not it should be considered as such if it exists outside of people’s memory. Foer contemplates on the essence of the “external memories” in people’s lives and their connectedness to others as well as their own past (172). The author uses the examples from a day-to-day life of the contemporary individuals to emphasize how tightly they are connected to one another sharing the common information kept in a storage everyone can access. While Foer speaks of the collective bank of data, Griffin practices a different approach to discussing memory and people’s connectedness.

In “Our Secret”, Griffin is concerned with a private aspect of memory – secrets of persons and the state in general and how these secrets influence the society. In her work presented in a form of a narrative research with two main dimensions – the story of the speaker, and the researcher’s comments, the author tries to define the primary concentration of the essay, strategy of data collection, writing method, rhetorical strategy, and connections convoluted that the author presents.

The reader may select to approve or be injurious to her judgment, but that does not stop her from telling her point of view. Despite these reimbursements, such writing approaches may have thoughtful undesirable influences on the perception of the reader. In every part of an investigation, it is very precarious to establish the legitimacy and dependability of the discoveries. One way of doing this is to notify the readers that the author eradicated all practices of prejudices. They should be conversant that personal thoughts and moods did not affect the discoveries. However, Griffin does nothing to improve the legitimacy of her research.

Instead, the author presents her individual views and reports the outcomes in a style communal for writing a fiction story. In this example, the paper needs a stronger articulation of focus in order to help the readers, as the writer uses personal opinions to express the point. Moreover, the author implements the technique of rhetorical strategies in order to guarantee that her readers continue to be attentive while going through her research. For instance, the author inquires, “But is one ever really free of the fate of others?” (235). These tools make the reader focus on the reading and analyze every passage. It is noteworthy that the author explores the concept of connectedness through the analysis of particular historical facts.

Griffin’s associates in her research are decoratively exemplified not only in her evidence but also straight declarations that she presents. She mentions that the present and the past are entangled. Griffin stresses that when she “looked back into” her past, she found that “some old, hardly recollected feelings fit into a larger pattern of meaning” (234). More so, the more a person stares into the upcoming, the more he will discover the earlier experience in that future. According to the author, the previous experience will always remain a consecration or an obscenity to a person, and no one can escape from this fact. She establishes the relations between the state’s mysteries and enigmas detained by persons as well.

Hence, when comparing Griffin’s work with the essay of Foer, one may notice that Foer’s emphasis on the collective memory is expanded by Griffin’s statement that even though everyone has unique experiences and personal life, no one is ever free from the fate of others and everyone’s life is “bound up with the lives of those who lived and died in this time” (235). The two authors speak of memories as abstract reflections of people’s material lives, something that connects the present moment to those from the past. This statement positions memories not just as an abstract concept but as a physical impact. Contrasting with the two discussed essays, the work by Doyle reflects on memory taking a very special approach.

It is noteworthy that the first part of the essay is very materialistic and has little to do with the conceptual framework and the main idea of the essay. The first part of Doyle’s short essay, “Joyas Valadoras”, emphasizes numerous features of the heart in both animals and humans. In his research built in a form of a descriptive report, Doyle focuses on exemplifying the implication of the role of the heart in living creatures. For instance, the author notes that each “creature on earth has approximately two billion heartbeats to spend in a lifetime” (Doyle 148). The essay also includes rather specific data on dimensions and some other peculiarities of hearts of different creatures. This naturalistic description serves as an introduction, background and a strong intensifier of the main idea of the writing.

When he approaches the major idea of the essay, the author proposes vibrant illustrations by means of allegories and flowing from the corporeal aspect of the heart to its profound psychological importance. The author delivers multiple characteristic attitudes when explaining connotative and denotative dimensions of the heart as a concept. The author provides metaphors ingeniously to decipher detailed particulars that escalate the credibility of his work. This reliability ranges throughout the entire work as the commonly known facts support every postulation.

As for the stylistic and writing techniques that are implemented by the author in the research, he creates a broad usage of connectives. In detail, he guides his thoughtfulness to the practice of transformational or indistinguishable recurrences. The author adds the metaphor of the hummingbird in his work in order to present the meaning that a person might consider to be at the top of a state of affairs, but any time they can experience a collapse the same way as a hummingbird. The method adds some aesthetic understanding to the narration and emphasizes that hummingbirds fit into the group of the hindmost and magnificent birds that are susceptible to numerous intimidations.

Thus, the author stresses that these birds are in “the war against gravity and inertia, the mad search of life” and the “price of their ambition is a life closer to death” (Doyle 147). The author stresses that the beauty of the bird and the miracle of its life are among numerous secrets of the universe. The usage of simple vocabulary and commonly acceptable details retains the reader enthusiastic to read further from end to end of the narration. The final part of the essay is where the work takes its major turn and begins discussing heart not as an organ, but as the place where humans store their feelings and memories saying , “So much held in a heart in a lifetime. So much held in a heart in a day; an hour, a moment” (Doyle 148).

That way, the main aspect that makes Doyle’s work stand out from the other two essays is dissolved in the conclusion and incorporated in the idea that memory is what distinguishes the individuals from one another, connecting them and throwing them apart at the same time. It is possible to note that Doyle’s essay is a highly metaphorical summary of the concepts of memory and connectedness, which are central to the three writings in question. Importantly, the author does not explicitly speak about memory or even memories, but he draws the reader’s attention to something that is beyond memories. This is people’s past, hopes, feelings. Basically, this is what makes humans.

To sum up, the essays by Foer, Griffin, and Doyle discuss memories and remembering as an essential part of everyday life of a human being. The three authors choose different approaches to this multidimensional subject. While Foer lays out his arguments in a form of a standard essay supporting them with examples from common experiences of every modern individual, Griffin emphasizes the emotional side of the memories, and Doyle refers to their corporeal aspect. Regardless of the versatility of persuasion strategies, the three authors agree that even though memories and feelings are the notions that allow people to relate to one another on a deeper level, they also contribute to the fact how extremely lonely we all are in this globally connected world.

Importantly, the authors encourage the reader to contemplate on their own memories and connectedness to their close ones, people around them as well as the past. It becomes clear that memories are an integral part of the human life, and although they are often associated with the past, they often define the person’s present and future. The three essays show various ways this transition happens. Thus, readers may or may not agree with the authors’ conclusions and statements, but they will think of the way their memories affect their lives. They will see the ties between different dimensions of the being. In this way, the major goal of the three authors is achieved as the essays are aimed at making people stop and think as well as find the answer to an important question. What we are and where are we heading?

Works Cited

Doyle, Brian. “Joyas Voladoras.” Ways of Reading: An Anthology for Writers. Ed. David Barthlomae, Anthony Petrosky, and Stacey Waite. New York, New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s. 2014. 147-149. Print.

Foer, Joshua. “The End of Remembering.” Ways of Reading: An Anthology for Writers. Ed. David Barthlomae, Anthony Petrosky, and Stacey Waite. New York, New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s. 2014. 160-175. Print.

Griffin, Susan. “Our Secret.” Ways of Reading: An Anthology for Writers. Ed. David.

Barthlomae, Anthony Petrosky, and Stacey Waite. New York, New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s. 2014. 233-263. Print.