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Q: Toni Morrison's concept of 're-memoring' ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Toni Morrison's concept of 're-memoring'
Category: Arts and Entertainment
Asked by: marah-ga
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Posted: 16 Nov 2003 19:47 PST
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Question ID: 276614
What is Toni Morrison's concept of 're-memoring'?
Subject: Re: Toni Morrison's concept of 're-memoring'
Answered By: juggler-ga on 16 Nov 2003 20:58 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

In Toni Morrison's novel Beloved, the character Sethe's "re-memoring"
involves "remembering memories."

Here are a number of excerpts and links to essays where Toni
Morrison's concept of "rememory" is explained:

"Morrison uses the word rememory to mean the act of remembering a
memory. This rememory is when a memory is revisited, whether
physically or mentally. Yet the word is not a verb but a noun. It is
an actual thing, person or a place that takes on the existence of a
noun. When Sethe explains rememory to Denver, she states, ?If a house
burns down, it?s gone, but the place-the picture of it-stays, and not
just in my rememory, but out there, in the world. What I remember is a
picture floating around there outside my head. I mean, even if I don?t
think about it, even if I die, the picture of what I did, or knew, or
saw is still out there."

'"Rememory" enables Sethe, the novel?s protagonist, to reconstruct her
past realities. The vividness that Sethe brings to every moment
through recurring images characterizes her understanding of herself.
Through rememory, Morrison is able to carry Sethe on a journey from
being a woman who identifies herself only with motherhood, to a woman
who begins to identify herself as a human being."
"Rememory: A Journey Within The Soul?Allison Begin" in "Featured
Student Work," cached by Google:

"Re-memories, then, are places, or better, pictures of certain places
triggering off re-presentations, vivid descriptions or accounts.
Morphologically, the word rememory is formed by prefixation, where i)
re- occurs originally in loan words from Latin (memory), used with the
meaning again or again and again to indicate repetition, or with the
meaning back or backward to indicate withdrawal or backward motion
(Webster 1989); and ii) memory, the lexical base, the mental capacity
or faculty of retaining and re-viving impressions, or of recalling or
recognizing previous experiences (Webster)."

 'Against this hope stands her experience of the past as a locale that
continues to structure identity, which "comes back whether we want it
to or not" (14), in the form of "rememory." "Rememory" differs from
"memory" in its active force independent of the rememberer. Sethe
 "what I remember is a picture floating around out there outside my
head ... even if I don't think it, even if I die, the picture of what
I did, or knew, or saw is still out there. Right in the place where it
happened. (36)" '
Models of Memory and Romance: The Dual Endings of Toni Morrison's Beloved.
Twentieth Century Literature, Winter, 1999, by Mary Paniccia Carden,
hosted by

'Morrison calls "rememory": the continued presence of that which has
disappeared or been forgotten, as when Sethe "remember[s] something
she had forgotten she knew" (Beloved 61).'
A New Hystery: History and Hysteria in Toni Morrison's Beloved.(Critical Essay)
Twentieth Century Literature, Spring, 2001, by Emma Parker, hosted by

 'In Beloved, these digressions and regressions take the form of
"re-memory". The concept of re-memory is central in the author?s
telling of Sethe's story. Sethe explains what a re-memory is to her
remaining daughter Denver in the following passage:
 " . . . Some things go. Pass on. Some things just stay. I used to
think it was my re-memory. You know. Some things you forget. Other
things you never do. But it's not. Places, places are still there. If
a house burns down, it's gone, but the picture of it-stays, and not
just in my re-memory, but out there, in the world. What I remember is
a picture floating around outside my head. I mean, even if I don't
think it, even if I die, the picture of what I did, or knew, or saw is
still out there. Right in the place where it happened."
  A re-memory differs from a memory because it can be shared. The
collective nature of slavery created re-memories, known to more than
one person. Even those who never shared in the experience can know its
terror. Sethe's re-memories about slavery are excruciatingly painful
for her to talk about. She does not want her daughter to know the
horror of slavery, and yet Sethe herself will never forget that
horror. That is the paradox for Sethe: how to overcome the trauma of
slavery while the memory of it still lives.'


search strategy:
"toni morrison", memory, beloved
"toni morrison", rememory
"toni morrison", rememories, beloved

I hope this helps.
marah-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thorough, comprehensive. Makes use of severalk references. I am going
to use this service again: it was well worth the expenditure!

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