“We cannot understand the themes of a novel without a full grasp of the issues within its setting in a particular time and place.
” Too what extent do you agree with this view? Respond to this question with close reference to one or more novels you have studied. In the extended written text ‘The Memory Keeper’s Daughter’ by Kim Edwards, we are presented with themes that contain issues which are related to the setting in a particular time and place.
All elements of the extended written text work together to support the writer’s purpose in an integrated way; Setting, characters, relationships and style to full extent, support my agreement that as a reader living in the 21st century, we cannot understand the important themes of family relationships and society’s attitudes without a full grasp of the issues that unfold and develop in the plot that takes place in 1964 in Lexington, Kentucky, America. The novel ‘The Memory Keeper’s Daughter’ is set in the particular time of 1964 and unravels over 25 years.
This related to the plot and the themes because in 1964, society and medical professionals thought it would be best for the mentally challenged not to be integrated into society, but instead be shipped off to an institution. In the 1960’s, society’s reactions to people with either mental or physical disabilities were discriminatory and unjust. The setting of Lexington in Kentucky has no real important relevance to the story, but the year the story begins is significant because of this issue.
The decision for the main character, David, to send his daughter away was not only influenced by his medical training, but confirmed by David’s childhood, growing up with a sibling that had many medical issues. This event of giving away his daughter is relevant to the theme of the novel; family.
David was trying to protect his wife Norah from the same pain his sister, June had caused his mother. “Still he remembered the depth of his mother’s grief, the way she walked uphill to the grave every morning, her arms folded against whatever weather she encountered. In 1964, People’s attitudes towards disabilities were very ‘narrow-minded’ and un-accepting, “delayed growth and metal development, possible heart complications and an early death”, yet Caroline refuses to conform to society’s perceptions as she fights for Phoebe to attend public school in Pittsburgh as she also takes a stand for people facing health issues and woman’s rights. This was actually a common issue faced by many women in a similar situation of Caroline’s sort.
The issues Kim Edward explores were and are still relevant to the issues and implications of secrets society is faced with today. This encourages me to agree to most extent that we cannot understand the themes of a novel fully without a full grasp of the many complicated situations interwoven within the setting in the particular time and place. Relationships is an important theme that helps the reader understand the novel as the issues lead on by the actions of David are explored in surrounding settings in the time era of the 1960’s. The two decisions are at the core of Kim Edwards’ debut novel.
The decision of giving way his daughter with Down’s syndrome because he believed she was doomed and her future offers nothing but grief brings up complicated internal issues throughout the text which always related back to this core theme of societies miss-perception because of the setting and time the story takes place. In the novel, various relationships are revelled and developed in a spiralling structure that moves the reader closer the core and interior of each character. From the moment of his twins’ birth and moving forward, Doctor Henry feels as if all his success is now superficial.
His relationships with the people most important in his life are at the core of his lie are doomed, leading to his once perfect marriage to fall apart and his much loved son to grow up foreign to him. Because it was 1964 and Norah was dependant on her husband she had to let her grief go. “The space of a breath opened and deepened. ” The dark metaphorical language technique used in this quote communicates a painful message about her husband’s secret actions to take away their daughter cost her him too. Within the main theme of family, we see a link between the suffering joy relationships can lead too.
Caroline is the character in the novel that has the most difficult job in the novel of raising a child with Down’s syndrome and she seems to be the happiest character at the end of the novel. “You missed a lot of heart ache, sure. But David, you missed a lot of joy. ” The use of heartfelt language shapes the reader’s perspective of Caroline making us view her as a loving caring mother. This confirms that the relationships developed in the novel are too complicated to grasp a full understanding without knowledge about the setting and time it took place.
The novel has two main settings; Lexington, Kentucky and Pittsburgh which provide an important insight to the themes in the novel and the issues presented. The first chapter of the text takes place in Lexington, where David’s wife goes into labour but the surgeon gets in a snow storm. “It was the sort of storm that rarely happened in Lexington… ” Because of this snow storm, David an orthopaedic doctor was put in the complicated situation of delivering his own baby. Perhaps this freak storm was the determining factor to the decision David made.
If this coincidence had not occurred, the outcome of the novel may have been completely different. This reference is just one of many examples that support that we cannot understand the themes of novel without a full grasp of the issues within its setting in a particular time and place. The second setting where the novel takes place is Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh is where Caroline escapes. “She had very little, as it turned out, just a few suitcases that would fit easily in the trunk and the backseat of the Fair lane.
Really, she could have left for china or Burma or Korea at a moment’s notice. This pleased her” The use of enthusiastic language hints to the reader that Caroline has a world full of possibilities, that we misjudged Caroline when she was first introduced as a quiet anxious woman secretly in love with Doctor David. We subconsciously categorised her character when in actual fact we are only later enlightened about her dreams of travelling to exotic places which is now an actual possibility for her which is why the thought of moving at a moment’s notice pleased her.
Pittsburgh is her final; destination as David Henry vowed he would never return there as it brought up painful childhood issues. To support my study I read other critical articles to clarify my ideas about the setting. Pittsburgh is a place of extremes with all the industries yet also nice neighbours, which thought to be a mirror image of Caroline’s life. Kim Edwards used this setting in a particular way to give the reader slight insight. The industrial part is a metaphor for her fighting for Phoebe contrasted with the tidy neighbourhood reflecting her happy, content life with Phoebe and Al.
This place is significant to the understanding of the theme in the novel yet it cannot fully grasp the complicated issues within the setting in a particular time, in this particular place. Kim Edwards, the author of the extended written text ‘The Memory Keeper’s Daughter’, presents many themes throughout the novel that leads to many issues the main characters are faced with. The themes include the burden of secrets, the loneliness of a disintegrating marriage and family, the heart aces and rewards of raising children and most importantly the need for developmentally disabled children to have a sense of acceptance in their society.
The most relevant theme was revealing the strength of family bonds even under the most unique and difficult circumstances, especially for the time the novel was set in. Therefore, I agree to full extent that we cannot understand the theme of relationships and society’s attitudes in the novel ‘The Memory Keeper’s Daughter’ without a full grasp of the issues within the setting of the particular time of 1964 in the place of Lexington, Kentucky, America. Achievement with Merit
* Develop a convincing critical response to specified aspect(s) of written text(s) using supporting evidence. Make sure you: * Reach Achievement respond to all parts of the question equally and develop a direct and full discussion or argument around the text(s) and the question * thoroughly examine the text(s) by close reading significant parts so you can make valid conclusions about writer’s purpose and craft * show how the writer’s style relates to purpose and audience as well as the qualities and characteristics of the genre * support your study by reading other critical academic articles about your text(s) to help clarify ideas * distinguish and/or evaluate how certain effects, ideas, and elements are presented and why they were presented in that particular way * integrate evidence and quotation to show an appreciation of the wider text(s) * examine how language has been used to shape the reader’s point of view * make relevant and mature conclusions based on personal response and understanding to show how issues raised by the text(s) are relevant to you and make value judgments * think across and beyond the text(s) and reflect on society, the implications for characters and/or show an appreciation of craft * use mature expression of ideas and thought throughout your essay.
Achievement with Excellence * Develop an integrated and perceptive critical response to specified aspect(s) of written text(s) using supporting evidence. Make sure you: * reach Achievement with Merit know how to read and deconstruct a question and produce answers that demonstrate a deep and full understanding of the text * select material to develop a critical argument explaining how all elements of the text(s) (plot, setting, character, and style) work together to support the writer’s purpose in an integrated way * consistently evaluate the effectiveness of how language techniques have been used to communicate a message * choose a main theme or character that can be fully discussed and linked to other themes in the text to further your argument * show accurate, frequent, and confident use of terminology when explaining your ideas connected to the writer’s purpose * use insightful analysis to make mature and valid observations and respond personally by evaluating the implications of the text in the wider world * make conclusions and judgments throughout the essay about the author’s purpose and use of language to give a balanced and insightful response * write over 500 words in a succinct discussion or argument using accurate and sophisticated language.
Cite this The Memory Keeper’s Daughter
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter. (2016, Oct 16). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/the-memory-keepers-daughter/