Gate 42 Analysis
Throughout gate 42, Mark Baker combines both assumed history and a plethora of evocative language techniques to recreate the death of his grandmother, Hinda. From such a technique, one can infer that when history and memory combine, the interplay allows a heightened understanding and perceptive insight into events of the past; specifically the Holocaust.
Such a theory becomes evident within the opening of Gate 42, as Baker uses the repetitive symbol of a Jewish poem to draw the reader within the text, allowing an emotional engagement to the horrors of the Holocaust. Acting as a metaphor for the human condition, the humbling lover case ‘i’ gives a profound insight into the attitudes of the Jews, forced to believe they
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Instead of confirming the facts or rather, and assumed knowledge of a reader in the 21st century, Baker chooses to add a spiritual aspect to his grandmother’s death. The emotive imagery, “a cloudy ethereal haze” and “before God’s throne” amplifies this point, as instead of remembering the death of the Jews as simply a historical event, Baker encourages the readers to consider the individual lives of the Jews and the suffering and courage of their final seconds. I believe that the snippet of dialogue “God will breathe for you my darling” is a profound and moving statement, as it depicts that whether or not it was actually historically correct, Baker is choosing to remember his Grandmothers death as being part of a spiritual ritual, rather than a ‘historical incident’. Although we understand that this interpretation is most likely far from truthful, we accept this portrayal simply due to the fact that ‘sifting for the truth’ is not always the sole purpose for the representation of an event. Representation can also become a tool to dignify or pay respect to the dead, or in Mark Bakers case, to provide a memory that offers a sense of closure for himself and others.
Throughout gate 42, it becomes evident hat Baker utilizes both History and Memory to allow a heightened understanding of the past. Although both elements must be considered