Power of Memory
I believe that the Memory of Love has a number of underlying themes. Throughout the novel we see that change is constant. Whether is it from the political instability in the country to the love triangle between the characters change proves to be inevitable. What differentiates the characters is how they internalize and deal with change. In class we discussed the theme of memory and how things began, how things were, how things can’t be forgotten, and how things must be forgotten. What Aminatta Forna, is able to do with the concept of memory is eloquently show its positive and negative affects on the thought pattern and actions of the individual.
Elias, Page 38: “My heart was thudding drily in my chest. Thoughts traces circles in my mind. I rehearsed different moments, parts of the evening’s conversation. For whatever reason. I found myself thinking of Julius almost as much as of Saffia…. I sat down and jotted down a few details, in part because I feared I might forget them, but mainly because I needed to exorcise them from my mind.”
The word thudding shows Elias’ uneasiness brought by him dreams. His thoughts tracing circles in his mind depicts the urgency of his thoughts. The rehearsal of different moments in his head illustrates the difficulty of controlling ones thoughts and memories. As the most complicated part of the body, the brain controls memories in an ungovernable manner. It is not that Elias was willingly thinking of Julius but that Elias was not able to forget. While not being able to forget can be an issue, Aminatta shows that trying to remember can also be difficult. Thats why Elias writes things down. Because he fears the loss of memory. In addition, I find it ironic that Adrian is surprised to be thinking about Julius when he is supposed to be his friend.
Kai, Page 185: “The hollowness in his chest, the tense yearning, the loneliness he braces against every morning until he can immense himself in work and forget. Not love. Something else, something with a power that endures. Not love, but a memory of love.”
By being caught up in how things were isn’t allowing Kai to forget. Whether he is talking about his love life or the love for his country, we see that Kai is hung up on what used to be. It seems like he understand that things must be forgotten but can’t do so. Although his mind is full of thoughts, they leave him empty and wanting what he can’t have. His memories impact him so much that he must occupy himself to escape them.
Kai, Page 325: In Agnes’s case it was the unbearable aftermath, the knowledge, and nothing to be done but to endure it. For a while Kai had dreamt even more than usual. And though they were his dreams, his own experiences, to him they were in some way connected to Agnes.
Again Kai shows that his memories are unbearable. Relating to ignorance is bliss, the knowledge Kai holds through experiences leaves him entangled in his thoughts. His memory affected all aspects of his life including his dreams. Whatever he thought of brought him back to the memory of Agnes. Caught up in love, and its memory, Kai was not able to move forward.
Kai and Elias both unable to fully accept change were controlled by their memory. Mesmerized by how things were it is clear that it was difficult for them to come to the terms of forgetting.