I chose to argue that memory is the focal point of control by using Understand by Ted Chaing and Agrippa: A Book of the Dead by William Gibson. While this control can cause certain effects on readers and how a text or character within a text is perceived, it is ultimately overcome by memory. Memory is the focal point of control, and it is even responsible for the breaking the hold that control can create. While these two works of literature are very different from one another, they are both able to successfully prove this argument.
As the main character within Chiang’s work, Leon, experiences life after injecting himself with a powerful hormone, he perception of reality changes. Leon develops throughout the story, and he is engulfed with an infatuation of control. As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that Chiang is making a clear connection between control and memory through Leon’s peak and intense demise. Leon reaches the peak of control through the medicine he is being injected with, and then he quickly faces his tremendous demise because of the power of memory. Leon’s treatments of the hormone K therapy begin because of a traumatic accident he experiences prior to the start of the story. Chiang’s work proves that memory is a specific aspect of control as Leon’s life is ended by his memory of his past perceptions and understanding of the world.
Agrippa also makes this connection as it controls its readers through its aesthetics and content. As readers approach this text, it quickly reveals itself to be atypical. The way the reader is able to read and comprehend the information it is presented is completely controlled and not interactive. The reader is trapped and is only able to see the poem through a single, limited lens. Therefore, the reader’s memory and perception of the poem is controlled by this specific video delivery. Memory of the poem will always be directly correlated with how it is shown to the world: in a very limited and secured environment of a black and white, outdated, and not interactive computer screen. In addition, the poem itself presents a relationship between memory and control. As the narrator explains each picture as he/she is creating a scrapbook, the reader is given one lens in which to view these scenes: through the memory of the narrator. The reader is controlled in its view of the past, and the narrator holds that power. The poem is about material objects and how they slowly are destroyed throughout time, affecting how the world is perceived and remembered.
I chose to create this project through the forms of a paper and a Prezi. With my paper, I was able to articulate what I needed to convey about my argument of memory and control, and i was able to analyze certain aspects of the texts through my writing. This mode of communication was necessary to my argument because I had to be able to point our specific wording of both texts in order to be as clear as possible. In addition, I created a Prezi to further some of the ideas in my paper. The 6 context sections of the Prezi highlight certain quotes I used in my paper. Each has a correlating picture that is able to expound upon the significance of each quote. This was a crucial aspect of my argument because both texts are centered around the idea of physical perception in relation to control and memory.