History & Memory

Analyse the ways in which history and memory create compelling and unexpected insights.

History is the continuum of events occurring in succession leading from the past to the present and even into the future. Memory is the cognitive processes whereby past experience is remembered. It is the offering of a truth, undocumented by history for purposes of an emotive response. It is these continuums that influences the memory we have of past events, and sculpts are accounts of what has and what will happen. History creates tradition, and this tradition somewhat determines what happens in the future. Stephen Frears’ “The Queen” demonstrates several aspects of tradition, which in turn generate unexpected actions and reactions. Elie Wiesel’s “Listen to the Silent Screams” speech displays the emotional distress of Jewish people during the war. The frightening actions of the Nazi Army during World War II created distressing memories for holocaust survivors. Similarly, the stories and accounts of ANZACs during battle either terrified young Australians or motivated them to enlist. John Schumann’s “I Was Only Nineteen” portrays the emotional struggles ANZACs faced when unexpected situations arose during battle.

Stephen Frears’ film “The Queen” is set during the week after Princess Diana’s death in 1997. Caught between relentless media attacks and the outcry of the British public, Frears gives an insight as to what life for the Royal Family was like, as well as the affects Diana’s death had on the relationship the British people have with The Queen. The British people demonstrated several emotions and unpredictable actions in response to a sequence of events that no one could have expected. The Queen’s reputation was put at stake, with “one in four…in favour of abolishing the monarchy altogether.”

The Monarchs disapproval of Diana is evident through the use of subtle humor. Frears aims to present the Queen in a more comfortable manner through his use of humor, although...