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Memory is a journey of infinite possibility, a continuous passage through time and sense that offers each person an opportunity not merely to recall and to reflect on former occasions and previous experiences, but to reconsider and to reexamine the past as a guide, as instruction, for healthy individuation. Memory, then, can be understood to be the aggregate of experiential and emotional recollection that frames the essential ground in forming and realizing individual identity. Both Alexander Pope in his poem “Eloisa to Abelard” and Michel Gondry/Charlie Kaufman in the film “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” offer portraits of individuals who, in asserting the critical function of their memories and of the very act of their remembering, including the emotional responses such memories evoke, actually particularize and affirm their unique selves and their quintessential humanness; as offered by the characters of Eloisa and Joel, memory is the collective experiences of an individual as understood by the individual, which understanding comes to shape a unique conception of the self.


Published: Greeley, June-Ann. “Dreadful Sorry: Spots of Passion and the Memory of Being Human in Kaufman’s “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and Pope’s ‘Eloisa to Abelard’.” Journal of South Texas English Studies (2010).