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A prolonged, searching look down memory lane, in the form of a family photo album, could bring back feelings of utopia as well as pain. There have been deaths in the family, at least one significant death that has disturbed each one of us. And, yet, there is an exhilaration that is experienced as we look back upon moments of joy. “Remembrance” by Annette Kuhn brings to mind a very important feature of memories: they could be true and false at the same time.
I thought that so-and-so was happy on a particular occasion, only to realize five years down the lane that the person was terribly sad at the time and only hiding his or her shame behind a smile in a photo. Hence, Kuhn writes that photos can be deceptive. In her words, they might not “mirror the real. ” What is the real? – ‘All that glitters ain’t gold. ’ In other words, we cannot hide our real feelings behind a smile, or other facial expressions all of the time.
Even so, the power of photographs to stir emotions is real.
Photos could bring back memories of embarrassment, and family snaps could also very easily take us back to the thought of Mother. “Remembrance” is especially clear on this matter; although when I began to read Patricia Holland’s article, “History, Memory and the Family Album,” all I could think of was Mother. Why does family especially remind us of our respective mothers? What is more, reminders about family and Mother are sometimes filled with guilt.
We all may have done something embarrassing that we might regret. After all, we love family.
Hence, the concept of forgiveness is brought back to mind. Indeed, family albums have the power to remake families. Sad reminders about the past are useful in bringing up feelings of shame and guilt, which may eventually lead to the seeking of forgiveness and reconciliation. Therefore, both articles serve a very important purpose: reconciliation with personal family history, and also among family members, but only if all necessary conditions have been met, i. e. the consent of all parties to reconcile. The articles serve as the first necessary step to reconciliation nevertheless.
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