Here’s one of the texts I’ve produced during an online seminar on Cultural Studies and Modern Languages. This seminar is currently being delivered by the University of Bristol and will finish at the end of next week.
In the next few weeks I’ll be posting the essays I deem more relevant; these will also be a good training for the Cambridge CPE (Certificate of Proficiency in English), for which I’ve been preparing over the past few months.
There you go…
- What gives a memorial its impact (emotional, visual, aesthetic)? What kind of impact should a memorial have for it to be ‘effective’? Is this measurable? What purpose is it meant to serve, and what purpose does it serve?
- If you have been to one of the memorials in Germany, or to a memorial in your own country, what effect did it have on you? How was this effect achieved, do you think?
- Why do people consider memorials to be necessary? Do you think that Robert Musil who, as you saw in the video, said, ‘the remarkable thing about monuments is that one does not notice them; there is nothing in the world so invisible as a monument’ might be persuaded to change his mind if he saw the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and the Stumbling Stones? Or would these monuments prove his point?
Answer: “A few years ago I worked for a company whose office was very close to the Atocha Railway Station in Madrid. Just outside the station there’s a memorial for those people who perished on the terrorist attacks of March 11th, 2004.
I was born and raised some 500-600 kilometres away from Madrid, in the north-western corner of the country, and I saw all the reports on the attacks on TV. I was not personally connected to the tragedy, so I was a bit detached from it all and somehow saw it just like I see other incidents all over the world. Like a movie.
Well, the first time I left Atocha Station to go to work I stumbled upon the memorial monument, a crystal cylinder bearing the names of the victims. At that time it downed on me that it was real, that it had actually happened. To this day I cannot describe how sad and distressed I felt when I saw the memorial.
Despite the distress I felt, I strongly believe that memorials like the one I mentioned are necessary to help us remember those chapters of our history that, although very sad, have shaped our national identity.”