To K: History Journal Essay

817 words - 4 pages

History is an interesting human science because it often relies on narratives in order to piece together the past. Naturally, flaws in human memory and perception can be attributed to limitations and biases that may be presented by historical evidence. For this reason, history is often said to be written by the “winners” of wars, simply because they are the ones who survived, and they are the ones who will be telling the narratives of the past. Through natural selection, we can be considered as offspring of the genetically superior; therefore, it can be somewhat fair to say that only the history of our direct ancestors is pertinent.
However, this does not mean we should necessarily be ...view middle of the document...

From another perspective, this desire to succeed can be reflected on how the historians sequence events in order to portray the past. Likewise, our perception of how things are sequenced is reflected by the Wechsler Adult Intelligence test. In a portion of this IQ test, subjects are required to sequence various events (known as picture arrangement) in order to tell a story. Since a correct sequence warrants higher IQ points, there is a clear incentive to sequence events in a certain order. Similarly, we can see that this may influence how historians may piece together a series of historical events, because there only seems to be one (or very few) sequences that make logical or coherent sense. Thus, our history may have been manipulated by how we want to see the past, rather than viewing the past with complete objectivity.
This issue of assigning an order to past events can be seen in Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. In the epilogue (Historical Notes), several professors note that the entire story was purely constructed based on short snippets of Offred’s voice recordings. The fellow professors even question the validity and historical significance of this story. Once again, we can see that the story is arranged so that Offred makes her slow journey towards enlightenment, a common destination or conclusion for historical narratives. It is also noteworthy...

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