I have just re-read Harper Lee’s, To Kill A Mockingbird.
The last time I read this book was 40 years ago. On re-reading I found my memory had retained some of the niceties of the plot, but had forgotten some key elements of the story. I remembered the characters of Scout, Jem and Atticus Finch and their relationship with Boo Radley. What I completely forgot was that Tom Robinson was shot dead, attempting to escape from prison, and that Bob Ewell had tried to kill both Jem and Scout at the very end of the tale.
This is something that interests me about the brain and memory. Why, as a 13 year old, did my brain selectively remember some of the niceties of the story, but completely erase two of the more concerning elements?
Stephen King alludes to selective memory in his book, On Writing, when he makes reference to Mary Karr’s memoir, The Liars Club, referring to Karr as a writer remembering every detail about her early years. Yet King’s recollection of his childhood “is a fogged-out landscape from which occasional memories appear like isolated trees.”
One of the aims of this course is to develop reflective skills. Re-reading this book has highlighted that an understanding, of the brain and memory, will be important in developing better reflective skills.