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The Link Between Time, Memory and History in The Story "Let's Go to Golgotha"

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The following essay will be based on the short story ‘Let’s go to Golgotha’ by Gary Kilworth (1979). The story is about a family from the future that travels back in time to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Before the family went on a trip, they first had to study the bible to understand the history of Jesus and learn what to do and what not to do. Then they went to the past, shifting from the future to the past (different time zone). After seeing the past they attain the understating of how Jesus was crucified and kept it in their memories. I will interlink the concepts of time, memory, and history in the story.

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History is something that happened a long time ago but is still important now. Something that has been done or experienced by a particular person or thing. History can also be a series of past events as relating to a particular country, period or people. In the story, ‘ Let’s go to Golgotha’, events from the past from different countries are mentioned. First, they mention Rome, the Pompeii eruption. The eruption of Mountain Vesuvius destroyed and buried the whole city of Pompeii. The eruption killed two thousand people. The eruption took place in the year 79 AD. The second event mentioned is the Sparta military education. Sparta was a warrior community, their culture was based on trust and military service. Young boys were trained to be soldiers. They trained under very harmful conditions, for example, they were not allowed to wear shoes. The third event was the crusades. The crusades were wars between different religions. In the story, the family which is from the future takes a tour through time to Golgotha to see the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, of which itself is a historical event. The crucifixion was one of the most painful forms of punishment used on victims of crimes or traitors. Their feet and hands were nailed to a cross. In the Holy Bible (which is a historical text of Christian scriptures) Jesus Christ was crucified.

The Jewish were asked to choose between Jesus and Barabbas (who was a criminal), and they chose to save Barabbas. Jesus was crucified in the city of Golgotha. The past cannot be changed or disrupted. The time travellers were told to dress like the natives so that they do not look different. “Simon glanced at Mandy. Her new brown eyes flashed back at him and she looked beautiful in a Gypsyish sort of way”, this shows that even some of their body features were changed so they could fit in. “Glad you came. Whispered Mandy in Hebrew”, this also shows that they were also taught how to speak Hebrew so that they will be able to communicate with natives. When the crowd shouted that Barabbas should be saved (and Jesus crucified) they also had to shout the same, as difficult as it was since they were Christians, they could not change the past. Even when they nail up the sign ‘Jesus Christ of Nazareth, King of the Jews’ they also had to laugh with the crowd. The present is influenced by the past, and the future also. For example, we would not have Passover or celebrate the resurrection of Christ if he was not crucified. Even the events that took place in Rome and Sparta form an important history of these places which is celebrated each year. Changing or disrupting the past would mean changing the present and which will, therefore, mean changing the future.

Time is the continued advancement of existence and events in the past, present and future regarded as a whole. Time can also be a plan, schedule or arrangement of when something should happen or be done. Time can be measured in minutes, days, years etc. There is a time that is felt and time that can be measured by science. In the story, the family and other time travellers make an arrangement to travel back in time. The future is different from the past. The world is evolving. Evolution is the way in which living organisms change and develop over the years. Evolution is mainly caused by climate change. Climate change is the change in global or regional climate patterns. Living organisms have to evolve to adapt to the changing climate patterns. Going back to the past will, therefore, be difficult because the body is not used to those climate conditions. In the story, Mary and Simon complain about the heat. It must be that they come from a future of cooler climate conditions. They seek shade because their bodies are not adapted to the heat of the past.

The climate change is caused by human activities. Nowadays machines do almost everything for us. These machines use gas which produces carbon dioxide. Increased levels of carbon dioxide are the main cause of climate change. In the story, there is a treatment room of which there are machines used to prepare the time travellers for the journey. In the story, they also complain about walking on uneven ground and sharp stories. In the past, there were very few houses. The place was full of mountainous terrains. Due to the very hot and dry weather conditions, there were more rocks than soil. In the future, there is barely even any mountains. The Land is filled is covered by concrete, houses, and roads. It is shown in the text that times have really changed, the past is so different from the present, and the future also. In the text, Mandy complains about the children not having anything to do. In the past children were liable for planting and harvesting vegetables and taking care of the livestock. Nowadays children do not have anything to do since we buy food in shops rather than growing it ourselves. Memory is the ability to remember something that happened in the past.

Memory is divided into two major forms. Long-term memory and short-term memory. Short-term memory is non-permanent information that is stored in the brain, it can only be stored for a short period of time. Long-term memory is the permanent information that is stored in the brain, it can last a lifetime. “A few days before the trip you will all be invited to visit our language laboratory, where you will be taught Hebrew by the knowledge injection principle during one afternoon. As you probably know the knowledge will last a month before it disappears completely from your brains”, this statement shows that the language was stored in their short-term memory. In the text, they have it in their memory that the Jewish people crucified Jesus Christ. As they seek for a shade they realise that all the natives are inside their homes. It is them, the time travellers who have crucified Jesus Christ. Simon says, “I wish we had never come, He looked at me you know, I will never forget his eyes as long as I live”. This shows that memories can be good and bad. No matter how much we want to forget the bad ones, we cannot, they are there. In the passage, the historical events that Mandy mentions in the story are all just a memory now.

Although they are terrible memories, we cannot erase what has happened in the past. In the passage, Simon says “We have crucified the Son of God, and we are going to do it next tour, and the next and the next…” When we have flashbacks of our memories from the past or if we think about the things that happened in the past over and over again, it is going to feel like you are doing that thing continuously. Our memories are full of regrets from the things we did in the past, but unfortunately, we cannot turn back the hands of time. In real life, we are all ‘time travellers’, when we remember or think about the things that happened in the past. We still feel the pain or the joy when we think about the past as if we are back in time at that moment. In the passage, Simon says, “Yep, we cannot decide where to go. Or should I say when to go? It is a bit confusing”. The word ‘when’ refers to time and the word ‘where’ refers to which place or which historical event. According to time travelling this means one and the same thing. We can say that time that is lost or time that has passed is history.

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Time consists of the past, the present, and the future. History is a moment in time. Without time there is no history. Memory and history are similar in a way. The crucifixion of Jesus Christ is a historical event but it is also a memory. Time flies, but memories last forever.

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