Analysis of Mementos I by W.D.Snodgrass
That picture."The level of his shock and horror at his discovery is evidenced by his description of himself as "a man raking piles of dead leaves in his yard/ Who has turned up a severed hand". It is more than clear that this love did not end well.
World wars hold immense significance, namely because the entire globe was involved. Consequently, the worldwide perception of warfare was changed. Gone were the 19th century ideals of honour, valour and dying for your country no longer seemed like such a great idea after the advent of tanks, machine guns, nuclear bombs; instead, the people’s will to maintain world peace has been very prevalent since 1945. Effectively, we have had to divorce ourselves from society’s previous perceptions of war; we had to divorce ourselves from our past. But to ‘divorce’ something, is only to break an association with someone or something, not to completely ignore or deny its existence. And that is why Snodgrass decides to keep ‘that picture’. His marriage, much like society’s marriage to warfare, did happen. That is undeniable. Both marriages brought ‘treachery’ and ‘unspoken regret’ onto all parties involved; however, good times were also had. Speak to any Briton over Britain’s greatest point in history and they will tell you of a time when colonial domination was rife, concentration camps were being used on Boers in South Africa, and profits from the slave trade were used to build beautiful cities like Bristol. Readers, they speak of the British Empire. I doubt that the same list would be compiled by those more patriotic than I; however, the point remains: although the British Empire brought the world many horrors, it also brought the world many gifts. For this, we must be happy. Simultaneously, we must be ashamed.