Earl is a permanent patient at a hospital since he was injured in the attack which saw Earl's wife raped and killed. His injury has caused permanent brain damage meaning he's unable to convert short-term into long-term memories. Earl remembers everything before the damage, but nothing after, so his memory is only ten minutes long.
You can't have a normal life anymore. You must know that. How can you have a girlfriend if you can't remember her name? Can't have kids, not unless you want them to grow up with a dad who doesn't recognize them. Sure as hell can't hold down a job. Not too many professions out there that value forgetfulness. Prostitution, maybe. Politics, of course.
No. Your life is over. You're a dead man. The only thing the doctors are hoping to do is teach you to be less of a burden to the orderlies. And they'll probably never let you go home, wherever that would be.
So the question is not "to be or not to be," because you aren't. The question is whether you want to do something about it. Whether revenge matters to you.
It does to most people. For a few weeks, they plot, they scheme, they take measures to get even. But the passage of time is all it takes to erode that initial impulse. Time is theft, isn't that what they say? And time eventually convinces most of us that forgiveness is a virtue. Conveniently, cowardice and forgiveness look identical at a certain distance. Time steals your nerve.
No doubt Memento Mori is interesting and insightful. A man with no memory has nothing to lose. Punishment for taking revenge on his wife's killer is going to be meaningless to him, although I'm not sure it's realistic for Earl to actually achieve this goal with a ten-minute memory even with the notes tattooed on his body to remind him of what he needs to do.
Jonathan Nolan's narration of Memento Mori is also available for free on YouTube....more
"Is that it?" was my first thought upon finishing. The only thing saving this is the thought that it was written in 1948, postAvailable as a free PDF.
"Is that it?" was my first thought upon finishing. The only thing saving this is the thought that it was written in 1948, post-WWII. Wartime involved conscription, a national lottery picking random men to become soldiers and sending them to die. Thinking of The Lottery in light of this, and the complicit conformity and reluctance to abandon tradition, together with the similarity to The Hunger Games, provided enough context for me to appreciate this short story....more
I'm glad I read this after Scarlet as it details Wolf's origin story - becoming a genetically modified soldier at age 12, brutally graduating to AlphaI'm glad I read this after Scarlet as it details Wolf's origin story - becoming a genetically modified soldier at age 12, brutally graduating to Alpha of his pack 5 years later - all before he meets Little Red Riding Hood aka Scarlet. Sadly, he had to become the thing he wanted to avoid - an animal - in order to prevent being physically transformed into one.
From the ghost's perspective Charley was far more likeable than in First Grave on the Right. Reyes seems to have more dialogue in this story than in tFrom the ghost's perspective Charley was far more likeable than in First Grave on the Right. Reyes seems to have more dialogue in this story than in the novel though his appearance was intrusive and unnecessary until the very end....more
Passionately in love with Ligeia, his wife, until she dies and he becomes obsessed with every detail of her memory.The madness of grief personified.
Passionately in love with Ligeia, his wife, until she dies and he becomes obsessed with every detail of her memory. Later marrying Lady Rowena because he secretly likes that she 'shunned' him at every turn and that she's Ligeia's opposite in every way, but despite this he hates her because she's not the one he loved most.
Unfortunately, Rowena succumbs to the same illness as his first wife: consumption (tuberculosis). At her bedside, high on opium he thinks of his love for Liegia and her demise, and on glancing at the body on the bed he believes he witnesses some imaginary sign of life in Rowena's corpse. Frantically, he does everything he can to revive her, until Ligeia's visage transforms Rowena's body.
The horror of his misfortune was obviously too much for his tortured psyche to handle. Sadly, this correlates with Poe's real life experience. His mother died when he was a infant, his father abandoned him soon after, his foster mother died, and then his wife died after more than a decade of marriage. That's more than any one soul should have to bear. Condemned to walk alone and probably terrified to love anyone in case his curse catches up with him.
Ligeia predates The Raven by about seven years, although it goes without saying that they go hand-in-hand, both detailing the insanity brought on by the grief and loss of a dearly beloved wife.
This isn't my first ride on the psychologically intriguing Poe-horror-go-round, and it won't be my last. ...more