Thursday, October 13, 2011

California's need for Connection to the past

Overall Concept of ch. 5 : ironically contrasts how peoples romanticized perception of Missions in CA with how the missions actually were

1. Irony:

"The same year that Spain purged the foreign from itself, Spain set sail to convert the world." 114

Members must be native born Californians-an odd requirement insofar as the men and women who built California were born elsewhere."122

2. Romance/ imaginative idea of history:

"Tourists come in spite of the religious aspect of the missions. Indeed, the missions are picturesque; they are romantic; they lure the Californian off the freeway for being so different - seeming so pristine - amidst the ancient ruins of twentieth-century California." – 124

"San Jose is the most recently restored of the missions... rebuilt from the ground up - a complete fake. And, for that, probably the nearest approach to the past." - 130

3. Father/ Adam Figure:

“ Father Serra is an authentic pun in California –Father of the state –civilizer, tamer of savages, planter of shade.”-111

“Father Serra can play two parts in a tragedy of California. If he is the first Lost Man, the perceivable Adam, he is well the Angel of the Fiery Sword, forbidding Eden.” -117

4. Importance of Remembrance:

“It reminds me of freeways being built in California; it reminds me of my faith in the future. My nostalgia is for a time when I felt myself free of nostalgia.”-120

“What sorrowing Daughter could not abide was the leveling shrug of a state that honors only the future. Such a state condemned her parents to oblivion.” -123

Connections of Concepts to overall concept of Chapter:

The overarching theme of the chapter is that California, being relatively new, is burdened with the urge to connect itself to the past, even if this means having a broken, self-gratifying understanding of what the past actually contains. For example, the San Jose mission had to be rebuilt and is composed of none of the original masonry, but is still used as a link to the past just to have something. The text has various examples of the ironies that crop up as a result of this need for a historical connection that isn’t really there. Father Serra is prominent because California needed to have it’s own idol. Like the reporters that the archivist complains of, California needs an imagined connection to history, and doesn’t require accuracy.

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