University of Chicago
What really is history?
Reading this prompt made me share a wry smile with myself. It reminded me of a moment from twelve years ago whenmy childhood simplicity helped to changemy perspective on life in an enduring manner. My parents were having a conversation in the car and I, for the first time, recognized the word “history”. I had read a few books by then and had grasped the conceptof a "story" already. But what was this “history” that they kept mentioning? With all the brusque rudeness of a curious four year old, I asked “Whose story, mom?” My mother was noticeably irritated with my unwarranted interruption but was taken aback by my unusual question. “What story?” she replied. Now I was the one who started getting irritated with my mother’s apparent lack of attention to the conversation. “You just said his story. So whose is it?” Nowshe understood what I had meant and burst into laughter. She then gave me a thorough, or as thorough as can be for a four year old child’s understanding, explanation of history and what it meant.
Obviously I paid little attention to that moment back then as many other thingscaught my wavering attention. However, the repercussions of that observation stayed with me throughout my childhood. As I grew older, fiction alone...
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