Study Guide

Animal Dreams Memory

By Barbara Kingsolver

Memory

Straight talk: memory is totally the central theme of Animal Dreams. Basically, Codi has a memory problem: she's got a mental block on her childhood that starts with the memory of her miscarried child. Doc is also concerned with memory: he's obsessed with changing history. Both of them have trouble dealing with violent things that have happened in the past—and that are happening in the present. One way to deal with trauma is to forget about it, right?

Questions About Memory

  1. Codi says that truth and memory are not the same thing. How does the national memory relate to the truth about war in Nicaragua?
  2. In Animal Dreams, how can we tell real memories from reconstructed ones? What are the benefits of authentic experiences as compared to imaginary ones?
  3. Is reconstructing memory always a bad thing? In the last scene of the novel, Codi seems to rewrite her memory of her mother's death as not a tragedy. Why is that important? Is it true?
  4. How do objects function in relation to memories in Animal Dreams? What does Codi get out of burying a bunch of objects instead of burying Hallie's body?

Chew on This

In Animal Dreams, memory is both a personal and a political issue.

In Animal Dreams, vision, memory, and identity are all connected.

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