Study Guide

Inside Out Memory and the Past

Memory and the Past

Inside Out explores how memories are made, how they can be changed, how they can be stowed away in long-term memory, and how, like most of Riley's piano lessons, they can be forgotten entirely. After all, we can only remember so much.

Each of Riley's memories is color-coded and emotion-coated. Then there are her Core Memories, which define different parts of her personality. Core Memories shape who we are. Other memories become way less meaningful or relevant as time goes on. Still others get completely lost, like who the 19th President of the United States was. (Shmoop never forgets; it was Rutherford B. Hayes.)

How we remember things depends on where we are in our life story. Happy memories can be tinged with sadness as we get older, for example. Things we did in seventh grade that we thought were unbelievably cool, like that peach fuzz "mustache" or Justin Bieber tee, might fill us with disgust by the time we graduate high school.

Fortunately, we make new memories every single day, so we know that Beyonce's twins are named Sir and Rumi.

Questions About Memory and the Past

  1. How does moving to San Francisco change Riley's perception of the past?
  2. Why do you think Dad's lead emotion is Anger?
  3. What time(s) in your life do you experience nostalgia for, or are you strictly a "live in the now" kind of person?
  4. What are three of your Core Memories?

Chew on This

Nostalgia is what happens when you throw joy and sadness, or Joy and Sadness, in a blender.

Memories like Bing Bong can't possibly die.

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