History Resisted in Waterland

Rana Cho ('95) English 34. 1993

I believe that Waterland supports the notion that there should be a resistance to history, that "the present alone is vital". This theory does not preclude that the present is not a result of the past, as the entire story of Waterland could be based upon a beer bottle. It does mean that the active participation in the present, through technology, should not be motivated by the notion of "advancement" or "trying to get somewhere, further along than the past". The present should be recognized as worthy of itself, though it may be placed within a cycle of history, a revolution of history. To say "to make the same mistakes as their parents, that the same ole things will repeat themselves (p.208)" is to deny the present its potential to a have new twist to "the same old stuff". And the telling of history, Tom Crick's role in the novel, is to dispel the fear that that potential (to change the present's outcome from that of the past) may not exist:
Explaining, evading the facts, making up meanings, taking a larger view, putting things into perspective, dodging here and now, education, history, fairy-tales -- it helps to eliminate fear. (p. 208)

United Kingdom