Posts Tagged ‘Melissa Bowersock’

A New Historicism Analysis of Melissa Bowersock’s Marcia Gates: Angel of Bataan
by Lynn Perretta

Melissa Bowersock has written a moving memoir about an Army nurse and prisoner of war: Marcia Gates: Angel of Bataan. Bowersock had unique access to Marcia’s story. This was not merely a person chosen from the history books or a name pulled from rosters to be explored and uncovered. This was a family member, her aunt. She relates, primarily through exchanged letters, what happened when Marcia Gates was taken prisoner by the Japanese following the Battle of Corregidor and the fall of Bataan in 1942. The story follows not only what Marcia went through during internment but what her family went through, not knowing what had become of her or if she was even alive.

A memoir is interesting to consider from a New Historicism perspective, especially when written about a time already long past. New Historicism concerns itself with the reality of the author’s day and how that plays into the narrative that is presented. In this case, we have the events of the day being presented later, by an author removed from the action by place (the niece and granddaughter of the protagonists) and by time (the book is written almost seventy years later). What answers does this work give to New Historicism’s most common questions and how does this work fit into the wealth of works about the World War II era?