Smith post

            Smith argued that oral history interviews are significant because they show individual’s personal role in history and offer a reinterpretation of  historical events. It was interesting when he talked about symbols and motifs being displayed in different life stories. I realize that my interviews have many different themes, which offer an understanding of  both historical context and progression. It surprised me that he brought back Portelli and cited his research as an example of one of the ways to interpret the oral history interviews. Coming back to Portelli after doing the interviews changed the meaning behind the message that he was trying to put across about learning from things people said and the presentation of events. Transcribing allows me to see the progression of historical event and its individual impacts. Instead of seeing historical events in the broader scope of changing society, now I am seeing how it is something that influences both the decisions and responses of individuals on the ground.

            Narrative analysis allows the interviewer to take a closer look at the historical memory and its influence on the next generation. For example, we all grew up hearing about Rosie the Riveter, but it personally took on new meaning for me when listening to women describe their World War II experience in the context of their perception of who Rosie the Riveter was. To me, Rosie the Riveter was a feminist heroine urging women to get out of the domestic sphere and into the workforce. For many women during World War II, they saw it as an patriotic duty to get involved so they could support their male counterparts. The historical memory and the interpretation of historical event are very closely linked even though they differ.


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