Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Shame and Forgetting in the Information Age

The author, Charles Baxter, deals with data and experience in the information age. This essay is divided into five chapters. In the first chapter the writer describes the basic form about how people acquire information. That is Charles expresses information forming based on experience by narrating his brother’s story.
In the second chapter, the author implies what exactly he is going to talk about in this essay. Charles suggests the two notions of information, ‘data’ and ‘experience.’ As time goes on, information is getting more accumulating. ‘Data’ represents information accumulated by others’ experience and ‘Experience’ is based on one’s own experience acquired with like discussions. Information itself can work as one of forms to represent authority. One who got plenty of information does not have only knowledge but also possesses authority. Forgetting usually occurs in the process of acquiring data information, while experience is seldom forgotten. It does not mean experience is never erased in the memory. Just when experience is removed in the memory, it accompanies shame.
Charles Baxter warns the information age by borrowing Walter Benjamin’s opinion in the third chapter. Walter Benjamin expressed that people in the information age are rich in information but poor in experience. Forgetting occurs easier in the acquired data information than in the experience information.
In the forth chapter, the writer deals with how information is edited in the memoir. Autobiographical story needs to be summarized when being built because there is so much information. To summarize her/his story, the author takes bad memory away from their story. It would be based on ashamed experience or experience that tends to hide.
The purpose of this essay is, Charles Baxter tries to say that the data acquired by computers or books is forgotten easier than information learned by experience. Therefore, experience is important and gives human more valuable life.


  1. great analysis section by section and you do have make a lot of sense. But I think it's more interesting to interperate the connection between chapters and how they build a sculptrorous skeleton.

  2. I like the idea that you break the analysis section by section, it explains your interpretation of each part of the chapter's of Baxter's essay, now try to put all that ideas of the chapter together to give one meaning, like ziwi says it would be more interesting.

  3. I agree with the part about the memoir, sometimes you have to leave the bad things out. Good Job

  4. I like when you say that "Walter Benjamin expressed that people in the information age are rich in information but poor in experience." That's a really good way to put what he is saying.


  5. oh yeah, i also want to add.... your conclusion is awesome. i do believe that Baxter is trying to make his readers realize that experience is importatn and if we focus on daily experiences, our memory will stay with us longer.. good job