The Smithsonian 9/11 Website Essay

The Smithsonian 9/11 Website Essay

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Medium of production, textual form, perspective and choice of language are all core factors in influencing the meaning of a text. Choice of language can play a pivotal role in providing an insight into the author of a texts' perspective, which is vital when determining the intended meaning of a text. Textual form and the medium of production of a text are also important, as these help to convey the author's perspective, and results in a better understanding of the meaning of the text. The impacts of these factors will be evaluated in the following examples, which illustrates how they can influence meaning in texts, in regards to the relationships between individual memory and documented events. An example of how the medium of production can influence meaning of a text is the Smithsonian 9/11 website.

The use of a website as the medium of production for the Smithsonian 9/11 exhibit allows people to browse through an extensive collection of objects and images, and because of this, is very effective in helping to achieve the intended purpose of the exhibit. This freedom to examine the large collection of objects and stories is used to allow the responder to disseminate a variety of perspectives, promoting a deeper understanding of the issue. Because people can contribute their own stories to the website, it serves as a framework for all their stories, and presents a collective memory of the event. This results in the accumulation of individual memories to create one large collective memory, with this collective memory of the event being what will be remembered as history. This interplay between history and memory is an effective way for the site to achieve its intended purpose.

Along with medium of production and persp...


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... look at the events of 9/11 from a global perspective, in the context of world-wide terrorism. The composer writes small paragraphs, at the most three sentences long, and uses meaningful and lofty terms like “aspirations”, “equality”, “mutual respect”, and “security”. These terms are used as a method of trying to persuade the reader to agree to the composer's main aims which not to solely to commemorate 9/11, but to promote a global understanding of terrorist actions.

Through examination of these examples and their exploration of the interplay between history & memory, it can be observed that choice of language, working alongside textual form, perspective and medium of production, all combine to influence the meaning of a text. These four vital factors create the fundamental core of the text, with each one playing a crucial role in determining a text's meaning.

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