In Margaret Mahy’s novel, “Memory”, almost all of the characters are slowly, but gradually building up their personality through a search of their hazy pasts. These hazy pasts include the incidents, which influence the personality development and therefore provide the characters with their answers, but for them to find these answers they must seek in the present. Jonny, being the main character, has the most disarrayed past, through which he must physically sort out, in order for him to gain his full personality.In the same sense, Bonny, Sophie and Hinerangi must also discover their personality through near-forgotten events.
At the beginning of the novel, Jonny is making his way towards the Benedicta’s residence. He is doing this because he wants to find Bonny Benedicta, who was with him at the time of his sister’s death. Jonny wants to ask Bonny about the time, when she saw his sister fall from the cliff, as he was unclear, if he pushed her accidentally. Jonny believes that he did push his sister and now says that he should have been the one to go over.He goes through many critical and memorable moments and finally meets up with Bonny. He then learns the truth of his belief.
His character becomes dispersed as Bonny says, “But she tripped. She tripped and fell. ” Jonny for most of the time had believed that he had haphazardly pushed Janine. Now, he felt as if the whole world had forgiven him, which had totally affected Jonny’s personality development. The incidents of bullying affected Jonny’s personality development by making him at first quite scared and threatened, but later overcame this fear by combating his enemy, Nev Fowler.
Nev was a very tyrannical person who liked to badger Jonny. He and his gang once teased him by shouting, “Chick-chick-chick-chick-chicken! ” and threatened to wring his neck when they caught him. Then when they cornered him by the river they forced him to dance. Another time when Jonny was assaulted was when he was pinned to a poplar tree by Nev and a knife was put against his throat. Obviously, Jonny received a death threat and was told by Nev “if you tell anyone about this, I’II kill you. ” As mentioned above, Jonny overcame his fear of Nev, by jumping off the balcony to face him down below.
This incident eventuated to Jonny’s personality being altered to be able to stand up against enemies. Jonny was also a tap dancer who quite enjoyed it, but gave up because of the bullying. He used to dance in the Chickenbits advertisements with Janine. After some time, he realized that he loved tap dancing and started doing it at his free will.
An example would be when Jonny started tap dancing beside the river. He did not feel any embarrassment as he did this and shouted, “that’s entertainment,” at a van, which passed at the time. Tap dancing had become a part of Jonny’s personality.The encounter with Sophie had also affected Jonny’s personality. When Jonny saw the state of Sophie’s house, hygiene and food, he immediately felt agitated and worried.
He couldn’t let such an old feeble woman live like this and decided to stay with her. Even when Sophie asked if he was coming back re replied, “Don’t I always? I’m programmed to come back. ” This had brought out the caring and compassionate aspect of Jonny.
Sophie, the old frail woman, who suffered from senile dementia was also trying to piece together her past, which would affect her personality.She was once a young woman, with a carefree life since she relied on her husband, Errol West, to do most things. When she confronted Jonny, she mistook him as being Alva Babbitt, her cousin and secret admirer. This led to her being extremely benevolent and somewhat made her slightly ‘relaxed. ‘ She even muttered in her sleep that she was “capable of passionate love. ” In this sense, Sophie’s personality has been built up from the people she has met and loved.
Bonny, also known as the “Pythoness” when she was young, was compiled of past incidents that fabricated her personality.She used to play with Jonny and Janine, thinking that their bright characterful identities would “rub off on to me, and go all the way through. ” This did not happen as she had her own personality, which was neat and homely. Samantha Benedicta, who was once a young orphan, was adopted by the Benedictas’ as her “adoption prospects were not good. ” This was because she, like Bonny, was a hybrid and “people were nervous about mixtures. ” Samantha, wanting to find out more about herself and her culture, discovered her natural mother’s name, Hinerangi Hotene, and took it on.
Through this name, she accepted the Maori-Pakeha cross, and became a “beautiful young activist. ” Being a political activist and upholding Maori culture, she threw an explosive device at the Minister for Maori Affairs. Hinerangi had distinctly developed her personality. In conclusion, all the mentioned characters had past incidents that affected their personality development. Jonny had the most intriguing method of developing his personality, as he met Sophie by total chance. Other characters such as Sophie, Bonny and Hinerangi developed their personalities but in their own fascinating ways.