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Character Descriptions of Earl in “Memento Mori” by Jonathan Nolan

Memento Mori is a short story by Jonathan Nolan. This paper will briefly discuss about the main character Earl and his character traits, detailing briefly about his physical aspects and his emotional and mental state.

About Earl

In the story “Memento Mori,” the character of Earl is well illustrated. Earl has a state of mind called anterograde amnesia, a condition, when someone’s brain is not able to make new memories. The story begins at a mental institution where Earl is confined and the dominating aspect for that is his disease. Earl is not able to make new memories so he leaves some pictures and notes taped around his room. They act to remind him of the things he underwent; his wife’s brutal rape before she was murdered and his personality; brain damage (Watterson, 2012).

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Earl is the protagonist of the “Memento Mori” and the only character developed in the story. The story is focused on Earl’s ability to manipulate himself. We see this as the story starts to develop and there are letters written by an “I” and another by a “you” all written by Earl. These letters give us the idea that Earl wants to break away from the hospital and find his wife’s killers. But Earl seems to be less willing to trust himself. Earl is an investigator. Despite his challenges, he develops elaborate ways and stages (use of tattoos and numbers) to try to indentify his wife’s murderers. He is Sammy Jankis (his another alter ego) (Watterson, 2012).

The character of Earl in “Memento Mori” by Jonathan Nolan may be a real context of two works

The story in such way tells us that people are made in different personas that keep on changing. Nolan, however, says that for some minutes each day, every person is a genius. Just like Earl, we all get lose of track sometimes and get a reminder from our past lives. 

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