Sophomore English: IATC & Memento Essay

Prompt: Write a 750 word essay discussing how I am the Cheese and Memento are similar / different.

Discussion of the prompt:  Adam and Leonard both suffer from memory loss related to a traumatic event in their lives.  Adam seems to refuse the reality of his former life and his parents’ tragic death.  Consequently, he is forced to relive the trauma through a yearly journey of inquiries with Brint.  Leonard suffered brain damage due to an altercation with intruders that were attacking his wife.  His memories of the past drive him on a journey of revenge to find his wife’s “murderers.”  The novel and the film each employ a non-linear narrative structure with which to tell each character’s story.  Explain how the characters and their experiences are similar / different.

Questions / prompts to consider:

  1. How would the stories be different if they were linear in nature?
  2. How does NOT knowing the final outcome from the beginning affect our attitude toward the characters (i.e. that Adam was institutionalized the whole time?  That Leonard had fooled himself to hunt down Teddy for a majority of the film?)
  3. What does the audience gain / lose as a result of experiencing the stories the way the characters do (i.e. do we sympathize more with their plight because WE are confused too?)
  4. What do we learn about the characters that we couldn’t learn otherwise as a result of the narrative structure (i.e. their confusion, frustration, uncertainty, etc.)?
  5. How do both Adam and Lennie lie to themselves?
  6. How do other characters manipulate Adam and Lennie?
  7. In what fundamental ways are the characters / stories different (move beyond “one’s named Lennie and the other is named Adam” arguments)?
  8. You can also choose to compare Adam to Earl in "Memento Mori" the short story on which Memento is based.


Introduction:  Summarize the experiences of the characters—Provide a brief explanation of each story’s plot.  Funnel to a specific thesis statement regarding the perspective / prompt you are discussing.

Body: Explain your thesis using three specific points.  Begin paragraphs with a clear topic sentence.  Use specific examples from the novel and film for support.

Conclusion:  Summarize your main points.  Pull it together for the reader.  Give me an exigency—what can I learn from reading your paper or from reading the novel & watching the film (Jerry Springer final thought).

Remember:  I am asking you to examine specific aspects of each text--do not simply regurgitate a summary of each story.  I already know that you have read / viewed the text. It's like CSI: you're examining hair samples or fingerprints--not giving me the whole picture, but just a piece of it under the microscope.

Submission Guidelines:


Double Spaced

One side of page

750-word minimum