Research paper

Farzana Khan

Professor Jay Polish

ENG 102

May 7, 2018

How war causes memory loss to adolescent?

War is a clash between two nation and state.  War can be both harmful and helpful for people within that country. Some people find it helpful on how it shape them like being leaders or being helpful within their community. But at the same time war can cause more harmful affect for people’s health and to their community like destroying their house, famine, placing peoples in different countries, killing people and causing psychological problems for people. We can find all these incident happening in the play “Anonymous.” Anonymous is a play written by Naomi Iizuka, and in that play we can find a boy named Anon who gets separated from his mother because of the endless war in their country. He witnessed all the destructions happened by the war. Anon and his mother Nemasani tries to escape to a different place because of the war and a storm hits their boat and Anon ends up drowning in the ocean. Anon loses his memory and his mother ends up working in a factory.  Finally, Anon gains back his memory and goes to different places in search of his mother. This shows that one of the ways that war affect adolescent is through psychological problem such as memory loss.  Memory loss can be caused by witnessing the destruction of war, by depression and by the air pollution caused by the rise of industrialization. We can find all these factors affecting Anon’s memory loss in the play “Anonymous” by Naomi Iizuka. In this play, Anon faces all kind of conflict from starting with the war in their country to on finding his mother.

Memory loss can be temporary or permanent. Word like who are you?, I don’t remember you, are some of the words mentioned by the memory loss people. Anon experience a temporary memory loss where he gains it back later, and mentions some of these words during his memory loss period like, “I don’t remember”, “I don’t know how to begin. I don’t know where to begin” (Iizuka, p.4). After Anon got separated from his mother, his goddess friend Naja was helping him to remember his past. In that way he said these words to Naja to remind her that he doesn’t remember what happened to him. So, Naja told him to begin in the middle or somewhere in the border so, it can help him to gain some of his memory back. This proves that Anon has memory loss and all this happened after he and his mom tried to escape from their country where there was a war and when he drowned in the ocean. One way that war causes memory loss to adolescent is by witnessing the destruction of war. For example, from the article, “the invisible Trauma of War affected Children” the author states that, “children living in violent, terrorized environments experience such horrors as destruction of their homes, and the death of parents, siblings, neighbors and friends.” And even according to the article from live science, the author states that, “People who have been victims of or witnessed a traumatic event such as a violent crime or accident can also have their short-term memories affected”(Zimmermann).When comparing this to the play, the main character Anon has experienced the same situation. For example, in the play, the playwright states that, “where I come from there was a war that lasted so long. Where I come from bombs rained down from the sky night after night. The air smells like death” (Iizuka, p. 4). Anon is from a place where war lasted longer and adolescent like Anon were scared that they couldn’t even sleep at night that bomb will fall on them. Their places were full of death people laying down and they were inhaling that smell.  Anon witnessed these entire incidents and made him affected and his mom and him tried to escape from their country. According to the article, “the invisible Trauma of War affected Children”, it stats that, Witnessing these destruction makes hard for children to recover from traumas. This shows that all these things impact an adolescent’s mind by keeping them in memory and hard to forget those entire things they went through in their life. These incidents will be running through their mind and that shock will affect people by memory loss.

Another way that Anon experienced memory loss through war is by depression. An incident that really affected Anon’s mind is separation from his mother. In the play, “the last time I was in the ocean, I almost drowned. I was with my mom. We were in an old fishing boat. We were trying to escape and there was a storm” ( Iizuka p. 13). The war in their hometown made them migrate to a different place and that journey separated Anon from his mother.  This is an example of fear of death, where they escape from the war to reach a safer place which lead to depression by leaving their hometown and migrating to other country. According to the article from WebMD, “Memory Loss”, the author states that, “Being depressed can make it difficult to pay attention and focus, which can affect memory.” When relating depression to memory loss, the main character Anon also went through depression where he was looking for his mom. For instance, in the play, all he remembered was his mom. “I’m really homesick. What if you want to go home, but there’s no more home to go home to? What if the one person you love more than anything, what if they don’t remember you? What if they don’t even know who you are?” (Iizuka p.14).when he was trying to gain back his memory he remembered only his mother and he got scared that she would have forgotten him or she would have also loss her memory because of that incident they went through. This proves that, he’s scared that his mother would have forgotten him or he would never find his mother. He was thinking too much of this and where his mother would be and this made him depressed.  All these questions were running through his mind and people like Calista were trying to discourage his aim on finding his mom and making him even depressed. To illustrate, the playwright states that, “but it’s not even like she’s even part of your life anymore. I mean she’s probably dead, and even if she’s alive, it’s not like she’s been trying that hard to find you” (Iizuka p. 10). Calista’s words made him angry and depressed after she spoke about his mother. This proves that Depression can be one of the reasons for his memory loss.

Finally, war causes memory loss to adolescent by, air pollution caused by rise of industrial America. After war took place, countries developed their place by building factories, roads, and more transportation and so on. According to the article, “Industrial America” the author states that, “industrial growth transformed American society. It produced a new class of wealthy industrialists and a prosperous middle class.” In this play we can see Calista being in the class of wealthy where she demands Anon to listen to her. Such as, “you should be nice to me. I saved your life. You washed up on the shore of my dad’s luxury beachfront condo and you weren’t even breathing” (Iizuka p. 9). When Anon drowned in the ocean he landed in a different place and Calista saved his life. Since Calista was wealthy she started to ask him to do things that he didn’t like to do. Even when Anon was migrating to different places in search of his mother he found new things that he never seen before for example, the train. The playwright states that, “Pascal: the train’s right on time. Anon: train? What train?” (Iizuka p. 28). Anon met this boy who is from different country and they were trying to go to another place. That was when Anon first saw a Train. He even didn’t know that industrial were raising and everything changed. As there was a rise of industrial in America, factories were built. In the play there was a sewing factory, where Nemasani was working. According to the scholarly article, “the polluted brain” the author states that, “Some of the health risks of inhaling fine and ultrafine pollutant particles are well-established, such as asthma, lung cancer, and, most recently, heart disease. But a growing body of evidence suggests that such exposure can also harm the brain, accelerating cognitive aging, and may even increase risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia”(Underwood).  We get these fine particles from the machine from factories and it gets mixed with the air and causes air pollution. People in those places inhale these particles from the air pollution and that leads to major health risks such as memory loss. This could be one the reason for Anon’s memory loss because he’s new to these changes and he’s new to those places so, he doesn’t know how to adapt to different places and there are chances that he could have inhaled these particles. This proves that air pollution caused by factories after war took places can causes memory loss to adolescent.

To conclude, this proves that war affect adolescent through psychological problem such as memory loss.  Memory loss can be caused by witnessing the destruction of war, by depression and by the air pollution caused by the rise of industrialization. The play also connects with these affects to prove that Anon went through memory loss because of the war he experienced.  Adolescent like Anon gets shocked by witnessing people dying, bombs falling down during war. People fled through different country and that journey separates loved ones and lead to depression. Even after war, like rise of industrialization affects adolescent mind through the air pollution that factory emits. All these issues affect adolescent by disturbing their brain through shocks and emotions feelings which leads to memory loss in adolescent.

Work citied

Iizuka, Naomi. Anon(Ymous): a Drama. Playscripts, 2010.

“Industrial America – American Memory Timeline- Classroom                              Presentation | Teacher Resources.” Library of Congress,   

“Memory Loss.” WebMD,

“The Invisible Trauma of War-Affected Children.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers,

Underwood, Emily. “The Polluted Brain.” Science, vol. 355, no. 6323, 27 Jan. 2017, pp. 342-345. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1126/science.355.6323.342.

Zimmermann, Kim Ann. “What Is Short-Term Memory Loss?” LiveScience, Purch, 24 Apr. 2017,



In this research paper I learned how to find and use academic journal and how to combine them along with our research paper. I can use this for my other classes or for upcoming essay to support my evidence. This research paper helped me to analysis the play by getting deeper into the play and by solving all the questions I had in the beginning while reading the play for the first time. I could have pushed my analysis even further by using some of other academic journal and combine them to get better understanding. I don’t think I used any rhetorical choices in my research paper. By peer reviewing, it helped me to develop my essay and to analysis it even better. Next time, I would like to focus on how to develop my essay even better. For my next assignment I would like to use Epithet rhetorical choices.

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