” ‘I promise you I don’t know.’ and I didn’t. But I was afraid anyway. I was a captive of her stare, staring back. ” (pg. 189)

I looked up the wikipedia definition/ explanation of repressed memories and found a conglomeration of theories and interpretations, all presented as merely hypothesis. In One Thousand Acres, we are (seemingly) dealing with dissociative amnesia, or psychogenic amnesia. This is defined as, “a dissociative disorder ‘characterized by retrospectively reported memory gaps. These gaps involve an inability to recall personal information, usually of a traumatic or stressful nature.’ ” On the surface, we see this with Ginny, as she lies in her bed, her memories flood back to her, “lying here, I knew that he had been in there to me, that my father had dain with me on that bed[…]” (pg. 228)

However, memory repression is not accepted by mainstream psychology. And many scientists in the field feel that no credible research exists on the topic. In fact many believe that “memories” that have been “recovered” in certain situations are a product of the process of the recovery. That is to say, memories can be tainted or changed by suggestion when in the process of “recovering memories.” The American Psychological Association makes 5 conclusions on the investigation of memories in child abuse:

1) Controversies regarding adult recollections should not be allowed to obscure the fact that child sexual abuse is a complex and pervasive problem in America that has historically gone unacknowledged;

2) Most people who were sexually abused as children remember all or part of what happened to them;

3) It is possible for memories of abuse that have been forgotten for a long time to be remembered;

4) It is also possible to construct convincing pseudo-memories for events that never occurred; and

5) There are gaps in our knowledge about the processes that lead to accurate and inaccurate recollections of childhood abuse.

False memory however, is seen as a commonly occurring event. As pointed out by Doctor Elizabeth Loftus of UC Irvine, “[…] research showed that creating false memories of a relatively benign childhood experience, i.e., becoming lost in a shopping mall as a young child was easily induced. In other studies, even much more extreme example of false memories (eg., spilling punch on the bride’s parents at a family wedding or nearly drowning as a child) could be induced in as many as a quarter of the subjects tested. Even in subjects who failed to develop a complete false memory, partial recall could be induced in nearly half of all research subjects.” It happens and has been recorded numerous times. It is even the case as to why witness testimonies have lost ground as evidence in court.

In my opinion, I think that Rose, seeing Ginny in an extremely fragile state, manipulated and fabricated a history that would change Ginny’s opinion of their father to Rose’s advantage. It is not supported by science (in the present day) that someone could forget such reoccurring instances as entirely as Ginny. It could, however, be possible that Ginny, having such overwhelming guilt with her miscarriages and affair with Jess, would apply such feelings of sexual guilt to a single fabricated event in the past.

References: 

Implanting False Memories. How reliable are memories of abuse “recovered” during psychotherapy. Post published by Romeo Vitelli Ph.D. on Nov 04, 2012 https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/media-spotlight/201211/implanting-false-memories

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repressed_memory#Criticism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychogenic_amnesia

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