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The Alamo Memory

Four of the five historical sites I visited told stories about the Alamo, and all of the sites were found to (re)produce a very similar story. From a narrative perspective the protagonist and antagonist characters were similar, as were the plot trajectory, setting and narrator point of view. Due to the continuity between the sites’ representations, the story of the Alamo—as told by the sites—is relatively coherent, and for the purposes of early clarification the narrative trajectory (or internal structure) of the Alamo memory is represented below. To be clear, what follows is not a set of historical events (historians continue to debate what actually took place at the Alamo); instead this is the ‘Alamo memory’.

I The Battle of Gonzales

The date is 29 September 1835: Mexican troops arrive near Gonzales—a Texan settler colony. They are there to re-claim a cannon given to the settlers by the Mexican authorities in 1831 for protection from Comanche attacks. However, since the Texans now desire independence the Mexican government considers it unwise to allow them to keep the weapon. To retain ownership of the cannon, the Texans prepare to fight and fly a home-made flag upon which are images of the cannon, the Lone Star and the words ‘come and take it’. On 2 October 1835 the battle of Gonzales takes place, the first military engagement between Mexican troops and Texan settlers. The Mexican troops eventually withdraw and the war for Texan Independence has begun.

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