Review of Literature
The theory of trauma that will be highlighted in this study has been discussed in many books, journals and theses. Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence--from Domestic Abuse to Political Terror by Judith Herman (1992) explores trauma and puts individual experience in a broader political frame, arguing that psychological trauma can be understood only in a social context. The book also documents and uses the victims’ own words to change the way we think about and treat traumatic events and trauma victims. John Fletcher's book Freud and the Scene of Trauma (2013) helps to explain the affinity that Freud had felt between psychoanalysis and literature and the ...view middle of the document...
A. thesis which discusses trauma in Tim O' Briens novel The Things They Carried. "Trauma and the Fantastic in Twentieth Century War Fiction" (2010) by Michael Horton in the University of Missouri discusses trauma theory and the effects of combat trauma in different novels including Tim O' Brien's Going After Cacciato.
Statement of the Problem
Trauma studies' growth can be attributed to its exposure of the significant long-term effects of traumatic experience on individuals. In highlighting the suffering of various groups of marginalized peoples (for example, oppressed women, war veterans, victims of genocide, the sexually or physically abused, and the terminally ill), trauma studies draw attention to those whom are often forgotten. It highlights the importance of addressing the pain of wounds to the psyche in order for individuals and collective groups to recover. Cathy Caruth argues that trauma, rather than separating and dividing different peoples, "trauma itself may provide the very link between cultures" ("Trauma and Experience" 11). Petar Ramadanovic claims that literature is uniquely placed to perform such a task:
What makes literature into the privileged…site of trauma is the fact that literature as an art form can contain and present an aspect of experience which was not experienced or processed fully. Literature, in other words, because of its sensible and representational character, because of its figurative language, is a channel and a medium for a transmission of trauma which does not need to be apprehended in order to be present in a text or…in order to be witnessed. (19).
Literature is central to trauma studies because it is a key mode to which trauma victims frequently take recourse in order to process their experiences. Furthermore, the intersection of trauma and fiction offers new avenues for the literary imagination. Anne Whitehead writes in her book Trauma Fiction that:
Fiction itself has been marked or changed by its encounter with trauma. Novelists have frequently found that the impact of trauma can only adequately be represented by mimicking its forms and symptoms, so that temporality and chronology collapse, and narratives are characterized by repetition and indirection. Trauma fiction overlaps with and borrows from both postmodern and postcolonial fiction in its self-conscious deployment of stylistic devices as modes of reflection or critique. (3)
This suggests that literature may provide a valuable imaginary space for those who wish to explore the traumatic experiences of others and their impact on society.
Trauma is closely connected to traumatic memory, which influences narrative in many ways. Narratives of the Vietnam War were mostly written by soldiers who experienced and witnessed traumatic events in times of combat, which, in turn, made them severely traumatized. Marilyn Blatt Young, in her book The Vietnam Wars 1945 –1990 ( 1991) states that at least sixty thousand veterans have committed suicide...