Date

9-17-2020

Description

Trauma narratives are aesthetic techniques designed to help survivors of trauma make sense of their experiences, while also acting as a form of exposure to painful memories. Oftentimes, authors depict this way of psychological analysis and healing through means of literature, either through fictional characters or autobiographical accounts. However, by depicting such graphic, blunt content, trauma narratives may inadvertently trigger the reader, thus harming rather than healing them. This project seeks to explore how to possibly craft a literary trauma narrative that does not offend the sensibilities of the reader (who reads the book to achieve their own kind of healing) through its graphic content in a way that keeps true to the narrative itself, as well as how an author may go about doing this in their work as much as they tangibly can. I will explore these questions through a close reading of three commonly known trauma narratives in literature: Beloved by Toni Morrison, Blue Nights by Joan Didion, and Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson; I will analyze what each book does and does not do well in their traumatic depictions by gauging the reactions of its traumatic content of myself and others, explore the differences of the depiction of trauma between creative forms, and eventually meditate on changes that can be applied to reduce possible triggering. Finally, I will craft a kind of literary trauma narrative that employs these means to serve as an example of a safer, less triggering depiction of trauma through its subtlety.

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Sep 17th, 12:00 AM

Speak, Beloved: A Study on Trauma Narratives in Literature Now, and Onwards

Trauma narratives are aesthetic techniques designed to help survivors of trauma make sense of their experiences, while also acting as a form of exposure to painful memories. Oftentimes, authors depict this way of psychological analysis and healing through means of literature, either through fictional characters or autobiographical accounts. However, by depicting such graphic, blunt content, trauma narratives may inadvertently trigger the reader, thus harming rather than healing them. This project seeks to explore how to possibly craft a literary trauma narrative that does not offend the sensibilities of the reader (who reads the book to achieve their own kind of healing) through its graphic content in a way that keeps true to the narrative itself, as well as how an author may go about doing this in their work as much as they tangibly can. I will explore these questions through a close reading of three commonly known trauma narratives in literature: Beloved by Toni Morrison, Blue Nights by Joan Didion, and Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson; I will analyze what each book does and does not do well in their traumatic depictions by gauging the reactions of its traumatic content of myself and others, explore the differences of the depiction of trauma between creative forms, and eventually meditate on changes that can be applied to reduce possible triggering. Finally, I will craft a kind of literary trauma narrative that employs these means to serve as an example of a safer, less triggering depiction of trauma through its subtlety.