Kedlyne DemostheneProfessor WoodEnglish 102May 9, 2016Formal Paper #5TraumaPart 1: Grief Kills the SoulWith a few exceptions, most humans are born physically the same. What makes usdifferent from each other is our brain. Our brains determines our personality and it also measuresthe capacity we have to cope with traumas. Traumas also makes us who we are. The happy andfun loving girl can easily turn cold and withdrawn from society because one of her parents died.The funny and playful boy can turn stern and solemn when he returns from war. In Preparationfor the Next Lifewritten by Atticus Lish the main characters, Zou Lei and Skinner, bothexperience trauma which pulls them together and help each other cope better. Zou Lei, a ChineseUighur and an orphan of the desert, migrates to New York for a better life. Skinner a war veterancomes to New York, which doesn’t really seem like home anymore, grieving from the loss of hisbest friend develops PTSD and an alcohol problem. In Preparation for the Next LifeLishexplores trauma within the two main characters Skinner and Zou Lei; the author proposes the
Kedlyne Demosthenetwo outcomes that comes from untreated trauma, suicide or alienation from society throughoutthe rest of one’s life if goes untreated. In Preparation for the NextLifeZou Lei suffers “trauma in contemporary life” which is aresult post 9/11 that many people suffer because the ongoing war against terrorism. Zou Lei alsosuffers from the trauma of losing her father in the war. Zou Lei, once a happy child, reflected herparent’s attitude and exuded happiness and curiousness. Once her father goes to war Zou Lei’smother starts to worry about if he’s ever coming home again. Zou Lei then reflects her mother’snatural state of worrying at all times. Later on in the novel when Zou Lei’s father dies, her momis devastated. Zou Lei then goes into this deep depression where she develops anxiety. In thebook Traumaedited by Shoshana Ringel, Ringel explains, “The child is naturally dependent onthe parent for continuous support and assistance in negotiating the course of development.However, in many instances, the surviving partners, owing to that person’s own preoccupationwith the loss, may be less available for the child to lean on” (Ringel 48). When two people raisea child they have the lucky chance to lean on someone when they are stressed, depressed, or evenmourning a death. When one parent isn’t feeling well the other parents steps up so that the childbarely notices. It is important to work as a team so that you shield the child from any stress orburdens the real world can create. When the child only has one parent and the parent isn’temotionally well enough to shield the child from life’s burdens the child feels the weight of theworld too. When the child’s parent dies, the other parent’s job to be strong and show the childthat life goes on and that they can lean on each other. When the parent isn’t strong enough andthe child leans on them, they will collapse. That’s exactly what happened to Zou Lei’s family.