Lit and Psych Final Paper

Lit and Psych Final Paper - Tanya Shah Lit & Psychology...

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Tanya Shah Lit & Psychology 5/10/10 Trauma Analysis Trauma is an underlying theme in the text of Toni Morrison’s Beloved , Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Thing , and Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day . Each text takes place in strikingly different backdrops and contexts, ranging from Ohio during times of racial tension, a small village in Ayemenem, India, and post-World War II England, and yet, despite this fact, the common denominator of trauma traces each novel. Delving further into the style and means of expression by each author, all three novels also seem to be focused on a centralized theme; namely the role that time plays in the traumatic, and the effects it can have on identity. Be it the chronology of events, the movement of time through history, or the concept of the “now” and the present moment, time is an important element in each text. Each author utilizes the tool of flashbacks to both tell their respective stories, as well as to impart a semblance of the effects that trauma from the past can incur on the present. In Trauma and Recovery, Judith Herman explicates how trauma affects its victims, and indicates that hyperarousal, feelings that one has been intruded upon, surrender or constriction, and the feeling of disconnection are common (Herman, 51). The characters in these novels experience trauma that affect their lives in distinct ways, ranging from sexual abuse to an identity crisis. However, the ways in which the authors relate the process of dealing with these experiences overlap between all three texts and follow paths that include remembrance, safe relationships, and reconnection. Beloved follows the life of Sethe, an escaped slave, who attempts to reconstruct her life following the disastrous effects that slavery imposed on the familial and personal dimensions of her existence. She is haunted both literally and emotionally by the ghost her daughter, whose life she took in order to prevent her from having to experience the life of slavery. The novel starts
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out in the present, where Sethe is no longer a slave and is raising one of her children, her daughter Denver in a house that is “full of a baby’s venom” (Morrison, 3). Everyone else in her life is either dead or has left her. As Sethe plunges into a series of flashbacks which relate her story and help explicate the events that led her to the place she is in her life, she also reconnects with Paul D, a friend and fellow former slave from her past. These events guide Sethe as she deals with the trauma in her life. Two specific moments constitute the crux of the trauma that envelops Sethe’s life, and both are directly related to and a result of her status as a slave. Through fragmented memories, readers learn that while she was a slave in a place called Sweet Home, the nephews of her master, who is referred to as schoolteacher, seize Sethe in a barn and attack her by taking the breast milk from her body, which was intended for her baby . After relating this horrific event to
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This note was uploaded on 03/24/2011 for the course ARTS AND S 101 taught by Professor Salime during the Spring '11 term at Rutgers.

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Lit and Psych Final Paper - Tanya Shah Lit & Psychology...

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