Representations of Trauma in Contemporary American Literature and Film: Moving from Erasure to Creative Transformation

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/301676
Title:
Representations of Trauma in Contemporary American Literature and Film: Moving from Erasure to Creative Transformation
Author:
Parziale, Amy Elizabeth
Issue Date:
2013
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Embargo:
Release after 02-Jul-2015
Abstract:
This dissertation attempts, in its limited way, to redress the repeated erasure of trauma from public knowledge and social consciousness by examining how a variety of crisis events have been represented in contemporary American literature and film. Intersecting archival, trauma, literary and film studies, this project highlights connections across politics of institutions and politics of identity by considering the creative transformation of trauma in representation. Considering how trauma aesthetics across a broad spectrum also illuminates the ways social structures are reinscribed, how trauma permeates and crosses borders in productive ways, and how race, gender, sexuality, and class relate to the traumatic. Each text included here has an interesting relationship to cultural history and historic events - including the Holocaust, 9/11, and slavery - challenging a variety of accepted social narratives. After an introduction outlining the theoretical frameworks, the first chapter considers Cuban-American author Cristina García's work; specifically how her first two novels - Dreaming in Cuban and The Agüero Sisters - attempt to resolve the traumatic pasts of female characters, while her subsequent two novels - Monkey Hunting and A Handbook to Luck - consider which stories are collected and which are lost. Reading novels as potential counter-archives envisions more inclusive understandings of truth, history, memory, and trauma. The image/texts analyzed in the next chapter continue this line of inquiry, further blurring supposedly stable categories like truth and history through complex interpretative relationships between textual and visual narratives in two Holocaust and four American novels. The third chapter argues that the archive created by films is not only citational and referential but potentially rewrites history. The fleeting traumatic revelations in Vertigo, Chinatown, Taxi Driver, The Searchers, Chan is Missing, and The Return of Navajo Boy acknowledge the impact and implications of trauma while creating collective memories through cinema. Similarly, the brief moments of idealized community in Toni Morrison's novels move the readerly experience out toward the current sociopolitical moment. The ambiguous endings of The Bluest Eye, Beloved, and Paradise open quietly kept narratives to history and recuperate traumatized voices that represent our past and call us to our present.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
American Literature; Archives; Cultural Studies; Gender Studies; Trauma; English; American Film
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; English
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
White, Susan M.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleRepresentations of Trauma in Contemporary American Literature and Film: Moving from Erasure to Creative Transformationen_US
dc.creatorParziale, Amy Elizabethen_US
dc.contributor.authorParziale, Amy Elizabethen_US
dc.date.issued2013-
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.releaseRelease after 02-Jul-2015en_US
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation attempts, in its limited way, to redress the repeated erasure of trauma from public knowledge and social consciousness by examining how a variety of crisis events have been represented in contemporary American literature and film. Intersecting archival, trauma, literary and film studies, this project highlights connections across politics of institutions and politics of identity by considering the creative transformation of trauma in representation. Considering how trauma aesthetics across a broad spectrum also illuminates the ways social structures are reinscribed, how trauma permeates and crosses borders in productive ways, and how race, gender, sexuality, and class relate to the traumatic. Each text included here has an interesting relationship to cultural history and historic events - including the Holocaust, 9/11, and slavery - challenging a variety of accepted social narratives. After an introduction outlining the theoretical frameworks, the first chapter considers Cuban-American author Cristina García's work; specifically how her first two novels - Dreaming in Cuban and The Agüero Sisters - attempt to resolve the traumatic pasts of female characters, while her subsequent two novels - Monkey Hunting and A Handbook to Luck - consider which stories are collected and which are lost. Reading novels as potential counter-archives envisions more inclusive understandings of truth, history, memory, and trauma. The image/texts analyzed in the next chapter continue this line of inquiry, further blurring supposedly stable categories like truth and history through complex interpretative relationships between textual and visual narratives in two Holocaust and four American novels. The third chapter argues that the archive created by films is not only citational and referential but potentially rewrites history. The fleeting traumatic revelations in Vertigo, Chinatown, Taxi Driver, The Searchers, Chan is Missing, and The Return of Navajo Boy acknowledge the impact and implications of trauma while creating collective memories through cinema. Similarly, the brief moments of idealized community in Toni Morrison's novels move the readerly experience out toward the current sociopolitical moment. The ambiguous endings of The Bluest Eye, Beloved, and Paradise open quietly kept narratives to history and recuperate traumatized voices that represent our past and call us to our present.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectAmerican Literatureen_US
dc.subjectArchivesen_US
dc.subjectCultural Studiesen_US
dc.subjectGender Studiesen_US
dc.subjectTraumaen_US
dc.subjectEnglishen_US
dc.subjectAmerican Filmen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineEnglishen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorWhite, Susan M.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberSoto, Sandraen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberScruggs, Charlesen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberWhite, Susan M.en_US
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