Michela Vanon Alliata, Ca’Foscari University of Venice
Representations of Individual and Collective Trauma in Patrick McGrath’s Trauma (2008) and Don DeLillo’s Falling Man (2007)
Drawing on Freud’s definition of trauma as one of latent memory, an experience which makes itself known by its unsummoned, recurring presence long after the traumatic event is over, on Cathy Caruth and other leading scholars’ claim that that trauma’s peculiarity is its original inaccessibility and delayed recognition, I will analyse Patrick McGrath’s Trauma (2008) and Don DeLillo’s Falling Man (2007) which are an attempt to confront the aftermath of two dreadful events: the Vietnam War and the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre. Both novels explore the psychology of trauma and the connected issues of survival and guilt by intertwining the drama of their protagonists with the evocation of the horror, inhumane devastation and unspeakable sufferings of the Vietnam War and of the 9/11 attacks. Like all trauma narratives, Trauma and Falling Man resist a linear ordering of events favouring instead, disjunctive and fragmented modes of telling. In this way McGrath and DeLillo take the reader into their protagonists’ damaged past and uncertain future.
Discutante : Béatrice Laurent