Chapter 3 Essay

Chapter 3


According to Cathy Caruth “Trauma describes an overwhelming experience of sudden or catastrophic events in which the response to the event occurs in the often delayed, uncontrolled repetitive appearance of hallucinations and other intrusive phenomena”. Post traumatic stress (a traumatic memory as a memory of a personally traumatic event) is evident in ‘The Black Eyed Woman’, Victor’s story haunts the ghost writer when the ghost writer faced the death nearby and she escapes. Ghost writer’s mother is terribly haunted by her past and her son’s death due to war.

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The Ghost Writer’s mother is a best instance for ‘Uncontrolled repetitive appearance of hallucinations’, she hallucinates her son’s death due to war which is evident in this chapter. As Freud pronounces ‘wounds are caused not upon the body but upon the mind’, the Ghost Writer’s mother is wounded by her past (loss of her son).The title –‘The Black Eyed Woman’ suggests there are black memories behind the eyes of a woman.

Trauma also makes people’s mind numb and therefore when they enter into new land they easily adapt the new culture without hesitation.

In ‘The Other Man’, Liem is a refugee from Vietnam who easily adapts the American culture (Homosexuality), Liem is not worried about being homosexual; it depicts how people unconsciously becomes victim of their own trauma without their knowledge. Freud pronounces that Trauma of child abuse and the importance of the temporal delay, which seems to be inherent to trauma and which Freud calls ‘Belatedness’.

In ‘War Years’, the young boy in this chapter is terribly affected by the Vietnam War, who later struggles to fit into the American culture, he tries hard to learn English by getting some Comic books in English language. The young boy’s mother runs a store to start a new life forgetting the past partially, Squire encounters this as ‘Non declarative memory’ in which people unconsciously engages in new form work to forget their past trauma. Freud pronounces that Trauma occurs in the two possible ways (i) The Flashbacks /with the mystery of his or her own survival. (ii) The mystery of one’s near death experience.

In ‘The Transplant’, Arthur Arellano faces death nearby when doctor says he is going to die if he does not get liver. But fortunately escapes from that when he receives Liver for his liver transplant. Arellano is haunted by his liver failure directly depicts the oppression of refugees in America. Arellano’s despair and loss due to liver failure represents the state of mind of refugees in America who have come to this land in search of new life. Later in the end of the chapter Arellano receives liver and gets back to normal life, but he drinks heavy again and spoils his liver represent the life of refugees who spoil their life even when they have rope to climb. For instance, in the case of the young boy’s mother in ‘The War Years’ who refuses to donate money when Mrs.Hoaasks for good cause.

Freud also pronounces that psychological trauma leads to ‘Hysteria’. In ‘I’d love you want me’, Mr.Khanh partially lost his memory due to The Vietnam War. Due to his Alzheimer’s disease, Mrs.Khanh suffers a lot. Mr. Khanh calls his wife as ‘Yen’ not Mrs.Khanh. This chapter revolves around how Mr.Khanh faces oppression due to his partial memory loss.

Psychological trauma not only affects the brain but also it shapes one’s mind. In ‘The Americans’ Carver is a retired African – American USAF pilot. Carver enjoyed the war from airplane, he just loved it from high. Whereas in the case of, Claire, being an American she devotees her life for Vietnamese. Claire enjoys being a teacher at Vietnam. Payne pronounces that,Trauma is completely cognitive process, due to suppression it leads to abnormal activities in various parts of brain. In ‘Someone Else Besides You’, Thomas is suppressed by the loss of his mother, due to that his behaviour is abnormal towards women. Sam, Thomas’ wife who suffers terribly due to his abnormal activities and therefore forsake him.

In ‘Fatherland’ Phuong’s image on American culture differs from Vivien’s. Phuong is fascinated by American culture whereas Vivien, being a citizen of America; she could not have better life there. Therefore Vivien visits Vietnam, her Fatherland to spend some time with his Father’s family.

Basically, Trauma is a wound or external bodily injury due to external force; it not only affects body but also mind. People face trauma in one or another situation due to War, loss of loved one, Violence, sexual abuse, and other emotionally traumatic events leads to Amnesia, which makes a person to forget everything temporarily. Suppression of traumatic events in a person’s memory will temporarily affect their brain until they are ready to handle them.

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