Academic journal article Literator: Journal of Literary Criticism, comparative linguistics and literary studies

Metaphors of Pain: The Use of Metaphors in Trauma Narrative with Reference to Fugitive pieces/Metafore Van Pyn: Die Gebruik Van Metafore in Die Narratief Van Trauma Met Verwysing Na Fugitive Pieces

Academic journal article Literator: Journal of Literary Criticism, comparative linguistics and literary studies

Metaphors of Pain: The Use of Metaphors in Trauma Narrative with Reference to Fugitive pieces/Metafore Van Pyn: Die Gebruik Van Metafore in Die Narratief Van Trauma Met Verwysing Na Fugitive Pieces

Article excerpt

Abstract

Metaphors of pain: the use of metaphors in trauma narrative with reference to Fugitive pieces This article is a contribution to the recent interdisciplinary discourse between psychoanalysis, trauma theory and narrative by discussing the traumatic experiences of characters in the novel "Fugitive pieces" by Anne Michaels, with a specific focus on the metaphorical style of this novel.

The article addresses the role of metaphor in the memory of trauma while comparing the relation between trauma, narrative and memory with reference to the work of Cathy Caruth, Van der Kolk and Margaret Wilkinson. Recent neurobiological research in the working of the brain during trauma and the insights of Borbelly in the role of metaphor during therapy are discussed.

Insights of Lacan, Modell and Laplanche are integrated with those of psychologists like Knox, Borbelly and Van der Hart to counter arguments against the criticism brought against some of the metaphorical themes in "Fugitive pieces".

Metaphor is seen as one possible way of saying the inexpressible and the progression in the use of metaphor by patient and character alike is seen as one of the signs of healing from trauma.

Opsomming

Hierdie artikel is 'n bydrae tot die resente interdissiplinere diskoers tussen die sielkunde, traumateorie en die letterkunde. Die roman, "Fugitive pieces" deur Anne Michaels, word bespreek met spesifieke verwysing na die gebruik van metafore om onder andere die belewing van trauma uit te beeld.

Die roi van die metafoor in die traumatiese geheue en die verband tussen trauma, die narratief en die herinnerings van die persoon betrokke word bespreek met verwysing na die teorie daaroor deur Cathy Caruth, Van der Kolk, Margaret Wilkinson en andere. Resente insigte van neurobiologiese navorsing oor die werking van die brein gedurende trauma en die insigte van Borbelly oor die roi van die metafoor in die traumatiese geheue word betrek.

Die metafoor word gesien as een van die wyses waarop die aanvanklik onverwoordbare traumatiese ervaring wel oorgedra kan word in die narratief van trauma.

1. Introduction

Reviews of Fugitive pieces (Michaels, 1996) repeatedly refer to the traumatic experiences of the main character, Jakob Beer, his references to these experiences in his autobiographical narration (part of his notes) and the metaphorical, even poetic, language of the text. The author, Ann Michaels, is a well-known Canadian poet.

The primal scene in Fugitive pieces that results in the trauma of Jakob Beer, a seven year-old child of Jewish parents, is the killing of his parents and the abduction of his sister, Bella, by the Nazis while he was hiding in the kitchen cupboard. The notes of his life thereafter form the basis of this novel.

In this article the belated description of Jacob Beer's traumatic experiences, the functions of the metaphorical style of this novel within trauma theory, and the role of metaphor in the memory of trauma is discussed. The article argues that the extensive use of metaphorical language in Fugitive pieces asks for another way of looking at it rather than only from the angle of literary interpretation. It is suggested that the reader could also interpret the use of metaphors from the perspective of the process of trauma, the narrative of trauma and the mind of the traumatised speaker, Jakob Beer, as narrator in this novel.

As Cook (2000) and other reviewers of Fugitive pieces have given ample attention to the literary use of metaphors in this novel, I will emphasise the use of metaphor within the context of the traumatic experience in Fugitive pieces.

Kathryn Robson (2001:115-116) and Gerhard Werner's (2004:246) warning must be heeded that the interdisciplinary response that trauma has provoked in the last two decades, and the breaking-down of disciplinary boundaries, may result in an uncritical adoption of clinical models of trauma, assuming that these models are universally applicable and emphasise the so-called "narrative cure". …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.