Apocalypse And Trauma Are Congruent Ideas English Literature Essay Free Essay

Cormac McCarthy ‘s The Road explores how the devastation of a post-apocalyptic universe and the changeless fright of decease affects individuality, linguistic communication and memory. McCarthy depicts a destroyed civilization, incorporating ‘Good cats ‘ and ‘Bad cats ‘ . The supporters remain moral characters ; the adult male refuses to bury his innate goodness, learning his boy the same values. Conversely, the ‘Bad cats ‘ have resorted to cannibalism ; they have erased the old universe from their heads, and do anything they can to guarantee their endurance. The adult male is likewise combating with the erasure of memories from the past universe, but can non command his dreams and flashbacks which appear to him at random minutes.

Jonathan Safran Foer ‘s novel, Extremely Loud & A ; Incredibly Close explores the after-effects of 9/11, and other traumatic events, such as Hiroshima and Dresden, and the loss of loved 1s. Like The Road, it explores how trauma affects individuality, linguistic communication and memory. Oskar is on a pursuit to happen a lock to suit the key which is associated with his dead male parent. He is therefore populating in the yesteryear, and becomes fixated with happening everyone with the family name ‘Black ‘ . Oskar refuses to wipe out the memory of his male parent death in the towers, whilst fighting with the guilt of non sharing his male parent ‘s last words with anyone. The usage of ocular narrative reinforces how traumatic events are hard to joint with words ; the images are besides symbolic of how 9/11 was represented by the media.

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Foer states his grounds for including ocular narrative, , ‘I [ aˆ¦ ] think utilizing images makes sense for this peculiar book [ aˆ¦ ] because September 11 was the most visually documented event in human history. When we think of those events, we remember certain images – planes traveling into the edifices, people falling, the towers fall ining. That ‘s how we experience it ; that ‘s how we remember it ‘ ( “ Up Close and Personal ” ) . Trauma therefore shattered bing constructions of linguistic communication, since the event was excessively hard to joint into words. The images he uses highlight the experience of a national injury ; when he states that a traumatic event is remembered through images, he is conveying how 9/11 is a corporate memory, since most of the universe was in some manner affected.

An consequence of injury is muteness ; frequently, if something is excessively traumatic, it can non be articulated into words, and sometimes speech can vanish wholly. Mutism as an consequence of injury was seen in many soldiers who fought in the wars, conveying the serious impact which injury can hold on a individual. This thought can be related to Oskar ‘s Grandfather ‘s mutism ; he loses his voice after he loses his first love in the firebombing of Dresden. He communicates through composing messages in his notebook and his erasure of talking signifies an inability to speak truthfully and accurately about past traumatic events. Similarly, Oskar has a signifier of mutism in the sense that he refers to 9/11 as ‘the worst twenty-four hours ‘ and can non speak about it. When Oskar ‘s gramps tries to recover contact with Oskar ‘s grandma, he can merely make so by tapping the Numberss on a phone dial, ‘4, 8, 2, 2, 8! ‘ ( p.270 ) communication hence through noises, non linguistic communication. Furthermore, as Oskar ‘s grandma types, her ‘crummy eyes ‘ ( p.30 ) prevent her from seeing that the thread from her typewriter has gone ; she is therefore typing clean pages about her traumatic experiences from the bombardment of Dresden. The clean pages represent mutism in itself and are symbolic of how linguistic communication is limited when seeking to portray and trauma. Similarly, Oskar ‘s Grandad runs out of infinite when composing down his memories ; the pages finally turn illegible and black conveying how there are excessively many words to depict a traumatic event, ‘Attempts to animate linguistically one ‘s traumatic histories are doomed to stop either in the emptiness of the clean page or in entire blackness’- quotation mark from Philomela Revisited: Traumatic Iconicity in Jonathan Safran Foer ‘s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Clos. The words on the page become muddled, and are piled on top of each other ; they can non be expressed coherently, conveying how his ideas are literally blocked from both the reader and from himself. Therefore, his memories become distorted as a consequence of injury, and the constructions of linguistic communication are accordingly shattered. Interestingly, the inkiness on the pages here besides symbolises the ‘Black ‘ whom Oskar is seeking to happen.

Traumatic memory is therefore disconnected and depicted visually, looking as images in the head and memory. Narrative memory, conversely, orders experiences into a rational and additive sequence, yet this seems a false representation of injury. ‘When people are exposed to trauma… they experience “ dumb panic ” . The experience can non be organised on a lingual degree, and this failure to set up the memory in words and symbols leaves it to be organised on a somatosensory or iconic degree ‘ ( last article in faves ) . Traumatic experiences are therefore stored in the memory in the signifier of images instead than words, which is what Foer is exemplifying through his novel. For illustration, ‘Children traumatised by war, for illustration, can non perchance attest about their experiences, except in the signifier of drawings ‘

Similarly, the perennial images of the falling adult male throughout the fresh service as a reminder that linguistic communication is non necessary ; ocular images convey trauma more efficaciously, whilst underscoring how Oskar can non wipe out this image from his memory ; it still haunts him. Oskar even reverses the sequence of the falling adult male images in his flipbook to ‘undo ‘ the calamity, ‘I reversed the order, so that the last 1 was foremost, and the first was last. When I flipped through them, it looked like the adult male was drifting up through the sky. ‘ ( p.325 ) He wants to wipe out the whole event through change by reversaling it, which shows his refusal to travel forwards. Therefore, despite the terminal of Oskar ‘s quest ; the injury is still prevailing and devouring his individuality, ‘I found it [ the lock ] and now I ‘ll have on heavy boots for the remainder of my life ‘ p.302 ; he thought that happening out about his pa ‘s concluding proceedingss would free him of the injury. Oskar even imagines the falling adult male may be his male parent since he needs closing, ‘I want to halt inventing. If I could cognize how he died. Precisely how he died, I would n’t hold to contrive him deceasing ‘ ( p.257 ) but since Oskar will ne’er cognize this, it emphasises the irreversibility of the past and impossibleness of closing for Oskar. Trauma will go on to devour him until he accepts that he needs to seek and travel frontward.

Similarly, in The Road, the construction of linguistic communication is broken down. Kofman argues that injury must be conveyed in some signifier, even if it is about impossible, ‘To speak: it is necessary – without the power: without leting linguistic communication, excessively powerful, autonomous, to get the hang the aporetic state of affairs ‘ . She believes we need to halt processing and deriving control of linguistic communication to efficaciously convey injury. McCarthy hardly uses punctuation in the novel, ‘wasnt ‘ ( p.107 ) which may mean a loss of significance, yet punctuation is non needed in this post-apocalyptic universe ; it is fiddling and non indispensable for endurance. The deficiency of grammatical construction creates a narrative which is bare and stripped to nothingness ; reflective of the novel ‘s scene. Furthermore, the deficiency of intermissions depict the supporters ceaseless fillet, and the on-going ferociousness which they endure, ‘They left the expressway and took a narrow route through the state and came at last upon a span and a dry brook and they crawled down the bank and huddled underneath ‘ ( p. 134 ) . There are no commas used here, doing the sentence hard to read aloud in one breath, which emphasises the battle which the adult male and male child are digesting. The male child besides ‘Sat watching everything ‘ ( p.16 ) ; observation is indispensable for the male child, since one twenty-four hours, he may hold to make everything on his ain. Furthermore, this conveys how the ocular is once more more powerful than linguistic communication ; the male child is larning through illustration and since images are what stay in our memory, the male child can look back to his male parent ‘s actions for his endurance in ulterior life.

Furthermore, the dislocation in the conventional construction of linguistic communication is synonymous with the erasure of memory. The adult male and male child ne’er speak about the apocalypse or the injury they experienced in the past ; everything is merely accepted. The injury of the catastrophe is therefore preventing linguistic communication ; it can non be expressed into words. Through non speaking about it, their memories will bit by bit be erased or repressed, ‘The apocalypse, like injury, causes losingss in memory ‘ . Harmonizing to Freud, ‘People “ repress ” painful memories deep into their unconscious head ‘ . However, repressed memories ever return at some point, frequently at random times, ‘The return of the repressed is the procedure whereby repressed elements, preserved in the unconscious, be given to re-emerge, in consciousness or in behaviour ‘

In The Road, the adult male ‘s flashbacks and dreams of the past universe are memories which are being brought to consciousness. His flashbacks ne’er refer in item to what caused the apocalypse, conveying their pent-up nature, but he does retrieve the conversation before his married woman committed self-destruction, ‘I ‘d take him with me if it were n’t for you ‘ . Since this memory is traumatic for him, he tries to retrieve happier times from the past universe, ‘A forest fire… the coloring material of it moved something in him long forgotten. Make a list. Declaim a litany. Remember ‘ ( P.31 ) . The adult male is stating himself to seek and retrieve felicity ; he does non desire this new black universe to devour him wholly.

Similarly, in Extremely Loud, past feelings of trauma return to Oskar when he enters his Grandmother ‘s house and can non happen her, ‘She ‘d had a bosom onslaught. Person had pushed her onto the paths ‘ P.235. His head gets carried off due to past frights being reignited. This links to the thought of injury coming back to stalk a individual at random times, or at periods when they feel uncomfortable, Cathy Caruth provinces, ‘The overpowering events of the past repeatedly possess, in intrusive images and ideas, the 1 who has lived through them ‘ . ‘Introduction ‘ , in idem ( ed. ) , Trauma: Explorations in memory, p. 151. Oskar farther feels this fright when he is on the Empire State Building ; ‘The whole clip I was conceive ofing a plane coming at the edifice… I did n’t desire to, but I could n’t halt ‘ ( p.244 ) Therefore, he is combating with his emotions and desiring to wipe out the memory of the plane traveling into the duplicate towers ; it was broadcasted repeatedly by the media, which is why Oskar finds it hard to wipe out from his memory ; the ocular images from the yesteryear are still stalking his nowadays. Furthermore, Abby Black ‘s face ‘Face came improbably near to my face… I thought about the falling organic structure ‘ ( p.97 ) . Memory hence overwhelms and becomes something one suffers from without being able to command. Humans therefore concept causes and effects of experiences so we understand why something has happened and how it links to what is go oning in the present. However, the ground Oskar can non understand the 9/11 onslaughts and his pa ‘s decease is because the event overwhelmed him to such an extent that his narrative capacity was accordingly challenged.

LaCapra states that ‘Trauma victims frequently repeat the traumatic event in their heads, since they can ne’er bury what has happened to them ‘ . Therefore, Oskar ‘s repeat of ‘heavy boots ‘ throughout the novel is a consequence of his injury. The fact he kept re-playing his pa ‘s reply phone messages, ‘I listened to them, and listened to them once more ‘ ( p.15 ) conveys the guilt he feels for non sharing these messages with anyone ; this has created farther injury for him, ‘That secret was a hole in the center of me that every happy thing fell into ‘ ( p.71 ) . He attempts to wipe out this memory and guilt through ‘bruising ‘ himself and believing up innovations. Oskar farther believes that he should still experience hard-pressed, ‘I did n’t see why I needed aid, because it seemed to me that you should have on heavy boots when your pa dies ‘ ( p.200 ) . Even though old ages have passed, Oskar is populating in the yesteryear and non able to wipe out the injury of his pa ‘s decease from his memory.

The usage of repeat is besides conveyed through the ocular narration ; images and constructions of typography are frequently repeated throughout. Foer depicts broken up sentences as Oskar can non hear his Dendranthema grandifloruom and healer clearly, ‘Do n’t know-a problem-you? -I do n’t ‘ ( P.203-7 ) This atomization is brooding of trauma itself ; whilst narrative attempts to do sense of the universe, and take control, trauma involves eviction and interrupting things up. Narrative is therefore working against injury, which is emphasised through the ocular text on the page. Uyterschout provinces, ‘As authorship fails, ocular elements provide an equal replacing of that which has to stay unexpressed and unwritten ‘ ( 71 ) Therefore, the ocular narration throughout the fresh serves as a powerful reminder that trauma interruptions down bing constructions of linguistic communication, and can accordingly impact our memories.

The erasure of memories is besides a effect of the erasure of individuality. In The Road, the adult male and male child are non named, conveying a loss of individuality ; the male parent is a populating memory/ghost of the yesteryear and he is maintaining the old universe and its memories in the yesteryear. He does non even recognize ego in mirror, ‘They came upon themselves in the mirror and he about raised the handgun ‘ ( P.139 ) . The adult male comes from an foreign universe to the male child, ‘Maybe he understood for the first clip that to the male child he was himself an foreigner. A being from a planet that no longer existed ‘ ( p.163 ) . The adult male is therefore accommodating to this new universe, whilst seeking to learn the male child the values and constructions of the old universe that he used to populate ; he does non desire to wipe out all memories of the yesteryear.

Furthermore, the adult male finds many artifacts of his old civilisation, and accordingly realises how mercenary the past universe was, yet he is hesitating to to the full allow travel of his fond regard to them. This reluctance highlights his trouble in specifying himself within this new universe which is deprived of mercenary points, conveying how the old universe made people superficial. This new traumatic universe has shattered his old individuality, yet he is still cleaving on to facets of his yesteryear. The male child, conversely, represents the new universe and therefore the individuality which is being demanded ; he shows little care about his male parent ‘s memories, and alternatively focal points on what is left in this new universe. When the adult male ‘withdrew his manus easy and sat looking at a Coca Cola ‘ ( p.22 ) , this image conveys how objects, non linguistic communication, revive memories. The coca Cola can symbolize the old universe and when the male child asks his male parent, ‘I wont of all time acquire to imbibe another one? ‘ ( p.23 ) , it highlights the compete erasure of the past universe ; things will non be produced in this new universe, merely consumed. Furthermore, when the male parent responds, ‘Ever ‘s a long clip ‘ ( p.23 ) , this is once more underscoring his reluctance to allow travel of his old society ; it serves as a affecting symbol of his past life.

Furthermore, when the male parent asks his boy, ‘Dont you want to see where I used to populate? ‘ ( p.25 ) the boy says, ‘No ‘ ; he does non care, as he ne’er lived in that universe, so can non sympathize. As the male parent goes into the house he ‘Pushed open the cupboard door half anticipating to happen his childhood things ‘ ( p.26-7 ) , he finds emptiness, which is symbolic of how he feels in this new universe ; the adult male has to now happen new things to place himself with. He is sing a changeless conflict between his new individuality and seeking to bury the past universe and its mercenary gear, whilst seeking to keep on to some of the of import facets of the old universe, such as morality. The impression of the adult male learning his boy good values links back to get downing of clip ; story-telling and unwritten tradition convey how the adult male is still seeking to maintain parts of the past universe alive. Through transfusing in his boy all the old good lesson values, the male child can maintain these alive and there is a possibility of go throughing them onto future coevalss, which generates a sense of hope. This contradicts the impression that trauma leads to the definite erasure of memory ; the male parent wants wipe out the traumatic event, and this is achieved through non talking about it ; but he does non wholly erase yesteryear memories, since he wants to keep his morality.

The individuality of the old universe itself has besides been shattered as a consequence of the apocalypse ; it now has a new individuality, one where the intent of morality and civilization has changed. There is no authorities or regulations ; everyone is out for themselves and accordingly, people ‘s ethical motives have changed and civilization is broken down. The gap lines introduce loss of significance in the universe, ‘Night dark beyond darkness and the yearss more grey each 1 that what had gone earlier ‘ ( p.1 ) . The universe is literally diping off from the yesteryear, reflected by the baleful blackening throughout. The male child ‘s female parent killing herself can besides be symbolic of female parent Earth deceasing out ; there is no pastoral imagination and the fertile yesteryear has gone. The female parent selfishly chooses the comfort of decease alternatively of maintaining hope: ‘I should hold done it a long clip ago ‘ ( p. 57 ) . Conversely, the male child ‘s male parent believes he has a duty to uphold morality in this corrupt new universe, ‘We ‘re subsisters he told her across the fire of the lamp ‘ ( p. 57 ) . The fire represents the little fire of humanity ‘s moral compass, which the male parent and boy are transporting. While the female parent sees decease as an flight from this atrocious universe, the male parent sees decease as something that will snuff out the fire that he and his boy are transporting.

The loss of individuality is besides explored through consuming, which is depicted by the man-eaters. Peoples have reversed back to a crude province, and go animalistic. A group of man-eaters have locked people up, easy eating them, ‘On the mattress lay a adult male with his legs gone and the stumps of them blackened and burned ‘ ( P.116 ) , underscoring how consuming is all these people care about. However, this is non necessary to last ; the adult male an male child are illustrations of this ; the man-eaters are selfish and heartless, and have lost all morality and human compassion. Conversely, the male child asks his male parent, ‘Why would they hold to make that? ‘ ( p.127 ) sing the man-eaters, foregrounding the male child ‘s morality. He was born into this new universe, and therefore is non corrupted, meaning hope for the hereafter of this new universe. The male child ‘s compassionate nature is once more highlighted when he insists on assisting Ely, ‘He could eat with us ‘ ( p. 175 ) despite being low on nutrient ; he therefore sacrifices his huger to assist others. McCarthy stresses the importance of ethical motives to our individualities, conveying how finally, our actions, whether moral or amoral, are all we have to truly identify ourselves and our humanity.

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