Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/170777
Title: THE "BEARABILITY" OF RE-READING HISTORICAL REPRESENTATIONS OF FEMININE TRAUMA
Authors: TAY HUI EN ADELINE
Issue Date: 13-Apr-2020
Citation: TAY HUI EN ADELINE (2020-04-13). THE "BEARABILITY" OF RE-READING HISTORICAL REPRESENTATIONS OF FEMININE TRAUMA. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This thesis is concerned with historical representations of feminine trauma and how it has impacted the way readers recognize and validate certain forms of it. It attempts to contribute to trauma studies by revising the predominant Caruthian model of “unspeakable” trauma. My argument does not refute the “unspeakability” of trauma, but nuances Caruth’s model by accounting for whose articulation is privileged. By first analysing Alan Resnais’ Hiroshima mon amor (1959) and Pauline Reage’s The Story of O (1954) which were significant in the “erotisme noir” genre that emerged after WWII, I observe how feminine trauma has been exploited as a fetishized spectacle. These texts objectified the pain of female victims to narrativize historical atrocities in WWII in a more pleasurable and palatable way. The narration of collective trauma was privileged over the articulation of women’s experiences that were “traded-off” and silenced. These “empty” representations curated female victims to cater to the gaze of the post-WWII audience and inadvertently inscribed women as repositories of pain and lack. The latter half of my argument recognizes such “inherited” representations that naturalize sexist constructions of femininity as the cause of secondary “traumatic consequences”. Using Greg Forter’s theory of “non-punctual trauma”, I suggest that we must cultivate a way of reading that recognizes “muter” forms of gendered trauma that have previously been unnoticed because they lack the spectacular “shock” that feminine trauma has been associated with. This can be done by re-reading texts that were deemed “sexist” in a bid to deconstruct and visibilize the mechanisms that produce these “traumatizing” gendered dysfunctions. Thus, I will demonstrate such a reading using Milan Kundera’s Unbearable Lightness of Being (1984) in hopes of rehabilitating the gaze of a feminine reader who can reckon with the violence within such representations with fascination instead of fear, thus making them “bearable”.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/170777
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses

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