Trauma and the psychological grotesque in the novels of Laura Hendrie, Laura Kasischke, and Gloria Naylor

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dc.contributor.advisor McBride, Kecia Driver, 1966- en_US Bliss, Adrienne L. en_US 2011-06-03T19:23:18Z 2011-06-03T19:23:18Z 2005 en_US 2005
dc.identifier LD2489.Z68 2005 .B59 en_US
dc.description.abstract This research uses the interpretive framework of the Psychological Grotesque to address a protagonist's response when she is unable to integrate the experience of interpersonal trauma into her psyche. The framework reveals a survival mechanism, identity incorporation, with roots in the transgressive and evolutionary nature of the grotesque as discussed in the work of Mikhail Bakhtin, Mary Douglas and Leonard Cassuto. The psychological grotesque is explicated using Stvgo by Laura Hendrie, The Life Before Her Eyes, by Laura Kasischke, and Linden Hills by Gloria Naylor.The psychological grotesque reveals how the protagonist within each of these novels, when positioned within a specific matrix of contributing factors engages in flawed survival strategies to reconcile psychic fragmentation. Drawing on theories of trauma from the work of Bessel Van Der Kolk, Dori Laub, Sigmund Freud, Mardi Horowitz, Ronnie Janoff-Bulman, Laurie Vickroy, Cathy Caruth, Peter Woods and Tim Middleton, the definition of the matrix includes: interpersonal trauma, prior history of emotional problems, no social support network, and self-perceived complicity in the violence. Where these criteria are present, the protagonist is incapable of achieving the repair of her damaged psyche in order to reintegrate into society and relief from the pain of trauma. In an effort to repair her brokeness through the incorporation of parts of the identity of others, the protagonist creates a grotesque mental hybrid living in fractured time. The protagonist experiences destabilization of time due to incorporating the temporal perspective of the other identities. A flawed survival strategy, identity incorporation leads to further psychic fragmentation.The psychological grotesque takes up the challenge of communicating the effects of trauma and addresses the lack of a literary interpretive mechanism for trauma literature in which a critical component of the narrative is the story of female victims of interpersonal violence. This framework confronts the fact that representations of women and trauma are problematic due to how trauma resists linguistic representation and because women have historically been denied a voice in the canon. Therefore, by drawing on elements of the grotesque, specifically hybridity and transgression, this interpretive framework recuperates the experiences of traumatized protagonists. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Department of English
dc.format.extent iv, 270 leaves ; 28 cm. en_US
dc.source Virtual Press en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Grotesque in literature. en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Psychic trauma in literature. en_US
dc.subject.other Hendrie, Laura, 1954- Stygo. en_US
dc.subject.other Kasischke, Laura, 1961- Life before her eyes. en_US
dc.subject.other Naylor, Gloria. Linden Hills. en_US
dc.title Trauma and the psychological grotesque in the novels of Laura Hendrie, Laura Kasischke, and Gloria Naylor en_US Thesis (Ph. D.) en_US
dc.identifier.cardcat-url en_US

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  • Doctoral Dissertations [3134]
    Doctoral dissertations submitted to the Graduate School by Ball State University doctoral candidates in partial fulfillment of degree requirements.

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