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Spaces of Expression and Repression in Post-Millennial North-American Literature and Visual Culture

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Edited By Izabella Kimak and Julia Nikiel

The essays included in this book offer an overview of literary works, films, TV series, and computer games, which reflect current social and political developments since the beginning of this century. The contributions intend to x-ray the most crucial aspects of contemporary North-American literature and culture. Addressing a variety of media, the authors of the essays probe the many ways in which repression and expression are the primary keywords for understanding contemporary American life and culture.

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Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma in Tracy Letts’s August: Osage County (Ewelina Feldman-Kołodziejuk)

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Ewelina Feldman-Kołodziejuk

Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma in Tracy Letts’s August: Osage County

Abstract: The article analyses August: Osage County through the prism of psychological theories pertaining to the intergenerational cycle of trauma and violence and aims to manifest how well grounded in these theories the discussed play is.

Keywords: intergenerational transmission, trauma, cycle of violence, motherhood, mother-daughter relationship.

The recipient of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Tracy Letts’s August: Osage County is a poignant play that has gained worldwide popularity thanks to its 2013 film adaptation, directed by John Wells and starring a great many acclaimed actors. August: Osage County unravels the story of the distressed Weston family. The sudden disappearance of Beverly Weston, the father, forces his three daughters to come back to their family home and confront their terminally ill and drug dependent mother, Violet Weston. In the climax scene at Beverly’s wake, for it turns out that he committed suicide, the family dinner converts into a bona fide battlefield. Graphic details of Violet’s tragic childhood are revealed and her long-felt disappointment with her daughters is overtly vocalized. Her borderline behavior and sudden mood swings make her recurrent dependence on pills so conspicuous that, consequently, the Weston girls have no choice but engage once more in acting out a well-known scenario of coercing their mother into going into rehab.

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