Travelling in Time and Space in Literature in English
Edited By Liliana Sikorska
Untold stories: Reclaiming the past through (auto-biographical) narratives Liliana Sikorska, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan/University of Social Sciences, Warsaw
Liliana Sikorska, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań/University of Social Sciences, Warsaw
In memory of Stefan Strzelczyk (1913-2003)
In Sorayya Khan’s first novel Noor (published in Pakistan in 2003 and in 2006 in the USA), a young girl with Down’s Syndrome, instead of learning how to read and write, begins to paint. Her crude paintings bring back memories of a forgotten war between West and East Pakistan, the war which left her mother an orphan and her adoptive grandfather permanently psychologically scarred. Viewing Noor’s pictures, the two adults, Sajida and her adoptive father Ali, reclaim the past, which hitherto had existed in dreams, utterances in a long lost language, in images and memories both of them wanted to wipe out. In my own home, my grandfather also carried the trauma of war, the Second World War. His stories furnished my childhood with two contrastive images of the Germans, a humane and caring one and the inhuman and violent one. Using the works of Cathy Caruth and Shoshana Felman on trauma and witnessing, the present paper concerns the healing possibilities of fictional and (auto)biographical narratives.
Cathy Caruth reminds us that trauma is a “‘wound’, originally referring to an injury inflicted on a body” (Caruth 1996: 3), but in Freud’s texts, as well as in more contemporary sources, trauma is always an injury wreaked on the mind. Still, it is not simply a wounded psyche, but “…always the story of a wound that...
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