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Trauma and Literature: Process Log 02
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- Chirag Mehta
- Trauma and Literature
- Prof. Martin J. Gliserman
- 04 Feb. 2003
Trauma and Literature: Process Log 02
Trauma as depicted in Original Bliss compared to Beloved:
How different is the plight of a black slave brutally tortured in the 1870s from the loneliness that haunts a seemingly well-provided woman of the 20th century? Two hundred years ago, A. L. Kennedy's Mrs. Brindle would have been the envy of many a slave woman, and quite possibly have been content of her physical and emotional well-being. Two centuries into the future, a black woman that kills her own child would still make front-page news, quite likely all across the world. It seems that with time, side-by-side with technological progress, social tolerance, and educational enlightenment, trauma has accumulated and continues to find new ways to bond the unfortunate ones. Whilst a mere century ago, when emotional deficits nevertheless pervaded and depressed the few thoughtful minds, the commoner felt fortunate enough just to be breathing, feeding, and breeding. Albeit one does not need education to interpret and realize the grieving mind's sorrows, those were the times when mental anguish was not the most disturbing of the miseries.
Trauma is a suffering of the mind resulting from physical and mental turmoil. In the past hunger, epidemics, wars, and genocides fueled the public trauma, but with the advent of democracies and market economics, the standard of living rose in many countries. It is in these nations that the formerly stifled (more often than not eclipsed by physical agonies) emotional trauma has finally surfaced and is taking its toll on the supposedly providential mass. For a sixteen year old cheerleader in New Jersey, being excluded from an informal cheerleader meeting could be so traumatic that she vehemently contemplates suicide. And after being savagely raped by four men for three months, a sixteen year old Bangladeshi girl still clings on to life; perchance she gets an opportunity to escape. While the cheerleader may seem to have ended her life for a pathetically trifling excuse, the fact is, she felt that she was suffering so much that it was better to die than to live. She was being a selfish judge of her trauma. The rape victim felt otherwise, and hoped she would live through these hardships and wake up to a better tomorrow. The reason why one gave up and the other did not, was not the magnitude of the trauma, but the element of hope. Without hope, both of have given up. So now the question is, do the sufferings of the privileged differ from the sorrows of the impoverished, not considering the strong positive influences of an optimistic mind?
The lyrics of the following popular song suggest that there is a difference; the rich whine for no reason:
Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous - by Good Charlotte
Always see it on TV,
Or read it in the magazines,
Celebrities want sympathy.
All they do is piss and moan,
Inside the rolling stone,
Talkin' about how hard life can be.
I'd like to see them spend a week,
Livin' life out on the street.
I don't think they would survive.
If they could spend a day or two,
Walkin' in someone else's shoes,
I think they'd stumble and they'd fall,
They would fall...
Lifestyles of the rich and the famous...
They're always complainin'.
If money is such a problem,
Well they've got mansions,
Think we should rob them.