Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.
Non-UMass Amherst users, please click the view more button below to purchase a copy of this dissertation from Proquest.
(Some titles may also be available free of charge in our Open Access Dissertation Collection, so please check there first.)
Dreaming the unspeakable: Hemingway and O'Brien's soldier narratives and the traumatic landscape
From Vietnam rap groups in the 70s to the popularity of 12 step programs in the 90s, it has been established that telling one's story to a sympathetic audience can help bring about recovery. However, these groups are closed circles. People who have experienced trauma can communicate with one another because they have a common reference. In their memories are images and visceral experiences they can access to help them understand the experience of fellow survivors. But trauma survivors often feel paralyzed communicating to those who have not been initiated into violence. Because trauma is experienced and remembered differently from the non-traumatic, it must be communicated differently. This study involves one form of that communication: the soldier narrative. By using the combat stories of Ernest Hemingway and Tim O'Brien as an entree, I will explore how these authors created a particular narrative for trauma. Both authors use a style that borrows from the experience of dreaming. This seemingly illogical world of the dream parallels the mind and body's reaction to trauma. By understanding why these authors connected dream narrative to trauma narrative, we can better understand the unique ways combat violates narrative and psyche. Although my analysis will be based on literature, I will be using sociological and psychiatric studies of the military to understand how combat is experienced, particularly through the condition of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and the challenges inherent in communicating it. I will show how the dream in literature is not just a way to perform character analyses, but a viable alternative narrative for conveying the experience of trauma.
Kingstone, Lisa Simone, "Dreaming the unspeakable: Hemingway and O'Brien's soldier narratives and the traumatic landscape" (1999). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9932322.