Date of Degree

9-2020

Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Liberal Studies

Advisor

Domna Stanton

Subject Categories

Celtic Studies | Creative Writing | English Language and Literature | Nonfiction | Poetry | Psychology | Theory and Philosophy | Women's Studies

Keywords

Intergenerational Trauma, Mothers and daughters, Emigration, Irish History, Celtic Mythology

Abstract

Trauma interrupts the unity and linearity of temporality. Past trauma’s do not remainr relegated to the past, rather they reverberate and resonate in unexpected ways in thepresent. Trauma is the domain of tangled time, flashbacks, repetitions, blind-spots and déjà vu. When creating a narrative, one can either choose to use the past or the present tense, so how might one narrate a life in which the past is still so alive in the present?

I developed an methodology in response to trauma memoirists like Maggie Nelson, Sinéad Gleeson, Olivia Laing and Helen Mc Donald. These writers highlight the role of time in relation to trauma and self. I built on some of the ideas they introduced, and time became the organizing principle around which discussions of rupture, fragmentation, intergenerational, historical, personal and societal trauma could be framed.

In Ordinary Trauma: Notes on Time uses various expressions of the temporal: the ancient pre-Celtic wheel of the year, the liturgical and the Georgian calendars to illustrate how concepts of time and concepts of self both influence and inform each other.

Viewing the traumatic material of my life, shifted my role from victim to conscious observer, enabling me to see that the articulation of trauma is a first step on a journey of healing that may take years, or a lifetime or many lifetimes to complete.

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