Tim Winton’s short story, ‘The Water Was Dark and it Went Forever Down’, depicts a nameless, adolescent girl who is battling the voices inside her head along with the powerful punishments at the hands of her inebriated mother. The key concerns of life and death are portrayed through the girl’s viewpoint as she compares her life with her sad, depressed mother. Anonymous as she is, the girl constantly makes an attempt to escape the outbursts, that come as a result to her mother’s drinking, by submerging herself into the water. An extended metaphor is used when expressing the girl as a machine and her will to continue surviving in her sombre life.
Bruce Dawe, a well-known Australian poet, writes about a variety of topics, including death, suicide, cruelty and apathy of society, destruction of the environment, prejudice and the senselessness of war. Dawe uses vivid visual and aural poetic techniques to express his emotions towards the theme of the poem. This helps the reader grasp a better understanding of what Dawe is writing about. The poems being discussed are his poem ‘Life Cycle’ which describes the life of being like an AFL player; the poem ‘Soliloquy for One Dead’ known as a very emotive poem, which deals with the thought of loss and the feeling of grief and lastly, ‘Planning a Time Capsule’ discussing the views Dawe has on what humans are doing to the environment.
For this essay, I am going to be discussing the short story “Swimming” found on the New Yorker, and written by T. Cooper. I have chosen this story for many reasons, and among those reasons is the personal sadness I felt when I first read the story, almost as if the universe was placing a certain theme in my life, that only the main character could possibly understand. I am talking about running, the god given instinct felt by all men, inherent in the nature of fear, and brought out in all who feel sadness in its full intensity. Though in my short life I can not compare the sadness I have felt with that of losing a child at my own hand, but if I had been placed in that situation, if fate had tempted my soul with such a sequence of events, I would like to think I could find the strength to endure and the courage to not abandon all I had previously known. Yet I am able to reconcile the themes of grief, the mode of recovery, and the longing to escape such a terrible tale. I think in this piece, as I will discuss in later parts, the author was able to put into words a transformation we rarely get to observe in closeness, the kind of transformation that turns a kind man into a “just man” the kind of death that turns this world from a beautiful and happy place into a world that is closing in on our main character, that is forcing him to surface temporarily and gasp for air, much like he does when he finds peace in the water, wading breath after air, after sea. I firmly believe that
Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” album has entered the cultural norm as a contemporary masterpiece of art, but it also continues to be an excellent vehicle for the analysis of the results of mental trauma in modern society. Inspired by the personal life of Roger Waters, the band’s bass guitarist and lyricist, “The Wall” tells the narrative of a fictional character named Pink. Pink’s life is full of misfortunes associated with the development of a post WWII society, and the album shows that inability of humanity to rationalize with modern existence. By creating a figurative, mental wall Pink shelters his psyche, or self, from the horrors of the outside world, but also abandons his humanity. Through the psychoanalytical work of Sigmund Freud, Pink’s wall can be justifiably built by the early death of his father, abusive school teachers, and his unique Oedipus complex.
In the memoir A Long Way Gone, author Ishmael Beah describes his survival journey as a lost child in his country, because of the civil war in Sierra Leone, then becoming a child soldier facing war daily, afterward the process that Beah went through during rehabilitation and finally in fear escaping the civil war. Ishmael Beah emotional journey has three stages of development in which Beah utilized music. In the first stage, Beah uses music as a survival mechanism to keep sane and safe. In the second stage, begins when he loses his brother and friends, Beah reaches the lowest point with the loss of his entire family again, some friends, music, and being forced to join the war. In the final stage, is the process of rehabilitation where Beah connects with music once again. Ishmael Beah exposure to music at a young age stayed with him throughout his life. (Beah, 2007, p. 5-218)
Grief is most strongly thwarted by the power of reconciliation. Rather than fighting against and antagonising flawed relationships that induce suffering, it is more desirable to forgive and harbour no grudges; effectively bringing an end to the trauma. Fish’s spiritual affliction is appeased this way. Prior to Fish’s transcendence, he was traumatised by the abundance of anguish within Cloudstreet due to his superior
From the creation of harmonies to singing to instruments, music has been an abstract form of human expression. Although an auditory collection of pitches and volumes, musicians can manipulate the same notes and bring them alive for their audiences. The true emotion and energy that’s felt in music really comes from the player as feelings are transferred to and through the listener. This interaction between performer and the house is catharsis, the complete release of strong repressed emotions. Thanks to the musician, music has the ability to grasp people and cause them to sense emotions and feelings without lyrics or images even being necessary. Although it’s believed we can only hear with our ears, something about music makes it emotionally if not physically tangible. In James Baldwin’s short story “Sonny’s Blues,” a narrator certainly unaware of the impact of music invites himself to experience jazz for the first time. Baldwin uses the final scene of his story to argue that music has an effect on those who are able to experience it. Baldwin does this in one single moment by letting the fixed, practical minded, “well-intentioned” narrator experience catharsis from jazz as his growing, free-spirited brother communicates with him through jazz.
Music has always been regarded as an art of high importance. The word itself originates from the Greek word mousike meaning “of the muses”, the group of nine Greek Goddesses who regulate the arts and sciences. It has often been used as a way to heal mental and emotional pain; “music speaks directly to the body through intuitive channels that are accessed at entirely different levels of consciousness from those associated with cognition” (The Music Effect.24). In Jan Johnson’s Soul Wound, Johnson discusses the historical trauma of Native Americans and the rage that is associated with it. This rage, as she later states, “is generally turned inward and expressed through depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and suicide, and manifested externally within families and communities through domestic and other forms of violence” (Johnson.226-227). In Wabanaki Blues by Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel we see this rage internalized and portrayed in the depression of both Mona and her mother and depicted in their family dynamic through the neglect of Mona’s mother towards Mona. Mona, as well as other characters in the book, utilize music as a form of therapy to heal the soul. The characters in Wabanaki Blues utilize music to heal in ways that parallels Bob Marley’s Redemption Song and the Rastafarian religion.
One of the literary scholars that have explored the “loophole of retreat” as a metaphorical space is Miranda A. Green-Barret, an assistant professor at the University of Western Ontario. Green-Barret argues that the loophole of retreat can also serve as an interstitial space or a space that exists in between a binary that often seems unnatural. In Incidents, this space is interstitial because Linda Brent is in between the binary of bound and free. As Green-Barret states, “In the garret, Jacobs’s life itself comes to be interstitial as she is neither one thing nor another—she is neither free nor enslaved, neither able to mother her children nor removed from their lives, neither subject to her master’s tyranny nor completely safe from his threats.” (54) While other texts like Toni Morrison’s short story “Recitatif” explores interstitial spaces, like the interstitial space in between black and white, Green-Barteet presents an interesting dynamic because not only is the “loophole of retreat” a figurative interstitial space, it is also a literal space (53). In addition, Green-Barteet argues that, “Jacobs also seems to envision her narrative as [an interstitial space]” which empowers her to speak to a host of audiences. (54) From there,
As humans, we are granted experiences that both enrich and alienate us; bits of our lives are taken from us but others are added to make us whole. Though, sometimes, we are taken from the bits of our lives, and have to
Reading this book has been interesting and heartbreaking experience. A Year of Magical Thinking, a journey through the grieving process. While dealing with the death of her husband, she is confronted with the sickness of her only child. This book touches me, and it makes me think of what would happen if my loved one died. This paper is a reflection of my thoughts and feelings about this woman’s journey that has been explored by book and video. I will also explore the author’s adjustment process, and how she views her changed self.
Each person experiences loss and the pain and grief that coincides with it at some point in their life. Often times, these people gain a new outlook on life, and begin to see the world differently. People change as a result of pain; they think and act differently. Margaret Atwood utilizes characterization through Verna’s presentation, thoughts, and actions in “Stone Mattress” to show that pain changes people.
Repression of memories is a psychological concept that has haunted modern psychology for years. Repression of memories also known as “rememory” defined by the mind pushing away traumatic or shocking experiences into a dark corner of a person’s unconscious. As this idea developed and began to be studied more thoroughly, slavery became an institution in which researchers saw promise in drawing conclusions about the dangers of repressing memories. In Toni Morrison’s novel, Beloved, the character narratives of Paul D and Sethe exemplify the dangers of repressing memories. Both disconnect from and push away unwanted emotional traumas or experiences from their past. However, this effort doesn’t pay off and their repression of memories is not successful. Through the use of symbols such as Paul D’s tobacco tin and Sethe’s scars and lost child, Morrison demonstrates how repression of the past isn’t effective and how it always comes back to haunt a person who doesn’t correctly cope with their trauma. Paul D and Sethe live unfulfilled lives as a result of repressed memories.
In Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss gives life to The Four Corners of Civilization through his storytelling. Storytelling gives the author an opportunity to show their experiences and reflect their beliefs within the world they are creating. During the time this book was being written, there was the Iraq and Afghanistan War taking place which had been sending many soldiers back home with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Rothfuss parallels this disorder within his book through the main character, Kvothe, when he experiences trauma and he shows how Kvothe copes with the persisting trauma through grief theory, “four doors of the mind” (135) . His four doors of the mind is similar to the Kubler-Ross Model, which is widely accepted by practitioners, but challenges it by believing the mind copes with pain through the central idea of numbing. However, this mindset of categorizing emotions experienced within grief can be destructive behavior towards any griever rather than helping them cope; stages of post-loss grief do not exist.
George Saunders, throughout his collection of short stories, CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, explores the lives of fictional characters through episodes of economic hardship, love lost, death, and disillusionment with the powers in place. He presents his ideas in a demented and dark way hoping to capture the reader’s attention to our own world around us. In “Offloading for Mrs. Schwartz”, the narrator and main character runs a virtual reality store that makes it possible to erase memories through “offloading” and the resulting memory-modules can serve as entertainment for others. Throughout the story, the narrator is filled with grief and guilt over the death of his