پایان نامه رشته زبان انگلیسی : Investigating Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms and Recovery In Kurt Vonnegut’s Novel: A Psychoanalytical Reading of Slaughterhouse-Five

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عنوان : پایان نامه رشته زبان انگلیسی : Investigating Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms and Recovery In Kurt Vonnegut’s Novel:

A Psychoanalytical Reading of Slaughterhouse-Five

 

Islamic Azad University

CentralTehran Branch

Faculty of Foreign Languages – Department of English

M.A Thesis

On English Language and Literature

Subject:

Investigating Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms and Recovery In Kurt Vonnegut’s Novel:

A Psychoanalytical Reading of Slaughterhouse-Five

 

Supervisor:

Dr. BakhtiarSadjadi

Reader:

Dr. Kian Soheil

Fall 2013

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Abstract

The present thesis seeks to critically read Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Fivein terms of Judith Herman’s surveys and categorization on post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms as well as the steps essential to be taken for the recovery from this disorder. The present study is an attempt to analyze the conflict between the will to deny horrible events experienced by the protagonists of the novel in World War II and the will to proclaim them aloud. The psychological distress symptoms such as the inability to sleep, lack of concentration, flashbacks and state of surrender are explored in the narrator and Billy Pilgrim as the two figures who are suffering from PTSD. These symptoms are analyzed in a way to call attention to the existence of unspeakable secret and simultaneously as means to deflect attention from it. The protagonists are both subjected to the dialectic of trauma since they find it difficult to remain clearheaded, to see more than a few fragments of the picture at one time, and to retain all the pieces and to fit them together. It is even more difficult to find a language that conveys persuasively what they have seen. This thesis attempts to explore the stages of recovery suggested by Judith Herman in the main characters of the novel: the fundamental stages of establishing safety, reconstructing the trauma story and restoring the connection between the protagonist and their community, a connection which carries their mission for the future generations. By tracing these features in the novel, the present study helps with the more understanding of the stories told by the survivors which appear in a highly fragmented manner.

Key Words: Hyperarousal, intrusion,constriction, dialectics of trauma, safety, remembrance and mourning, reconnection.

Table of Contents

Chapter One: The Problem, Argument, and Framework: An Introduction

1.1 General Background……………………………………………………………………………….. 2

1.2 Statement of the Problem ……………………………………………………………………….. 4

1.3 Objectives Significance of the Study………………………………………………………. 4

1.3.1 Hypothesis…………………………………………………………………………………….. 4

1.3.2 Significance of the Study……………………………………………………………….. 5

1.3.3 Purpose of the Study………………………………………………………………………. 6

1.3.4 Research Questions……………………………………………………………………….. 7

1.4 Review of Literature……………………………………………………………………………….. 8

1.5 Materials and Methodology…………………………………………………………………… 11

1.5.1 Definition of Key Terms……………………………………………………………….. 11

1.5.2 Motivation and Delimitation…………………………………………………………. 12

1.6 Organization of the Study………………………………………………………………………. 13

Chapter Two: Trauma Theory: A Critical Introduction …………………………. 14

2.1 Introduction…………………………………………………………………………………………… 15

2.2 Trauma: Definitions and Sub-Categories……………………………………………….. 15

2.3 Dimensions and Personality Factors………………………………………………………. 18

2.4 Traumatic Experiences: Historical Accounts…………………………………………. 20

2.4.1 Diaries …………………………………………………………………………………………. 20

2.4.2 Railway Spine ………………………………………………………………………………. 21

2.4.3 War ………………………………………………………………………………………………. 22

2.5 Trauma Theory: Influential Figures ………………………………………………………. 24

2.5.1 Sigmund Freud……………………………………………………………………………… 24

2.5.2 Mardi Horowitz…………………………………………………………………………….. 27

2.5.3 Judith Herman ……………………………………………………………………………… 28

2.5.3.1 Hyperarousal, Intrusion and Constriction: Symptoms of
Traum……………………………………………………………………………….. 30

2.5.3.2 The Dialectic of Trauma ……………………………………………………… 32

2.5.3.3 Stages of Recovery: Safety, Remembrance and Mourning, Reconnection  33

2.5.3.4 Resolving the Trauma …………………………………………………………. 40

2.6 Concluding Remarks …………………………………………………………………………….. 41

Chapter Three: A Psychoanalytical Reading of Slaughterhouse-Five: Traumatic Narrator and Traumatic Billy Pilgrims …………………………………………………………………………… 43

3.1 Introduction…………………………………………………………………………………………… 44

3.2 Hyperarousal Elements: A Psychoanalytical Reading of Slaughterhouse- Five   45    

3.2.1 Traumatic Narrator……………………………………………………………………….. 45

3.2.1.1 The Narrator’s Difficulty to Fall Asleep………………………………. 45

3.2.1.2 The Narrator’s Difficulty of Concentration ………………………… 46

3.2.2 Traumatic Billy Pilgrim…………………………………………………………………. 47

3.2.2.1 Billy’s Difficulty to Fall Asleep ………………………………………….. 47

3.2.2.2 Billy’s Difficulty of Concentration …………………………………….. 49

3.3 Intrusion Elements: A Psychoanalytical Reading of Slaughterhouse-Five 51

3.3.1 Traumatic Narrator ………………………………………………………………………. 51

3.3.2 Traumatic Billy Pilgrim ………………………………………………………………… 53

3.4 Constriction Elements: A Psychoanalytical Reading of Slaughterhouse- Five  55

3.4.1 Traumatic Narrator……………………………………………………………………….. 56

3.4.1.1 The Narrator’s Inability to Recall Traumatic Events……………. 56

3.4.1.2 The Narrator’s Reluctance to Traumatic Memories……………… 56

3.4.1.3 The Narrator’s Tendency towards Alcohols………………………… 58

3.4.2 Traumatic Billy Pilgrim………………………………………………………………… 59

3.4.2.1 Billy’s State of Numbness …………………………………………………… 59

3.4.2.2 Billy’s Avoidance to Recall Traumatic Memories ………………. 61

3.4.2.3 Billy’s Tendency towards Alcohol………………………………………. 63

3.5 Concluding Remarks …………………………………………………………………………….. 64

Chapter Four: A Psychoanalytical Reading of Slaughterhouse-Five: Recovery of Billy Pilgrim and the Narrator………………………………………………………………………………………… 65

4.1 Introduction ………………………………………………………………………………………….. 66

4.2 Recovery of Billy Pilgrim ……………………………………………………………………… 67

4.2.1 Establishing Safety for Billy Pilgrim…………………………………………….. 67

4.2.2 Remembrance and Mourning of Billy Pilgrim……………………………….. 72

4.2.3 Reconnection of Billy Pilgrim………………………………………………………. 76

4.3 Recovery of the Narrator ………………………………………………………………………. 80

4.3.1 Establishing Safety for the Narrator……………………………………………… 80

4.3.2 Remembrance and Mourning of the Narrator………………………………… 81

4.3.3 Reconnection of the Narrator……………………………………………………….. 83

4.4 Concluding Remarks……………………………………………………………………………… 85

Chapter Five: Discussions and Conclusion………………………………………………… 87

5.1 Summing up…………………………………………………………………………………………… 88

5.2 Findings…………………………………………………………………………………………………. 91

5.3 Suggestions for further Readings……………………………………………………………. 95

Bibliography……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 98


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter One:

 

The Problem, Argument, and Framework: An Introduction:

 


 

1.1 General Background

Kurt Vonnegut (November 11, 1922- April 11, 2007), American novelist, is considered as one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century. He created his own world by blending science fiction with literature, a world that was partly the result of his service at the army during World War II. In 1944, he was captured and imprisoned in Dresden, Germany, where he witnessed an attack in an underground slaughterhouse meat locker used by the Germans as an ad hoc detention. This experience inspired him a lot in his famous novel, Slaughterhouse-Five (1969). He also wrote such works as Player Piano (1952), Cat’s Cradle (1963), andBreakfast of Champions (1973).

Slaughterhouse-Five or The Children’s Crusade: A Duty-Dance with Death is generally recognized as Vonnegut’s significantand autobiographical work. The narrator of the first chapter attended World War II and was imprisoned in Dresden; there he had witnessed the bombardment of the city. Twenty years after this incident he makes a visit to his buddy at war to share some memories of war for his novel. Themain character of his novel, Billy Pilgrim, goes through experiences that are highlysimilar tothose happened to him. Billy is a veteran that was captured by the Germans during a battle in World War II. He and his fellow prisoners were kept in a slaughterhouse in Dresden where they witnessed bombing of the city and became some of its few survivors. Now he is a wealthy man and successful in optometry business but “has come unstuck in time” (Vonnegut 15). He travels between periods of his life, experiences past and future events out of sequence and repetitively. He is kidnapped by extraterrestrial aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. He spends time on Tralfamadore, in Dresden, in the War, in his post-war married life in the U.S.A. of the 1950s and early 1960s. He also predicts his death and makes a tape recording of his account of it.

The presentstudy intends to examine the concept of psychological trauma and the process of its healing inVonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five. Billy Pilgrim has been traumatized as the result of attending in war and witnessing the bombarding of Dresden city. His being “unstuck” in time and his going backward and forward in time arethe result of the turbulence of his mind and his visit to Tralfamadore planet is not irrelevant. During the novel,he takes a long process to get rid of his unpleasant situation, to deny it at times and to banish it from his unconscious. As a matter of factBilly’s story is the story of the narrator’s life and his attempt to write a novel about it, is indeed a struggle to heal his wounds.

Judith Herman( born 1942), a  psychiatrist, researcher, teacher, and author of the books Trauma and Recovery(1997) and Father-Daughter Incest (1981), is one of the prominent figures in the field of trauma and its recovery in recent years who has mostly focused on the understanding and treatment of incest and traumatic stress. Her book Trauma and Recoveryoffered a profound insight into the nature of trauma and the process of healing it. Herman contends that psychological trauma is the affliction of the powerless that is rendered helpless by the overwhelming power. The ordinary response to this situation is to banish it from the unconscious. Atrocities, however, deny beingburied and the conviction that denial does not work is as powerful as the denial(Herman12).Thereforeshe introduces a process of recovery that is the result of a twenty-year practice at a mental health clinic.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

This study seeks to argue that both the narrator and the protagonist of his story, Billy Pilgrim, were traumatized in the Second World War. Thus the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder can be traced in both characters. However each seek for recovery in their own way, Billy’s time travel to the planet Talfamadore and talking about it on a radio show and the narrator’sattempt to write a book about the massacre in Dresden.His will to keep in touch with his old war buddyforsharing memories of past,demonstrateshis struggle to prevail his outrage at the cruelties of war. It is an effort to put an end to his suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as the result of witnessing the cruelties of war. Although twenty three years have passed and the narrator is, at least apparently, living a secure life with a good job and a family, yet he is still suffering from the consequences of the traumatic event. His insomnia and involvement inalcohols and telephones late at nights, the way he narrates his life events, the people around him and his experiences at war could be considered as clear examples in this regard. Indeed, it is him that is “unstuck” in timeand his narration of Billy Pilgrim’s life story is a reflection of his internal conflicts.

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قیمت : 14000تومان

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شماره کارت :  6037997263131360 بانک ملی به نام محمد علی رودسرابی

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