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Art as Narrative: Recounting Trauma through Literature

Sadiya Abubakar    


In literature, all human phenomena are reflected by literary works and related to the world through simple artistic mediums. It is no doubt that trauma exists as part of human challenges since the start of human history. However, the concept of trauma has been theorized in the fields of sciences and social sciences since ages i.e. Medicine, Psychology etc. only soon did it gain credence and was theorized in the stream of literature by some competent, scholarly and capable professors of comparative literature at Emory University; Cathy Caruth and Shoshana Felman. As the world evolves from one age to another, so does literature, binding history and culture of a place and people efficiently. Trauma has as well been one way or another, prevalent in all forms of literature. It surfaces as the shady part of all narratives that tell of a history, memoir, agonies and sorrows of the writer or about the subjects (characters) created.This paper explores the origins of trauma theory and deciphers its essential role in literature. It argues that trauma in literature is a must-read because, the theoretical multiplicity that allows for an appreciative comprehension of trauma's flexible representations include (and also move beyond) the idea of trauma as neurotic, appalling, horrifying, terrifying and the pleasure of telling and witnessing a traumatic event which is, of course, literature.

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