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Likewise, those who labor under difficult conditions long for an escape from the pressures or feel trapped in a rat race. As such they are vulnerable to acting on cravings to use drugs and alcohol. Knowing one's triggers helps, and it is useful to talk to mental health professionals or attend meetings at the first sign of strain, or as soon as possible, once cravings begin.

Those working in a crisis or its aftermath will often be hit with an onslaught of emotions; they have to untangle feelings of the survivors and their families and separate them from their own personal reactions.

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It is always difficult to make sense of exactly what is getting evoked and from whom the feelings are coming. Of course this is easier said than done. Knowing personal vulnerabilities and recognizing your own common reactions allows you to think more clearly, and puts you in a position to help others with their disturbing and painful thoughts and feelings. Knowing your own psychology makes you less likely to act on stressful , emotionally taxing feelings in harmful ways like drinking or using substances.

If you find yourself unable to understand what you are experiencing, and you become overwhelmed by the situation, stepping out, taking a break or finding some way to get emotional support or relief can help you push through in the long run.

Freud and the scene of trauma

Skip to main content. Self Tests Recently Diagnosed? Diagnosis Dictionary Types of Therapy. Subscribe Issue Archive. Educating for the Future. This account has far-reaching consequences for the status and ethical value of psychoanalysis within contemporary intellectual life. The chapters of this book are distinguished not only by their enormous theoretical power and precision, but by Fletcher's nearly uncanny ability to read both literary and theoretical texts with great powers of illumination and nuance.

It is rare to find someone who combines his capacity for sustained and lucid abstract discussion with such a fine capacity for close textual reading. Fordham University Press. Thomas Sr. At a certain moment, Thomas Sr.

In the novel, we can find multiple pictures, blank and illegible pages, in-text corrections in red ink, name and index cards, and full-color pages from an art-supply store. The difference between mourning and melancholia is that the latter prevents one from moving on because it forces a psychological fixation on the traumatic past. Mourning suggests the process of moving on, literally working through the memory of the traumatic experience. Initially, the novel seems to be symptomatic of a melancholic response to trauma.

The unconscious and trauma - 12 - Sandler Conference 2014

All the characters in the novel seem to suffer from melancholia: Thomas Sr. Problems with the communication of trauma can be found throughout the novel: in Thomas Sr.

Freud and the Scene of Trauma

All these elements demonstrate that the characters cannot articulate their traumas or express themselves in the symbolic realm. In fact, often there is only a bodily manifestation of trauma. On this level, Extremely Loud is predominantly concerned with issues of trauma and representation, and makes explicit the difficulties the characters face in trying to communicate their traumatic experiences. The novel also provides insight into the symptoms of trauma and underlines its inevitable bodily manifestation. It investigates the multiple and serious complications of a representation of trauma within the Symbolic and exposes the limitations of language in this process.


  1. Arab-American and Muslim Writers (Multicultural Voices).
  2. Listen to John Fletcher, “Freud and the Scene of Trauma” (Fordham UP, 2013) now.?
  3. Faulkner’s Light in August: The Primal Scene as Trauma | The Artifice;

Its form contributes to this on a more abstract level. This particular segment of the novel can be used as a tool to understand how the novel functions as a whole, and how to interpret the interplay between form and content. The random structure of the dots resembles the ostensible arbitrariness of the structure of the novel as a whole.

Indeed, Huehls points out that there seems to be no logic behind the different functions of each of the formal experiments:. Sometimes it claims actually to be the thing that we are reading about e. And yet, I would like to entertain the possibility that such undecidability might be the point. He is desperate to know how to know when he is right.

Time and Timelessness by Angeliki Yiassemides

In this way, there is neither a right nor wrong interpretation of the things Oskar dug up. Furthermore, this implies that the dots on the Central Park map, and the novel itself, do not have a fixed interpretation or meaning. Thus, the undecidability itself is the clue, which tells us how we should read the novel and how we should engage with its content. This can open up a space for secondary witnessing which can facilitate the working through of personal traumas.

In addition to active reader participation, the incorporation of formal techniques creates a specific temporal form, which can be linked to the notion of time passing and the process of mourning traumatic experiences.

The meaning or function of the images, blank pages, name cards, etc. This phased process of understanding implies that we should adopt a certain method of handling trauma. The photographs in the flip-book at the end of the novel are just some of the photographs included in Extremely Loud. In fact, one of the most important characteristics of our contemporary time period would be its visual and mediated nature, so, in that sense, Extremely Loud is a clear product of its time.


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  • Generally, photographs are considered to be counterproductive for traumatic recovery as they freeze time. As a consequence, looking at photographs can serve as a coping strategy and prevent an effective process of mourning. Photographs have three distinct constructive effects for the process of handling trauma. First of all, when a photograph is taken, it is not yet known what exactly will be in it.

    As mentioned before, trauma is not cognitively registered at the moment of impact and therefore only known in its belated form.

    [PDF] Freud and the scene of trauma - Semantic Scholar

    In both cases, a certain amount of time is needed for the processes of meaning-making to start. On the contrary, photographs can pierce through layers of protection and emotional distance because of their distinctly bodily affect. A victim of trauma can consequently be helped by a photograph: The punctum can evoke certain scenes that were lost in the incomplete registration of the event.

    In this sense, a photograph is always more than what can be seen within the frame, and indirectly demands further engagement with the captured scene. Yet it would be ineffective, or even harmful, to seek to evoke photographed scenes without putting them into their proper context.

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    What is needed is the incorporation of these scenes into a narrative framework. Referring to the photographs she took on September 11, Hirsch points out that they all required explanation when she shared them with friends later on Similarly, in Extremely Loud , the significance of most formal elements only becomes known when they are placed in the broader narrative framework.

    The meaning and relevance of the photographs also only become clear when one reads the adjacent pages. Thus, it is the combination of the bodily affect and the need for a narrative framework that demonstrates the effectiveness of photographs within trauma narrative. Psychoanalysis is often associated with a particular process—and the vocabulary that accompanies it—that runs from personal suffering, via working through, to closure, redemption, and healing.