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Comfort Woman by Nora Okja Keller

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How does using trauma as a literary subject put the memory of the event in danger of becoming normalized? Is using trauma in storytelling discrediting the experiences? Does Comfort Woman memorialize the events or normalize them?

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Please rate 5/5 for my ideas and references about this text:

After explicating Comfort Woman by Nora Okja Keller, the use of trauma as a literary subject seems to place the memory of the event in danger of becoming normalized within this literary work, particularly since it is fiction, making it almost like an entertainment form, rather than a historically accurate, firsthand account, as Keller herself did not experience the trauma. While Keller's text nobly attempts to honors the victims by articulating their stories of trauma, suffering, and resilience, there is an inherent risk of using trauma in storytelling that can possibly discredit the experiences a bit, making the women's experiences slightly marginalizing as well as over-dramatic to some degree.

One source concurs with my interpretation:

DeRose, David J. "A Lifetime Of Anger And Pain: Kalí Tal And The Literatures Of Trauma." Postmodern Culture 7.2 (1997): 1. Publisher Provided Full Text Searching File. Web. 6 May 2016.

The author cites Kali Tal's theories and work about trauma representations to caution how the literary depictions can actually promote a type of "mythologization of trauma" that serves to standardize women's narratives.

Again, because the author did not witness the trauma as a primary source, this fact embodies some ethical scrutiny, as demonstrated by the critic, Dominick LaCapra:

LaCapra, Dominick. "Trauma, Absence, Loss." Critical Inquiry 1999: 696. JSTOR Journals. Web. 6 May 2016.

Using the term, "secondary witness," the author suggests that a secondary witness empathizes with a traumatic event that one has not been experienced personally. In fact, the writer asserts how "Historical trauma is specific and not everyone is subject to it or entitled to the subject-position associated with ...

Solution Summary

800 words of reader response and references help to explicate themes of literary trauma and the intent and effect in the text, Comfort Woman by Nora Okja Keller.

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