Date of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

First Advisor

Shane Graham

Abstract

This thesis is rooted in understanding trauma. Through a series of interviews with Zach Stockett, my grandfather and medical helicopter pilot in the Vietnam War, I identify his unique coping strategies. Zach uses humor, religious beliefs, and his ability to contribute meaningfully to the war effort to cope with the traumas he experienced. I drew from trauma theorists such as Maurice Halbwachs, Dori Laub, Cathy Caruth, Ruth Leys, Dominik LaCapra, and Marianne Hirsch to build a framework for understanding the different aspects of trauma that Zach experiences. On a personal level, these interviews provide insight into my own personal identity by seeing how Zach’s coping strategies influence familial social relationships. On a larger scale, these interviews and experiences do not completely coincide with the national collective memory surrounding the Vietnam War. Because of this disparity between the accepted canon of Vietnam media and Zach's personal narrative, he did not feel the need to share. Veterans like Zach need an outlet to tell their stories because although they may not fit the national collective memory, they most certainly add to it and create a more accurate collective memory. Telling these stories also allows the veterans to work through their traumatic experiences.

Share

COinS