Title of Oral/Poster Presentation

Reactions to Trauma in Bapsi Sidhwa's Cracking India: The Use of Fiction to Reconstruct Reality

Presenter Information

Rachel TelferFollow

Class

Article

Department

English

Faculty Mentor

Shane Graham

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Abstract

Reality is like a mirror upon which a person establishes their own sense of self and world. By interfering with the mind's way of organizing experience, trauma shatters a person's mirror, and with it, their sense of identity and understanding of the world around them. With the ability to use only shards to interpret experience, a victim feels unsafe and unable to trust their own perceptions of their shattered reality. Each time the victim is triggered, they lose their personal power and agency as trauma overtakes them. Through this process, trauma creates a new reality built upon distorted connections which can disfigure the victim's perspective of themselves and their world. In this presentation, I will explore the way in which Bapsi Sidhwa's Cracking India illustrates the effects of the traumatic divide of India during the Partition on both a national and personal scale. Three of the novel's characters-Ranna, Lenny, and Ice-candy-man-each use fiction, albeit with different levels of effectiveness, in order to survive in their changing and traumatic environment. Ultimately, they demonstrate that fiction is both a powerful and dangerous tool that can help a victim create a new identity from the fragments of their shattered mirrors.

Start Date

4-9-2015 1:00 PM

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Apr 9th, 1:00 PM

Reactions to Trauma in Bapsi Sidhwa's Cracking India: The Use of Fiction to Reconstruct Reality

Reality is like a mirror upon which a person establishes their own sense of self and world. By interfering with the mind's way of organizing experience, trauma shatters a person's mirror, and with it, their sense of identity and understanding of the world around them. With the ability to use only shards to interpret experience, a victim feels unsafe and unable to trust their own perceptions of their shattered reality. Each time the victim is triggered, they lose their personal power and agency as trauma overtakes them. Through this process, trauma creates a new reality built upon distorted connections which can disfigure the victim's perspective of themselves and their world. In this presentation, I will explore the way in which Bapsi Sidhwa's Cracking India illustrates the effects of the traumatic divide of India during the Partition on both a national and personal scale. Three of the novel's characters-Ranna, Lenny, and Ice-candy-man-each use fiction, albeit with different levels of effectiveness, in order to survive in their changing and traumatic environment. Ultimately, they demonstrate that fiction is both a powerful and dangerous tool that can help a victim create a new identity from the fragments of their shattered mirrors.