Memory, Trauma and Fluidity: Cross-cultural Angst in the Select Novels of Nayomi Munaweera and Roma Tearne
Trauma can deeply affect a person's emotional well-being and perspectives on life. The study Memory, Trauma and Fluidity: Cross-cultural Angst in the Select Novels of Nayomi Munaweera and Roma Tearne explores the traumatic experiences of the Sri Lankan diaspora during the Civil War. The research examines how traumatic memories influence diasporic identities, emphasising the intricacy of psychological trauma and the strategies employed by the diaspora for coping. This study evaluates the impact of traumatic memory by analysing the works Island of a Thousand Mirrors and What Lies Between Us by Nayomi Munaweera, Mosquito, Brixton Beach, and The Swimmer by Roma Tearne, two Sri Lankan female authors living in the diaspora, through the lens of trauma literary theory. By examining these works, it is possible to gain a deeper understanding of how trauma affects the diaspora and to contribute to the broader conversation on the subject.This study analyses the psychology of trauma victims and their reactions to PTSD using trauma literary theories. It also explores Sri Lanka's history, cultural landscapes, and the impact of trauma on characters struggling to balance cultural values with homeland identity. Trauma literary theory explores how psychological trauma is represented in literature and how traumatic memory shapes identities. It has gained attention in clinical psychology and cultural studies, particularly in PTSD and psychosis. Contemporary trauma theory is pluralistic, incorporating social, cultural, and political implications. Narrative fiction can provide insight into traumatic experiences.This research work is divided into six chapters, each focusing on a specific area of trauma literary studies. The first chapter titled “Introduction”, presents the theoretical framework of trauma literary studies, while the second chapter, titled "Traversing History, Conflict and Landscape," provides an overview of Sri Lankan history. The third chapter, “Memory Mapping: Unveiling Cross-cultural Anguish” explores memory representation in the select novels by Munaweera and Tearne. The fourth chapter, “Traumatic Awakening: Decoding Psychic Chaos” decodes psychic chaos, analysing characters' responses to traumatic experiences. Chapter five, titled "Hyphenated Identities: Negotiating Diasporic Predicament," explores the balancing of Sri Lankan immigrants' host country's culture and their own cultural identity. The final chapter, “Conclusion” evaluates the relevance of the research in the context of unpredictable political situations in Sri Lanka and summarizes the entire research work.The study analyses Sri Lanka's diasporic literature, using trauma literary theories to examine the psychology of trauma victims. It argues that traumatic experiences are complex and language inadequate, but novels like Munaweera and Tearne effectively communicate trauma's distressing nature and provide an alternative history against dominant power structures.
- Doctoral Theses