Traumatic Absurdity, Palimpsest, and Play: A Slaughterhouse-Five Case Study

EARLE, Harriet (2021). Traumatic Absurdity, Palimpsest, and Play: A Slaughterhouse-Five Case Study. Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics.

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Comics has a complex relationship to trauma. Earle argues that comics offers unique representational strategies for narratives of trauma and distress (See). Trauma (specifically the individual experience) is often characterised by symptoms relating to temporality *flashbacks and catatonia), and a compulsion to repeat acts. Comics pivots on an ability to make time visible and to keep it moving through a narrative using sequential images. The relationship between the two offers rich and diverse opportunities to look at how trauma can be made visible to a reader. In this paper, I demonstrate the ways in which the comics adaptation of Slaughterhouse-Five (Vonnegut, North and Monteys, 2020) visually represents the traumatic experiences within the source text and, moreover, how the book is able to speak to the experience of trauma that trauma theory has been grappling with since Freud. I explain how the presentation of this text in a visual form is able to create something that I am calling traumatic absurdity – the coming together of textual and visual tropes to create a story that neither glorifies, nor condemns, war, but highlights the absurdity of the experience and creates a comic that is at once both amusing and emotionally affective.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing
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SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 07 Jul 2021 15:42
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2021 08:00

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