Narrative Form, Memory Frictions and the Revelation of Traumatic Secrets in Toni Morrison’s Home
Toni Morrison’s novel Home (2012) begins with Frank Money’s recollection of a traumatic experience he lived as a child with his sister Cee: the clandestine burial of a man in a field where two horses were fighting. When Cee saw the body, she began to shake. But Frank thought he “could handle it,” and repressed his affects. The result was that he “really forgot about the burial” and “only remembered the horses.” In other words, he created a screen memory, a protective mechanism to keep hidden the murder. This is the first mention of a number of traumatic secrets buried in Frank’s unconscious that he must confront if he is to overcome the loss of communication with his self-observing, internal Other. The chapter argues that the alternation of chapters written in the first and third person reflects Frank’s split self and that, for all their inconsistencies and even falsities, they have the healing potential of putting traumatic secrets into words.
KeywordsAfrican-American Screen memories The Other Traumatic secrets Healing
The research carried out for the writing of this chapter is part of a research project financed by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO) (code FFI2015-65775-P), and by the Government of Aragón and the European Social Fund (ESF) (code H05).
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