Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Spain, Andrea.

Committee Member

Marsh, Kelly.

Committee Member

Atkinson. Theodore B.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Arts


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of English


This project examines how fiction writers of the U.S. South and South Africa have grappled with the negotiation of the after-effects of national and individual trauma and how their texts implicate the reader in the suffering being represented. Chapter I seeks to make a connection between the theories of Freud, Cathy Caruth, and Dominick LaCapra as they relate to narrative representation of trauma and the position of the reader. Chapter II discusses Robert Penn Warren’s Flood through the lens of melancholia and trauma theory, showing how Warren depicts the elusive force of historical trauma through a protagonist charged with narrativizing an experience that resists articulation. Chapter III examines the notion of madness and the inward turning of suffering as discussed in scholarship on Head’s A Question of Power, arguing that through a punctum-like element, Head shows the transmission of intergenerational trauma in spite of an inward turning of suffering.



Historical Trauma||Testimony||Reader Engagement||Punctum||Robert Penn Warren||Bessie Head