Trauma and storytelling in Betty Louise Bell’s Faces in the Moon
Rodi-Risberg, M. (2018). Trauma and storytelling in Betty Louise Bell’s Faces in the Moon. Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, 59(5), 562-577. https://doi.org/10.1080/00111619.2018.1432557
Published inCritique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction
© 2018 Taylor & Francis
The dominant understanding of trauma as an epistemological crisis that can be mimetically passed on to readers has in the twenty-first century been criticized for its apolitical and ahistorical orientations. As a way to assess this criticism, this article examines trauma and storytelling in Betty Louise Bell’s Faces in the Moon (1994), a novel which places the trauma of sexual violence in a broader context of settler colonialism. Reading the novel in dialog with American Indian studies and research on the writings of women of color offers an exploration of key aspects of trauma theory, such as the notions of unrepresentability, punctuality, transmissibility, belatedness, and passive witnessing. Ultimately, the novel not only anticipates today’s increased mainstream recognition of gender violence against indigenous women, but serves as a potential harbinger of future political action through politically engaged reading.
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