Reading Traumatized Bodies in Margaret Atwood’s Bodily Harm

Document Type : Research Paper


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Contemporary literary traumatheory indicates that experiencing trauma creates a fear that destroys identity. In fact, experiencing trauma creates a new identity for the victim. The representation of the trauma and the formation of the new identity for the victim are the building blocks of trauma novels. Due to the nature of trauma, it seems impossible to fully describe traumatic experiences by language. Considering Margaret Atwood’s Bodily Harm as a trauma novel, this article tries to magnify the traumatized bodies that are depicted in Atwood’s work. In this novel, Atwood compares traumatized bodies of her characters with colonized lands. In Bodily Harms, the traumatic moments are evident in the bodies of victims, violence, and politics. The wounded bodies tell a new story by employing verbal and nonverbal language. This article reveals that trauma is located at the intersection between body and mind, and body’s reaction to such traumatizing actions is keeping the record of trauma on the skin. Although traumatizing institutions try to conceal the memory of violence, the traumatized bodies attempt to open their experiences to the public with the objective of seeking for revival and testimony.