‘Irreversible Damage to Psyche’: Representation of Trauma in Fatima Bhutto’s Narratives


  • Asfandyar Shah
  • Dr. Humaira Riaz
  • Umar Sajjad
  • Sajjad Ahmad


Trauma; Literary Representation; Psychology; Irreversible damage; Bewilderment


Perception of trauma is central to Sigmund Freud’s concept of psychoanalysis. Trauma is in vital relationship with the other fields of studies such as psychology, anthropology and sociology, world history, war, politics, and more significantly literature as trauma affects human mind and psyche, which contains lifelong experiences, emotions, and feelings. Qualitative in nature, the present study explores literary representation of trauma in the narratives of Fatima Bhutto; namely The Shadow of the Crescent Moon (2013) and The Runaways (2018). Caruth’s theory of trauma presented in Unclaimed Experience (1996) helps to understand the portrayal of trauma as irreversible damage to the psyche of fictional characters representing living people. The theory proposes trauma as a bewildering and widespread experience and an impenetrable issue of human psyche, which brightens the indebted inconsistencies in language and happenings. Through latent content analysis selected dialogues and utterances of fictional characters are evaluated to find various socio-psychological reasons behind trauma. It concludes that factors such as death, loss, terror attacks, language, blood, departure, and painful memories are considered to be the most common reasons of trauma affecting people’s life. The narrative also focuses on the wave of terrorism in 21st century as a major cause of trauma. The study significantly establishes relationship between fiction and trauma by providing insight into literary representation of trauma. Future study can be conducted to understand relationship of trauma and terror by evaluating American literary fiction.




How to Cite

Asfandyar Shah, Dr. Humaira Riaz, Umar Sajjad, & Sajjad Ahmad. (2023). ‘Irreversible Damage to Psyche’: Representation of Trauma in Fatima Bhutto’s Narratives. Elementary Education Online, 20(4), 1358–1365. Retrieved from https://ilkogretim-online.org/index.php/pub/article/view/5009




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