Buried Deep Inside: ‘The Cement Garden’ as a Trauma Narrative

Authors

  • Sharfudden M Research Scholar, Department of English, Zamorin’s Guruvayurappan College Calicut, Kerala, India
  • Dr Rajani B Supervising Teacher, Department of English, Zamorin’s Guruvayurappan College Calicut, Kerala, India

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.24113/ijellh.v8i8.10709

Keywords:

Childhood, Parental Death, Trauma, Sibling Relations, Incest

Abstract

‘The Cement Garden’ is a British novel written by Ian McEwan. The short story revolves around four siblings left alone to deal with the trauma caused by the death of their parents. The story is narrated by Jack who is portrayed as a shabby and unhygienic pervert. He begins the story with a mere mention of his father with whom he doesn’t share a happy relationship. His father passes away while attempting to create a cement garden around their house. Being burdened with managing the responsibilities all alone their mother feels tired on most days and falls sick. As a result, she keeps to her room on most days while the siblings manage the household. The family has no connection with society. Neither relatives nor neighbors ever visit them. The children don’t have close friends at school. They never invite any of their friends’ home. Only the youngest of the sibling Tom is shown to have a friend with whom he plays in the neighborhood. In this study, I focus on the significance of the role played by society and culture in easing the impact of trauma on children. My understanding of the narrative is that the absence of strong cultural identity and family connections make the children perceive trauma as a regular life event and they think it can be easily handled by them. Such misconception results in the older siblings taking up the role of absent parents and entering a relationship of incest. They suppress trauma through the false belief that such a relationship will prevent the family from breaking apart.

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References

Caruth, Cathy. "Listening to trauma: Conversations with leaders in the theory and treatment of catastrophic experience."The International Journal of Psychoanalysis (2014): 392. 28 August 2019. //onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/1745-8315.12482

—. The Unclaimed Experience : Trauma, Narrative and History. Baltimore : John Hopkins University Press, 1996.

—. Trauma: Exploration in memory. Baltimore : John Hopkins University Press, 1995.

Herman, Judith Lewis. Trauma and Recovery. Basic Books, 1992.

McEwan, Ian. The Cement Garden. RosettaBooks, LLC, 2009. Electronic.

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Published

25-08-2020

How to Cite

M , S., & B, D. R. . (2020). Buried Deep Inside: ‘The Cement Garden’ as a Trauma Narrative. SMART MOVES JOURNAL IJELLH, 8(8), 29–37. https://doi.org/10.24113/ijellh.v8i8.10709

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