Key Concepts in Trauma from LaCapra

Foundational Trauma: the sense tha traumatic events in the past may be adopted and internalized in such a way that “recovery” or “getting over it” is seen to “dishonor” the trauma, or as a betrayal to the victims.  Thus, the identification with that past experience of trauma becomes foundational in the personal or collective identity.…

Personal Narratives and Self-Help

Perhaps one of the most important genre conventions of self help books is the personal narrative. In some cases, the personal narrative is used to describe the authors past life, past mistakes, and past successes – this personal narrative is meant as a kind of resume to support the author’s position as an authority figure.…

Autography Establishes Vantage, can Promote Standpoint

Gornick’s description of life writing that reveals the “loneliness of the monster” and the “cunning of the innocent” is exactly the performance of standpoint, the portrayal of understanding one’s social position within the greater cultural hierarchy.  This inherently questions the assumptions of hierarchy. The point of vantage, on the other hand, is to establish one’s…