Cathy Caruth once said ‘The traumatized, we might say, carry an impossible history within them or they become themselves the symptom of a history that they cannot entirely possess.’ It is true that fictional narratives are not always derived from the personal views or experiences of the author who is writing them. But at times, they can perfectly capture trauma so convincingly that we are almost convinced they are drawing off of first-hand experience. Cathy Caruth, a trauma theorist, has summated that trauma exists in the human psyche as a ‘ghost’ that prevents a person or a character from moving forward and maturing.
In Anne Whitehead’s book, Trauma Fiction, she states: ‘In contemporary fiction, then, the ghost story is reconfigured to explore the nature of trauma as psychological possession. The ghosts embody or incarnate the traumas of recent history and represent a form of collective or cultural haunting. The novels raise the important question of whether the ghosts of the past can be exorcised’…show more content… That is what Small Island centres on. In fact, experiences like the one Levy’s novel centres on can sometimes be so traumatic that people who experienced it may not wish to talk about it. Levy claims her parents never spoke about their experiences. She had to practically physically pry the information out of her mother, and even then she didn’t receive an awful lot. But still enough to write a novel. In this sense, fictional narratives can also be seen to capture the ‘impossible history’ of trauma because the fiction speaks of what went on, even when the people involved cannot bear to do it for themselves. It is a way of keeping record of one’s life during this period. Even if it is not by any means a completely true tale, the sentiment and the historical value remain the