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Unasserted Experience: The Holocaust Trauma in Elie Wiesel's The Night Trilogy
猶太人大屠殺的事件將時代帶入一個恐怖的狀況中，也成為受害者此生永遠的夢魘。即使在五十年過後，許多受害者仍然擺脫不了大屠殺的陰霾。大屠殺使他們非常痛苦，以致於他們完全喪失了信心及患了「大屠殺之後精神創傷症」 (post-traumatic disease)。 伊萊．韋索的 《夜晚三部曲》 (The Night Trilogy) 便在訴說大屠殺受害者的心靈傷口、恐懼、沮喪、強烈的羞恥和罪惡感及自殺的慾望。本篇論文的目的不僅要探討受害者的精神創傷，而且還要討論不管是在作見證的過程中或是在劫後餘生的生活裡，大屠殺如何對受害者造成嚴重的影響。
此篇論文共分五章。第一章和第五章分別是「簡介」與「結論」，其餘則為本篇論文主要的論述部份。第二章主要著重在討論受害者「說不口的痛苦」 (unspeakable misery) 及其害怕對大屠殺經驗作完整解釋的恐懼。大屠殺迫使受害者面臨著「無法訴說」的困境，而且還使他們在作見證的過程中蒙受極大的痛苦。我們可發現受害者愈想尋回記憶，他就愈痛苦，也就愈說不出口。所以，「說」的這種行為會使受害者再次受創，重現以往的傷口，讓他再度體驗事件本身。因此，受害者沒有辦法對過去所發生的事件做出全盤性的詳述，而只有陷入沈默，並且僅能以哀淒的尖叫聲及時常出現的夢魘和恐怖畫面來訴說他的痛苦。
第四章討論的是受害者「玷污的記憶」 (tainted memory)，以及他尋找逃避痛苦的方法。受害者「玷污的記憶」 (即喚起他在集中營裡，為求生存自保時，曾有過損人利己可恥的念頭或行為的記憶) 使他羞愧終生，甚至失去想活下去的意志力，更使他無法為死者哀悼。由於「玷污的記憶」讓受害者承受巨大的痛苦，所以他須藉由許多不同形式的否定 (denial)、理想化的事物 (idealization)、堵塞 (walling off) 及思鄉情懷 (nostalgia) 來找尋一個可慰藉他受創心靈的方法。
The Holocaust initiates a condition of terror and horror and becomes the Holocaust victim's nightmare for the rest of his life. Many Holocaust victims still cannot get rid of the shadow of the massacre even after fifty years have passed. The Holocaust torments them very much, causing them to lose confidence completely and suffer post-traumatic disease. Elie Wiesel's The Night Trilogy is such a novel, which tells the Holocaust victim's wound, terror, depression, strong sense of shame and guilt, and desire for suicide. The purpose of this thesis is to discuss not only the trauma of the Holocaust victim, but how it deeply affects him whether in the process of bearing witness or in the post-Holocaust life.
The thesis is divided into five chapters. Chapters One and Five are "Introduction" and "Conclusion" respectively. The rest is the main body of my analysis. In Chapter Two, l focus on the Holocaust victim's "unspeakable" misery and his fear of a complete rendition of the Holocaust experiences when refacing the massacre. The Holocaust compels the victim to confront his inability and powerlessness to tell and to suffer great pain during the process of bearing witness. The more memory he wants to retrieve, the more trauma he experiences, and the more silence he falls into. The act of telling may itself become severely traumatizing and be lived as a return of the trauma, leading him to reexperience the event itself. Rather than making a “complete" account of traumatic event, the Holocaust victim, when telling, would fall into silence, scream in great terror, or describe nightmares and demoniacal pictures which inflict him at night.
Chapter Three is concerned with the Holocaust victim's awkward predicament of post-Holocaust life, which is mixed with the shadow of the genocide. Undoubtedly, the victim who survives the Holocaust has two different worlds in his mind: one is the realm of trauma; the other is the realm of ordinary life. Although he wants to lead his new life and repress his wounded memory from his consciousness, he cannot dismiss the shadow of the traumatic past from his mind permanently, and he is often plagued by the recurrence of the repressed. He is doomed to live with both his past and his present life.
In Chapter Four, the major concern is the Holocaust victim's tainted memory and his frantic searching as presented in the novel. l want to show that the victim's tainted memory about his "selfish" act in the camps causes him to feel ashamed, lose the will to survive, and confront his impossibility of mourning for the dead. Suffered from the intense pain of his tainted memory, he has to resort to various forms of "transcendental experiences," such as denying the death of his beloved people, idealizing his mother as goddess, walling off his unpleasant memory, and longing for his hometown, in order to find a place where his injured mind can be comforted.
Therefore, the pain of the Holocaust victim is actually beyond our ability to imagine, and it needs to be solaced. Today what we can do is to show our concern and sympathy for those Holocaust victims or any other victims in the world rather than to keep silence when facing the sufferings of others.
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