The Relation between Trauma and Creativity— A Comparative Study of Auster’s Oracle Night and Hustvedt’s What I Loved
Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
This essay is a comparative study of Paul Auster’s Oracle Night and Siri Hustvedt’s What I Loved, looking at how both narratives relate trauma and pain to creativity, art, and literature, and focusing on how they portray art and literature as ways of responding to loss or trauma. As long as man has been able to write, tragedies have been recorded, and dealing with trauma is something that is fundamental in literature. In addition to this, the two novels can be seen as responses to painful real-life events. Both novels share depictions of traumatic events very similar both to each other and to events in real life, and both relate these events to the theme of creativity, in very different ways. In What I Loved one can see that every time a traumatic event takes place, it is followed by a description of an artwork, or by someone in the novel doing something creative, such as writing, painting or working on a video installation. In Oracle Night, in contrast, creativity contributes to trauma. As soon as the protagonist starts writing in his new notebook, bad things start to happen, and they get even worse when he destroys the notebook. It appears that in What I Loved creativity is the symptom of an illness, while in Oracle Night it functions as one of the causes of the disease.
Keywords: Comparative Study; Paul Auster. Siri Hustvedt; Oracle Night; What I Loved; Trauma; Creativity
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Comparative Study; Paul Auster. Siri Hustvedt; Oracle Night; What I Loved; Trauma; Creativity
General Literature Studies
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-77565OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-77565DiVA: diva2:533981