JAC: A Journal of Composition Theory, Volume 24, Number 2, 2004 Page: 309
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in their own limbo water; and that the contours of the tragedy, a familiar
yet strange past, is also distorted in the eyes of the present, requiring that
the living struggle to read the surviving images. In doing so, they
acknowledge that some things will always remain missed or unpossessed.
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, Colorado
1. 1 use the verb "remember" in order to highlight the constructed and
cultural nature ofmemory, how it is subject to continual narrative reconstruction.
2. See especially Schmidt; Malchow; Martin and Savoy; and the chapter on
imperial gothic in Brantlinger.
3. In its exploration ofhowthe violence structuring a wartime consciousness
penetrates into seeming enclaves of innocence and wreaks its chaos there, The
Devil's Backbone resembles William Golding's coming-of-age anti-war horror
story, The Lord of the Flies.
4. Historians and sociologists repeatedly use the word "trauma" to describe
the effects of this era of Spanish history. As Paloma Aguilar notes, the daily press
still speaks of the "collective amnesia" of the Spanish regarding the Civil War,
even though the public is flooded with books and movies about the war (xix).
5. The concept and term "corrosive communities" stems from Erikson 189.
6. Elie Wiesel, for example, asserts that he died during the Holocaust yet
continues to live. Greenspan writes about Holocaust survivors that "this simul-
taneity of being and not being should be understood literally. The co-presence of
ongoing death and ongoing life-without resolution or higher synthesis-is, for
survivors, embodied reality" (148).
7. The notion of images of disaster haunting the viewer in contrast to
narratives which strive to understand where that horror originates stems from
Susan Sontag (89).
8. On traumatophobia, see Lifton, Broken, 171-72.
9. In a number of works, Lifton speaks of trauma as the psychological
equivalent of death, as the survival of extreme threats to the physical and
psychological self: "One brings to a death encounter one's own death imagery
and one's own lifelong experience not only with death but with death equivalents,
such as separation, and with the way in which these interact and become, in some
sense, in some degree interchangeable over the course of one's life" (Caruth,
"Interview," 136-37). See also Lifton "History."
10. Michael Lambek's anthropological work on spirit possession as a
vehicle for the symbolization of communal memory in Madagascar is relevant
here: "When the spirits are persons from the past, once living figures who
reemerge after death, the narratives they evoke include dimensions of broad
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