Delineating Collective Trauma In Alice Hoffman’s The World That We Knew

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Ajay Rajendran , Renuka Rajesh , Indu A.S , Anusudha R.S


The World That We Knew, published in September 2019 by Simon and Schuster and written by Alice Hoffman, is a holocaust novel that describes the conditions of Germany and France in the 1940s. The author entwines magic realism with folklore, and the historical period of the Nazi regime, by depicting the brutal conditions faced by each Jewish character in the novel. She got the story’s outline from a holocaust survivor she met at a library. Trauma is a psychic wound or an emotional feedback to a harrowing event that disrupts or eludes an individual’s ability to cope, potentially causing feelings of dejection and dwindling the sense of individuality. The primary example of trauma faced individually and collectively in a cultural context is the holocaust. The current project tries to explore and analyse the undergoing traumas of each character in the novel with the aid of the trauma theory. The postcolonial setting and other sources responsible for the changing psyche of individual and society are vital in the story. This inspirational story takes place in 1941, at humanity’s darkest hour, and follows three fascinating young ladies who must act with fortitude and love in order to live.

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