Ghost images : representations of second-generation memory in contemporary children's literature / by Anastasia Maria Ulanowicz
Includes bibliographical references (p. 251-263)
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Electronic version from ProQuest
Ghost Images: Representations of Second-Generation Memory in Contemporary Children's Literature, studies how texts produced for and about children represent the child's unique capacity to remember events that preceded her/his birth in order to address questions of how traumatic historical events should be remembered and mourned. Drawing on such theorists and critics as Augustine, Maurice Halbwachs, Henri Bergson, Walter Benjamin, Paul Ricoeur, and Marianne Hirsch, I argue that second-generation memory may be defined, first, by its position at the critical intersection between collective and individually-experienced memory, and second, by its reliance upon the mimetic faculty. Insofar as such an order of memory depends heavily on intergenerational relationships between witnesses and their children, and insofar as it depends upon a capacity for mimetic thought and action (which, according to Benjamin, is most dramatically evidenced in the figure of the child) I elaborate of this definition and its implications by performing close readings of recently published texts produced for and/or about children, such as Helen Epstein's Children of the Holocaust, Zlata Filipovic's Zlata's Diary, Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch's The Hunger, Judy Blume's Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself, and M. Night Shyamalan's feature film, The Sixth Sense. In my analyses of these respective texts, I elaborate on how second-generation memory is shaped by the political discourses of diasporic and national communities, the relationship between the intergenerational and intertextuality, and dominant cultural notions of childhood. Moreover, I consider how the proliferation of texts such as these during the last quarter of the twentieth century may be indicative of a general cultural inclination to memorialize—often without romanticizing—past traumatic events, an inclination that has been largely influenced by the development of the new media, multicultural discourse, and the effects of globalization.
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