Trauma and Narrating World War I: A Psychoanalytical Reading of Pat Barker’s Another World

Document Type: Original Article


1 Associate Professor of Language and Literature, University of Kurdistan, Sanandaj, Iran

2 Instructor of English Language and Literature, Urmia University, Urmia, Iran


The present paper addresses Pat Barker’s Another World in the light of Cathy Caruth’s psychoanalytical notions concerning the traumatic experiences of the subjects. This analysis attempts to trace the concepts of latency, post-traumatic stress disorders, trauma of fratricide, and domestic trauma in Barker’s novel in order to explore how trauma and history are interrelated in the narrative of history and, particularly, in what manners trauma is transmittable trans-generationally. The present paper also demonstrates how Barker’s novel Another World acts as the narrative of trauma that vocalizes the silenced history of shell-shocked soldiers of World War I to affect the domestic and national arenas of British society, the history that has been concealed due to social and individual factors. The study thus investigates the dissociative disorders, which are experienced by traumatized survivors of World War I as the aftermath of traumatic experiences of wartime. In addition, it argues how time moves for the traumatized victim and how the notion of latency in terms of Caruth’s theory is traceable in Barker’s novel. In Another World, the traumatized survivor is haunted with traumatic memory of his past history, that constantly disrupts his present and the victim is in continuous shift from present time to past time. Time thus loses its linearity in the narrative of traumatized survivor.