Silvia Antosa

"My name is gone": Trauma, Sexuality and Language in Eimear McBride's A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Trauma; Female Sexuality; Abjection; Language.

My article analyses the ways in which trauma governs the fictional world of Irish writer Eimear McBride's debut novel, "A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing", published in 2013. In telling the coming-of-age story of an unnamed, young girl in 1980s Ireland from her birth to her twenties, McBride explores the girl's sexual awakening through several layers of trauma, ranging from verbal and sexual abuse to Catholic taboos, class differences and the disability of the protagonist's brother. I examine how the tangled web of unresolved tensions impact both her self-representation and McBride's development of a new form of narration. Drawing on recent trauma theories, I analyse how the novel engages with the paradox of articulating the so-called unspeakable core of trauma by fictionally re-enacting it through narration. Moreover, I investigate the ways in which such an articulation is played out: by adopting a highly experimental style, which is very much indebted to the Modernist search for formal innovation, McBride develops new ways of giving voice to traumatic experience.

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