Cathy Caruth writes that, “ literature, like depth psychology, is interested in the complex relation between cognizing and non cognize, and it is at this specific point at which cognizing and non cognizing intersect that the psychoanalytic theory of traumatic experience and the linguistic communication of literature meet ” ( CARUTH Cite ) . Fae Ng explores this theory of injury within her fresh Bone. While the novel is centralized around the relationships within the household, Ng at the same time creates a multi-faceted universe where Ona ‘s self-destruction becomes the cardinal traumatic event in the household. Ng ‘s attack starts backwards, making a Confucian attack where the grounds for an event go the focal point alternatively of the event itself. In so making, the Confucian manner becomes an fable in which Ng re-creates the definition of ‘trauma ‘ by building the new significance within the characters. By analyzing trauma bookmans Kirby Farrell, Elaine Scarry and Cathy Caruth, and analysing the events within the novel, I will reason that binary perceptual experience in Ng ‘s fresh manifest in racial injury, which constructs an ideological system between Chinese and American. Ng ‘s usage of physical and societal location, specifically in Ona ‘s self-destruction, creates a boundary between place and the outside universe where Ona ‘s leap symbolizes the flight of the shadow that “ leads out of Chinatown ” ( Cite ) .
Harmonizing to Webster ‘s Dictionary, self-destruction is “ the act of deliberately doing one ‘s ain decease, frequently committed out of despairaˆ¦attributed to depression ” ( Cite ) . However, the construct that depression ever leads to suicide creates a false stereotype of unhappiness as the lone nexus to depression. Within the given definition, Ona ‘s self-destruction can be argued to be an act of depression. Yet, the narratives about Ona within the fresh create an image of a adult female who does non carry through the stereotype: “ Ona had ever been the forward looking one, she was ever excited about the following twenty-four hours, she wanted to turn really oldaˆ¦and be a smart old goddess ” ( Ng 88 ) . Ona ‘s decease, instead, demonstrates importance through what it exposes about her household heritage, instead than what was happening in her life clip. Ona ‘s decease becomes a signifier of injury within which the characters begin to determine their understandings of each other while lost in the American and Chinese civilization. Ng ‘s manner of composing becomes a metaphor for the loss of interior stableness for Ona ‘s household, non the common Aristotelean signifier where there is a logical patterned advance of events within the novel. This is specifically seen with Leon as his location invariably alterations because he strongly believes that his difficult work will take to the American dream of prosperity. However, Leon ‘s chase of felicity is invariably denied by the events that he faces ; such as his long trips out of Chinatown which are meant to supply for the household, yet unfaithfulnesss occur. By making a scenario where a solution does non needfully be for eliminating the jobs one faces, the narrative becomes more ambitious. The changeless denial of Leon ‘s desires creates his version of mental and physical injury in that his individuality begins to lose significance: “ his concentration was gone, something disconnected between his head and his heartaˆ¦Leon had become lost ” ( Ng 49 ) .
Kirby Farrell, another bookman of injury, argues that there is more to trauma so its basic clinical definition as “ a type of harm to the mind that occurs as a consequence of a severely distressful event ” ( Cite ) . Alternatively, it is a cultural figure of speech where “ injury helps account for a universe in which power and authorization may look overpoweringly unjustaˆ¦ the figure of speech may be a call of protest every bit good as hurt and a tool grasped in hopes of some damages ” ( Cite ) . Ng creates trauma through strong dominant governments who control constructs of gender, race and category. Leon ‘s sense of non belonging causes an effusion at the societal security office: “ I be in this state long timeaˆ¦I ne’er speak good English, them tell me ” ( Ng 56 ) . This reaction highlights Leon ‘s battles with racial injury since Ng creates Leon as a realistic character who battles a life manner in which he is at a changeless loss, while Ona ‘s castanetss becomes a societal metaphor for Leon ‘s desire for the American dream, her tattered castanetss become a physical fable that which he is ne’er able to accomplish: “ Ona jumped and it was excessively late, the castanetss were lost like Ona was lost ” ( Ng 50 ) . With this in head, one may reason that Ona ‘s self-destruction was her flight, and Leon ‘s changeless trips are a signifier of his flight.
Furthermore, Ng shows us the different battles that Chinese immigrants had to confront in order to keep a life in America, for illustration, in Chinese tradition, “ the collection and transportation of ascendants ‘ castanetss to China has been a well-thought-of usage for earlier Chinese immigrants, for they value significantly the hereditary continuum and cultural tradition that they have to travel back to where they come from after decease ” ( Cite ) . The battle to keep Chinese tradition within the life of Leon and his household creates another signifier of injury. Leon ‘s inability to transport the castanetss of his ‘paper male parent ‘ to China, expresses another facet of Leon neglecting as a ‘paper boy ‘ . In add-on, when Ona ‘s ashes are invariably moved around the flat by Mah and Leon, we feel a sense of misplaced individuality for Ona, for the ground that although she has passed her physical milieus are still controlled by her parents. When her ashes are cremated we are forced to oppugn where the care of tradition prevarication. Besides, Leila, Nina and Ona are non allowed to go forth “ Chinatown without permission ” ( Cite ) , as Leon argues that there are dangers outside of Chinatown. This creates physical and psychological stationariness for them and forces Ona to release her individuality and unrecorded along the guidelines set for her.
However, the inability to work through binary perceptual experiences lead to Ona ‘s ain traumatic experience which is that she is forced to give up her individualism and bow to expectation- the battle between Chinese individuality and American individuality versus Ona ‘s individuality. Within the novel, Leila is the girl who is unable to get away her parents ‘ racial traumatic experience, while Nina is able to travel out of the kingdom of Chinese tradition created for her. This is seen when Leila finds it hard to go forth Chinatown in fright of the outside universe. Another illustration of this is the impossibleness of Leila placing herself with traditional Chinese civilization creates a hole where she is stuck in the boundaries of Chinatown: “ I thought approximately our different universes now: Nina had a whole map of China in her caput ; I had Chinatown, the Mission, the Tenderloin ” ( Ng 24 ) . Leila ‘s irresolute position about her Chinese tradition signifies her ain loss of individuality, and creates a degage character: “ we repeat the names of grampss and uncles, but they have ever been aliens to us. Family exists merely because person has a narrative, and cognizing the narrative connects us to a history ” ( Ng 35-36 ) . Where, nevertheless does Leila ‘s injury prevarication? Elaine Scarry argues that “ traumatic hurting is stored in the memory of traumatized organic structures where the self-immunizing antibody system is sometimes described as a memory system: the organic structure, holding one time encountered certain foreign organic structures, will the following clip recognize, retrieve, and let go of its ain defences ” ( Scarry 110 ) . When thought of Ona, Leila is merely able to believe of the times where she believes that she treated her below the belt, demoing marks of a injury victim where “ traumatic memories become a everyday in the lives of injury victims ” ( Cite ) .