I am interested in writing my research paper on trauma survivors because I really feel connected to in certain way. As I was reading the book, Lucky by Alice Sebold, I felt really connected. I am interested is writing and exploring about females who have been through such traumatic incidents such as rape. As I research, I will be able to learn more about them and hear their stories. I want to explore how these women after being raped were still able to resolve and move on with their lives. Rape is something that can change a woman’s life tremendously. In my culture, this is seen as a crime that not just a man does it, but the woman also faces some serious consequences since she is also blamed. In this culture, girl’s honor is everything for the family and when this is taken, the family’s reputation is also ruined as well. This gives their family a bad name and if they had more daughters, it would become very difficult to find good proposals for their marriage. Sometimes a girls who are raped feel so depressed and helpless that they even commit suicide by the fear of society. They are not able to face the society since they know how everyone will react and they wont let them live their life peacefully. This is true in some cases, when a girl who is raped wants to move on, but the society keeps interfering and prevents them from moving on or live a normal life again.
Also, by writing about this particular topic, I am becoming more aware that rape can happen to anyone at any time regardless of their race, religion or ethnicity. So we should try our best to avoid this from happening. We can learn something useful from the victims of the rape which tremendously helps us become aware of what is happening around us and what can happen to is if we don’t act to prevent this from happening. Rape can occur anywhere, in your college, in your family or outside when the girls are alone. The rapist can be a stranger that you don’t know or it can be the person you know well so you can’t trust anyone. So if you really want to protect yourself, you shouldn’t go out alone since it isn’t safe. I will be also interesting in using Alice Sebold’s experience in Lucky to make connections since she was also a rape victim and she is still dealing with this trauma. I will do some additional research on this author, her interviews and then use everything to send a message to the world. The message will be that women should be aware that they can be raped at any time and they should try to prevent it by taking precautions.
“I’m in a rowboat on the lake in Central Park. Fortunately I’m not rowing the boat. I’m still in college, but soon I wont be, soon I’ll be living here, in New York City. I look up at all the buildings surrounding the park, and it crosses my mind that except for the man rowing the boat, I don’t know anyone in New York City. And I barely know the man in the boat. I wonder if I’m going to end up being one of those people you read about in newspapers, who lives in New York and never meets anyone and eventually dies and no one even notices until days later, when the smell drifts out into the hallway. I vow that someday I will know someone in New York City.” (Ephron 101)
I think this is a good example of self-continuousness and Nora Ephron even starts the paragraph with the word “I” which is extremely important when you are writing about self itself. She is taking our attention from everybody and putting on her. The fact that she uses “I’m” makes us connect to her in someway. We know that this event has has already occurred but she still uses the present tense to show us as if this is happening right now, at this particular moment. This way it will help us to give an image of her in the boat with the stranger who she doesn’t even know. Also another interesting thing about this is that she doesn’t just uses self-consciousness in present tense but also for future since she said “I’ll be living here, in New York City” From this passage we can learn so much about her since she tells us where she is and where she wants to be and she also shows her feelings to us since she doesn’t know anybody there. Not only that, she also indicates that something will happen in her future and that she will know someone because she wants people to notice her when she dies instead of just dying alone.
From this passage we see how she actually feels and what she experiences as she is in that boat. As she is in the boat, we do get the feelings of loneliness since she says, “I wonder if I’m going to end up being one of hose people you read about in newspapers, who lives in New York and never meets anyone and eventually dies and no one even notices…” From this we can conclude that she wants to change these feelings about her self-consciousness at the time she is in. We see that she is definitely determined to change these feelings of being all alone and fear of dying alone as well just by showing herself and attempting to meet other people, like the man in the boat who she doesn’t even know.
By writing her story this way, simply allows us to see that she is writing about self-continuousness since her fears reveal who is she really is and what she does or what she feels. What I liked the most as I was reading The Story of My Life in 3,500 Words or Less is that author wrote the autobiography in a way that readers are able to make connections to her life and her as well.
The most significant scene for me occurred in the very first chapter. This scene is significant in order to understand the book because it actually described how Alice was raped and how helpless she was in that situation since she couldn’t do anything to save herself. From the first sentence you are gripped since Alice takes us directly to the attack itself. The first line is “This is what I remember. My lips were cut. I bit down on them when he grabbed me from behind and covered my mouth. He said these words: “I’ll kill you if you scream…Do you understand? If you scream you’re dead.”I nodded my head. My arms were pinned to my sides by his right arm wrapped around me and my mouth was covered with his left.” From all the books that I have read so far, I can’t remember reading something that has such powerful beginning. As you read for the very first line, it captures your heart and makes you read further and further. You are taken to the most important event of this book which is rape, without any introduction or any kind of details.
In this rape scene, every detail for us is provided. We not only know that she was raped but Alice also tells us what her rapist said and did and how this made her feel. Alice also tried to give us every bit of details on how she tried to convince her rapist so this way he would not kill her. When the rapist was trying to undress her, he became really frustrated since Alice had no clue on what he was about to do. Alice tries to make him calm by saying “I’ll do it” and this way he will spare her life and she will get over this as soon as possible. She let him have what he wanted just because she wanted to stay alive since he was threatening her with the knife that he’ll take her life. At first I was confused why Alice was helping her, but then I figured if she didn’t cooperate he would have become much more aggressive and would have to use the knife to get what he wanted. So we see that Alice used her intelligence to get it over with this horrible nightmare.
This particular scene relates to the book as whole since we actually see here how Alice was raped and how she suffered and what she was actually feeling during this painful experience. If we didn’t get to read about this rape scene, we wouldn’t get so much involved in this memoir. We later see how she faces everything after being raped. She didn’t want to tell her family about this but as they saw her after the rape, they will eventually find out what she has been through but they don’t know how to act towards this. When she goes to school, she seems very quiet and doesn’t socialize. This effect also helped her family to support her while they weren’t that close. This horrific incident is strong enough to unite the family together.
Lucky by Alice Sebold is a memoir that gives description of Alice’s experience of being victimized of such thing as rape and how it effects her life and how her perception of viewing the world has changed. By writing this memoir, I feel that Alice has shown quite bravery for an 18 years old. She has used her intelligence and maturity to get over this painful incident that effected her. By reading this book, we know that rape is so common these days that every second a woman gets raped and changes her life forever. We pray to God that such thing as rape never happens to us. The interesting thing is that even though Alice has been through this nightmare and she was still strong and had that much strength and courage to write about rape for the other people to see. It is extremely difficult for a woman who has been raped and then write about her experience to show the whole world. This memoir has a message of all the victims of rape and every women in the world and Alice’s experience can help those women. In today’s society when a girl gets raped her life is changed automatically. Her friends and her colleagues, everyone treats her differently. These girls are blamed for the raped even though it is not even their fault but they still get punishment for something that they haven’t done. By writing this memoir, I think Alice is trying to give us a message to all those people who have prejudice against raped women that how the society should treat all the victims of rape so it will eventually help them to heal faster from this traumatic experience and live a happier and better life.
The passage that I chose from Autobiography by Linda Anderson states:
As a recent critic of autobiography, Laura Marcus, has noted, the concept of ‘intention’ has persistently threaded its way through discussions of autobiography (Marcus 1994: 3). Attacked by the New Critics of the 1930s and 1940s as a fallacy, ‘intentionality’ signals the belief that the author is behind the text, controlling its meaning; the author becomes the guarantor of the ‘intentional’ meaning or truth of the text, and reading a text therefore leads back to the author as origin. Within critical discussions of autobiography, ‘intention’ has had a necessary and often unquestioned role in providing the crucial link between author, narrator, and protagonist. Intention, however, is further defined as a particular kind of ‘honest’ intention which then guarantees the ‘truth’ of writing. Trust the author, this rather circular argument goes, if s/he seems to be trustworthy. Hence for Roy Pascal, an early critic of the genre, autobiography depends on ‘the seriousness of the author, the seriousness of his personality and his intention in writing’ (Pascal 1960:60) (Anderson, 2-3).
In this passage, we see that Anderson is referring that it is author’s intention of writing to be considered as the major factor in autobiographical writings. It is this intentionality that helps to make connection between the author and protagonist character in that particular text. It is extremely important to know author’s intention since it will help you figure out if the author is trustworthy or not. If you are accepting or reading autobiography then you are simply trusting what author is saying. It is impossible to ignore author’s intention since if we have no knowledge of his intent, we can’t take his words as truth.
When I think about autobiography, I feel that authors have the need to write and share their experiences with the world. For me, intention is to give the reader truth. It will definitely have certain aspects that will make us believe that this is the truth. Author won’t humiliate himself by saying it is the truth while none of the incidents are true. So I feel that whoever will write an autobiography, it should be dealing with the truth. For example, as we read any autobiography, our intention as we read is that they are telling the truth. We will have questions in our minds such as: Is the author’s motives is to tell the truth? Is the author trustworthy? So the author should attempt to save himself from humiliation by saying that it is the truth. If we feel like the author isn’t telling the truth, then therefore, we simply can’t trust the author. After you discover that author wasn’t trustworthy, you will ask yourself why was I reading this book anyways if it didn’t have any kind of truth.