Childhood trauma in the graphic memoir
Beskow, Sara H.
In this thesis I examine why the graphic memoir has become such a popular platform for authors to explore their childhood, and how these authors use graphic memoirs in an attempt to understand any trauma that they experienced during their formative years. Graphic memoirs in this context allow for a dual outlet to express these complex traumatic events, both through vivid illustrations and descriptive text. To illustrate how graphic memoirs are used as an outlet for traumatic experiences I have selected the following three works: Stitches by David Small (2009), Epileptic by David B (1996-2003) and Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (2006). These three graphic memoirs share common themes that relate to the lack of communication within the family, particularly concerning the trauma that they have experienced in their childhood. The medium plays an especially important part in all three texts as the authors share an inability to express verbally what they are feeling and instead are able to find release through non-verbal forms of communication such as drawing. All three texts give insight into different ways that trauma can affect the mind, and what an impact it has on the victim. In all three graphic memoirs, there is one family member that has a particular significance in their lives and who plays an important part in their memoir, notably on the topic of trauma, and this relationship will be particularly explored.