Seeking Asylum, Speaking Silence: Speech, Silence and Psychosocial Trauma in Beverley Naidoo’s The Other Side of Truth

Barnboken

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Field Value
 
Title Seeking Asylum, Speaking Silence: Speech, Silence and Psychosocial Trauma in Beverley Naidoo’s The Other Side of Truth
 
Creator King, Helen
 
Subject refugees
asylum seekers
postcolonia trauma
archives
institutional violence
immigration
displaced children
activism
social justice
 
Description  
 “How could she ever put the terrible pictures in her head into words?” (Naidoo, Truth 51). This question is at the heart of Beverley Naidoo’s The Other Side of Truth (2000), which narrates the trauma of Ni­gerian asylum seeker children Sade and Femi as they flee to Britain. Speech and silence are ambivalent within the text, fluctuating in meaning depend­ant on the social context in which they are enacted. Showing this text to be primarily a narrative of activism, I explore how Naidoo’s representations of trauma inform her critique of the British immigration system. This text invites a reading that draws on recent postcolonial theories of trauma. Us­ing both textual and paratextual analysis of the novel and Naidoo’s archive, held by Seven Stories: The National Centre for Children’s Books in Britain, I draw on Greg Forter’s model of psychosocial trauma to demonstrate that the trauma the protagonists face is a result of their encounter with a racist society and bureaucracy. Reflecting Adrienne Kertzer’s claim that social justice should be central in trauma narratives for children, Naidoo shows healing from trauma to be the locus of political awakening for both charac­ters and implied reader. The aim of this article is to integrate contemporary models of postcolonial trauma with an understanding of the activist nature of Naidoo’s work, showing that in this sort of children’s trauma narrative, the site of healing from trauma is simultaneously the site of social change. Since the trauma that the child protagonists face is a social phenomenon, the speech that allows the children to begin to heal is similarly socially situated, and their healing is synonymous with social justice.
 
Publisher Svenska Barnboksinstitutet
 
Date 2020-06-12
 
Type info:eu-repo/semantics/article
info:eu-repo/semantics/publishedVersion
 
Format application/pdf
application/epub+zip
text/xml
text/html
 
Identifier http://barnboken.net/index.php/clr/article/view/493
10.14811/clr.v43i0.493
 
Source Barnboken; Volume 43 (2020)
0347-772X
 
Language eng
 
Relation http://barnboken.net/index.php/clr/article/view/493/1567
http://barnboken.net/index.php/clr/article/view/493/1621
http://barnboken.net/index.php/clr/article/view/493/1623
http://barnboken.net/index.php/clr/article/view/493/1625
 
Rights Copyright (c) 2020 Barnboken – Journal of Children's Literature Research
 

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