Ironic Narrative Agency as a Method of Coping with Trauma in the Diary-Memoir of Margit K., a Female Holocaust Survivor
Keywords:Narrative Strategies, Memoirs, Gendered Life Writing, Trauma, Hungarian Holocaust, Jewish Laws
This paper analyzes the rhetoric of a manuscript written in Budapest immediately after the Holocaust to record the personal experiences of the author, Margit K. I examine the text in terms of the role of writing and narration in processing trauma and how these appear in the narrative. In her memoirs, Margit K. had imbued her personal history of persecution with meanings that facilitated their integration into her life history and her self-definition. She chose to narrate her tragic past using euphemistic, mitigating, or ironic language and constructed her stories to have positive outcomes while attempting to write as little of the pain and tragedy of her persecution as possible. The euphemizing narrative methods used in the memoirs disappear entirely in the diary and the themes discussed in the diary are also different, which shows the advantages of constructing a desired past within the genre of the memoirs in contrast to the more strictly defined genre of diary-writing.
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