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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Representations of trauma and culture in the Guatemalan refugee experience in juvenile fiction Harrison, Megan


This thesis examines the ways in which trauma, language, culture, and displacement are represented in Journey of Dreams, by Marge Pellegrino, and Tree Girl, by Ben Mikaelsen, two pieces of refugee juvenile fiction portraying Guatemalan Maya children as protagonists. Using trauma theory and a combination of neocolonial and dominant discourse theories as my lenses, as well as Rigoberta Menchú’s memoir as a framing text, I examined passages containing traumatic events as well as descriptions of Maya language and culture, and protagonists’ responses to displacement to determine how these aspects were represented in the two novels. I found that both books contained neocolonial dominant discourses and simplified healing processes embedded in the texts, but to varying degrees.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada