Traumatic Memory and Legacy of Anxiety in Yvonne Vera’s Under the Tongue

Shamaila Dodhy

University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan. E-mail:

Volume 9, Number 1, 2017 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v9n1.24

Received February 4, 2017; Revised April 11, 2017; Accepted April 15, 2017; Published May 7, 2017.


In Under the Tongue, Yvonne Vera has described a traumatic event and depicts the difficulty, sometimes the impossibility, of transforming traumatic memory of the protagonist into narrative memory. This paper explores Vera’s attempt to present the survivor’s attempt to work through her painful memories, by articulating them in a monologue. She restructures accounts through the images picked up from the world of nature but when words come to her mind they lack sequential order to describe the extraordinary experience. The paper addresses a number of questions related to traumatic memory of a trauma survivor. This pain narrative is linked with the quest of the protagonist who struggles to come out of the state of trauma. It has been observed that in Zimbabwe the political and economic crisis went along with sexual violence against women. Through this aesthetic endeavor, Vera has protested against in-house abuse presented against the backdrop of fierce anti-colonial struggle.

Keywords:  anxiety; narrative; pain; silence; traumatic memory