Things and Trauma in Joe Sacco’s Safe Area Goražde

Shalini Deepa Srinivasan

PhD Candidate, Dept. Of English, University of Hyderabad. Email:

  Volume 9, Number 4, 2017 I Full Text PDF

DOI: 10.21659/rupkatha.v9n4.06

Received May 01, 2017; Revised November 13, 2017; Accepted November 30, 2017; Published December 09, 2017.


In Joe Sacco’s Safe Area Goražde readers find a representational strategy that relies upon dense imagery, teeming with everyday things. In the wake of trauma, things accrue meaning: they generate means of identity, they are invested with emotional and cultural values, and they perform history and space, becoming what Janet Hoskins terms “biographical objects”. War trauma ruptures temporality and narrative, symbolised by the barricade that separates Goražde from the rest of the world, holding it in stasis. This essay argues that two categories of things in Safe Area Goražde come to mediate the effects of trauma: articles of wear, which are imbued with individual identity, and future-oriented; and homes which acquire repositorial significance, tying together familial pasts and futures. Both act as containers of bodies and families, reifying the subject, and gesturing towards a post-traumatic future.

Keywords: comics, trauma, everyday, things, clothes.

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