The children of survivors of the Armenian Genocide were affected by their parent’s traumatic experience: regardless of how they or their parents perceived and dealt with the trauma, its psychological effects were impressed upon the family atmosphere and familial relationship.
This volume, the fourth by the author in her continuing study and analysis of Diasporan Armenian literature, shows how the shadow of the Genocide has surfaced in the works of second-generation Armenian writers to reflect a variety of reactions/responses conditioned by the individual’s perception of the past, in the context of their relationship with mainstream society and the dominant culture.
The author examines a broad spectrum of responses, ranging from total immersion/assimilation to total commitment to the Armenian Cause. In some second-generation survivor-writers, the Armenian component remains dormant, at least in appearance; in others, it is gradually retrieved from a nebulous memory-hole to become an important dimension of their self-identity; in still others, the transmitted memory of images of suffering and death never loosens its grip and imposes upon everyday life.
When coupled with the vague image of a lost homeland, a sense of deprivation, anger and frustration sets in and is further fueled by the perpetrator’s denial of the crime and distortion of history. Are healing and reconciliation possible? Even after one hundred years, the process is yet to begin. “Healing is denied to Armenians.” Second-generation Armenian artistic expressions thus echo the struggle to cast off the shadow of the past and challenge the present stance of perpetrators and bystanders.