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Issue Details: First known date: 2012... 2012 Forgetfulness and Remembrance in Gail Jones’s “Touching Tiananmen”
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'The proliferation of trauma fiction has given rise to a debate about the ethical challenges of representing and responding to trauma. An abuse of this theoretical framework may lead to an unethical appropriation of the trauma of others. The main aim in this article is to study Gail Jones's use of poetic indirection in her short story "Touching Tiananmen" (2000). This strategy raises awareness about the historical trauma of the Tiananmen massacre, and takes how its victims may be represented into consideration. Firstly, the ambivalent meaning and relevance of silence in the short story will be explained. This discussion is supported by a detailed analysis of the formal and stylistic strategies used in Jones's narrative to evoke the 1989 traumatic event. Secondly, the story's construction of temporal, place and positional forms of circumspection will be examined. Finally, Homi Bhabha's notion of "now knowledge" will be used to comment on the story's anti-climatic turning-points and ending. By way of conclusion, it will be argued that Jones's choice to "speak shadows" proves to be a powerful strategy to denounce forgetfulness and call for our recognition of responsibility towards the victims.' (Author's abstract)


  • Epigraph: From my grandmother Bridget I inherited a vision […] A ship. The Titanic. The sinkable Titanic. There it is sailing through darkness, slow and magisterial, with all lights ablazing. It is absolutely resplendent […] And it proceeds, cumbrous and steady, sailing forward into a more dazzlingly white embrace, smack into its fatal icy rendezvous, smack into history. See it shudder, tilt and slowly submerge. It upends with a kind of sigh as though the sea opens a mouth. Tiny human beings fling themselves from it. Screams. Drownings. The gradual engulfment. Those lights in an eerie and wavering descent. The sea at last sealing lips over its watery secret and shock waves going sshh!, sshh!, sshh! (Jones 1992: 148)

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Last amended 10 Jan 2013 10:08:30
32-46 Forgetfulness and Remembrance in Gail Jones’s “Touching Tiananmen”small AustLit logo Journal of the European Association of Studies on Australia,