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Discuss how the idea or concept expressed in this quotation demonstrates the collective...

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kinetic04 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted October 12, 2011 at 4:58 AM via web

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Discuss how the idea or concept expressed in this quotation demonstrates the collective trauma of war. "The veterinarian watched in numbed silence, overtaken by the sense that he was beginning to split in two. He became simultaneously the stabber and the stabbed. He could feel both the impact of the bayonet as it entered his victims body and the pain of having his internal organs slashed to bits"

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 14, 2011 at 7:31 AM (Answer #1)

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Collective trauma is the psychological term for when a group of people experience a shock together.  War is the best example of collective trauma, because everyone is affected.  Collective trauma can also come from natural disasters.

By focusing on “the veterinarian,” we are reminded that at times people don’t get a choice.  They are psychologically trapped in war while physically torn from their ordinary lives.

He became simultaneously the stabber and the stabbed.

This is an example of empathy at the extreme, as it is experienced in collective trauma. The veterinarian demonstrates collective trauma because, though himself a mere witness and by-stander, he nonetheless experiences the suffering of both the executing soldier and the executed criminal. Thus one person manifests three aspects of the executions: his own, the executioner's, and the executed's.

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