Schizophrenic Collective Consciousness As Represented in Contemporary Drama and Fiction




Bourbonais, Alissa S.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



How do societies begin to reconcile the schizophrenic “before” and “after” worlds experienced in the aftermath of severe social and political change? Literature of war and revolution suggests in a powerful way that it is the dynamic act of storytelling—the writing and rewriting of history—that represents a society’s ability to move forward. This thesis analyzes dramatic and narrative representations of schizophrenic collective consciousness during revolution and war in contemporary works. The split nature of a postwar consciousness becomes evident in Caryl Churchill’s Mad Forest (1990), and The Hospital at the Time of the Revolution (1972), Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (1994), and Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2005). Between these authors, trauma in the latter half of the twentieth century is explored through French-colonial Algerian, post-communist Romanian, and World War II German, Japanese and American societies. The theoretical framework through which the primary texts are analyzed draws heavily from social psychology studies of collective memory and trauma theory, as well as postmodern rhetoric that explores the individual’s place in a fragmented, war-torn society, and the relationship between time and space in identity formation.



Schizophrenia, Churchill, Caryl, Collective meaning, Murakam, Haruki, Trauma theory, Foer, Jonathan Safran