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Is the literary expression of trauma gendered? Essay


In order to understand whether the literary expression of trauma is gendered, Barbara Baynton’s novel, Human Toll can be employed in this analysis.

This novel focuses on the contemporary Bildungsroman female subversion using genres that express traumatic experience. The main focus on the paper is on feminine’s embodiment of traumatic inheritance, which can be demonstrated through theme analysis on the female subject, and her colonized body.

The work presents a typical example of a woman’s resistance making use of creative emergence, especially the application of Baynton’s skilled literary work that carefully employed melodrama and romance.

For instance, melodrama has been used in the female’s narratives, especially in highlighting domestic violence that is the main source of traumatic abuse, demonstrating lack of chances for accessing traumatic management agency and cultural constraints that are put on women.

The literary Expression of Trauma Overview

Baynton’s literary work covered feminine issues such denying women the financial autonomy. Other traumatizing issues covered in the novel include limited women’s social power and their inability and lack of freedom to make independent decisions concerning the female’s childbearing or sexuality.

This scholarly work failed to gain commercial success since the traumatizing expressions about the women’s issues did not go well with male writers.

This literary work gives detailed account of a woman’s traumatic experience that facilitated the writer to explore the thematic issue of female prejudice, and this can be witnessed from her heroine, Ursula, who came as a result of female traumatic model, which presented her detailed accounts about male gender prejudice.

The repeated trauma experiences triggered Ursula to engage in creative writing as a means to express her traumatized gender experience. In Ursula’s writing, she made a detailed account about her experience with the patriarchal culture.

Analysis of Trauma and Literary expression

Trauma threatens existence making it difficult to remember casual events that are characterized by insufficient encoding, and this might result into foreclosed memories.

In such circumstances, the only way to discovering originary trauma is to carefully search for the recurring symbols in literary expressions. For example, in the novel, Human Toll, Ursula cannot vividly remember the death of her mother, and this failing memory can be attributed to female’s powerlessness.

In her writings, Baynton ascertained that the ratio of male to female’s capability to resist trauma was 7:1 in Australia. Besides, there are expressions of sisterless, squatter’s daughter and motherless, which have been widely used in the bush stories.

To her surprise, Ursula did not have a female relative in her genealogy and she ironically attained her education through the help of a male, a situation that advanced the traumatic repetition.

Indeed, Ursula repressed the impact of disturbance when she struggled to attain survival means. The death of Ursula’s mother and her father’s expiry denied her the conscious knowledge about her father’s death, and she could not grieve.

Ursula’s traumatized experience repressed what she was not capable of knowing, but she finally sank in sorrow and loneliness as the traumatic memory of her mother’s death surfaced.

Drawing facts from the novel, Human Toll, the Western society presents men as the beneficiaries of the gender bias since the male folks engage the females in endless conflicts, and the women are the ones to suffer trauma experience.

Moreover, literary expressions employed in the novel, Human Toll, give significant account of trauma experiences as results of gender differences between the male and female.

The gendered trauma can be attributed to the masculinist cultured society. Human Toll literary expression on trauma explores the possibility of achieving women empowerment and autonomous sexuality for the female gender.

Moreover, women’s writings have explored more trauma issues than men’s writings, especially female prejudice so as to achieve women’s chastity. In fact, feminine writings are full of traumatic experiences in the perceived masculine world.

The gendered differences are attributed to women’s language, style of writing and expression. Importantly, education has provided a revolutionary approach to the women writers who have found it to be the best method to thwart the oppressor’s traumatic experiences.

Therefore, the women writers have found it possible to voice their concerns through writing without gagged forces from the male dominated writing world. This makes it possible for them to resist or escape from potential trauma.


In the analysis to determine whether literary expression of trauma is gendered, the paper has borrowed its argument from Baynton’s novel, Human Toll which explored the female traumatic experience in the Australian society.

The analysis began from traumatic experience to liberated world, where women are educated and capable of voicing their perceived threatening concerns on gender prejudice, some of which are not explored in male writings.

The female barriers to achieve power, status and recognition in the society owe a lot to the prevailing cultural practices. In fact, the women’s traumatic experiences come as a result of their encounter with the perceived maculinist world.

From this textual analysis, it can be ascertained that literary expression of trauma is gendered since it is different for male and female writers, and expressions of grief and sorrow such motherless and sisterless have been used to show the female trauma experiences.

This Essay on Is the literary expression of trauma gendered? was written and submitted by user Hussar to help you with your own studies. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.

Hussar studied at Simmons University, USA, with average GPA 3.46 out of 4.0.

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Hussar. (2019, December 8). Is the literary expression of trauma gendered? [Blog post]. Retrieved from

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Hussar. "Is the literary expression of trauma gendered?" IvyPanda, 8 Dec. 2019,

1. Hussar. "Is the literary expression of trauma gendered?" IvyPanda (blog), December 8, 2019.


Hussar. "Is the literary expression of trauma gendered?" IvyPanda (blog), December 8, 2019.


Hussar. 2019. "Is the literary expression of trauma gendered?" IvyPanda (blog), December 8, 2019.


Hussar. (2019) 'Is the literary expression of trauma gendered?'. IvyPanda, 8 December.

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