Intergenerational Trauma In Eden Robinson's Queen Of The North

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Monkey Beach is an adaptation of “Queen of the North,” both written by Eden Robinson. The texts both touch on the theme of intergenerational trauma within Indigenous communities. Through the lens of different main characters, however, Monkey Beach approaches the topic differently through its portrayal of the transmission of trauma. In “Queen of the North,” the transmission of intergenerational trauma is most clearly seen through Josh reenacting trauma onto Adelaine. In contrast, as a novel, Monkey Beach offers a more nuanced depiction of the methods of intergenerational trauma transmission, such as the loss of Lisamarie's cultural identity. The adaptation from a short story to a novel, and the shift in perspective from Adelaine to Lisamarie, …show more content…

In comparison to a cycle of sexual abuse, the loss of culture is a subtler transmission method. As an adaptation, Monkey Beach gains greater breadth and scope to explore this nuanced transmission method because it changes the genre from a short story to a novel. According to Aguiar and Halseth, “centuries of colonial policies and practices aimed at suppressing and undermining cultural identity while simultaneously assimilating children into Euro-Western culture through the residential school system have led to severe trauma that is being passed through the generations” (7). As a result of this history, Gladys denies the visions and spirits that Lisamarie sees and writes them off as dreams. However, Ma-ma-oo tells Lisamarie that Gladys has the same spiritual gift as Lisamarie: “She doesn’t tell you when she sees things. Or she’s forgotten how. Or she ignores it” (Monkey Beach 154). These multiple possibilities reflect the multiple ways intergenerational trauma can originate from the loss of cultural identity. The possibility that Gladys has “forgotten how” to see spirits reflects the loss of Indigenous knowledge and practices, which were lost due to the suppression of cultural identity mentioned by Aguiar and Halseth. Alternatively, the act of choosing to ignore her spiritual gifts can be seen as a form of assimilation. In order to fit into the dominant Euro-Western society, Gladys rejects the notion of spirits, despite having the same abilities as Lisamarie. The cyclic nature of intergenerational trauma is reinforced by the fact that Lisamarie and her mother have the same gift. Their shared spiritual ability serves as a metaphor for the struggles faced by many Indigenous peoples in the face of intergenerational trauma. They must balance their

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