Date of Thesis

Spring 2012


This project uses the works of contemporary author Tim O’Brien, whose fiction often performs the trauma of the Vietnam War, to explore new ways of encountering the traumatized text. Informed by Emmanuel Levinas’s ethics of the face, and Sigmund Freud’s and Dominick LaCapra’s work on the narratology of the melancholic and the mourner, I consider the different ways we respond to the suffering Other and explore the paradox that through reading a traumatized narrative empathically we may come face-toface, as it were, with the suffering Other. If this is indeed the case, I reason, then the obligations that are due to the Other are also due to the text itself.


Emanuel Levinas, Elaine Scarry, Dominick LaCapra, Tim O'Brien, Ethics of the Face, Language of Agency, Reader Response

Access Type

Masters Thesis (Bucknell Access Only)

Degree Type

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Harold Schweizer