THE PHANTOM OF SHAME LEGACIES THAT KEEP ON GIVING
Keywords:shame, abraham & torok, hauntology, transgenerational phantom, cryptographic writing
This paper reviews the connections between unspoken transgenerational trauma, shame, and the concepts of hauntology and transgenerational phantom and looks at ways writing can reveal the traces of shame-as-affect. Some transgenerational trauma narratives do not distinguish between trauma-as-event and shame-as-affect/emotion, which can lead to a conflation of the two. This paper proposes that hauntology (the encroachment of an "other) and the transgenerational phantom (the metaphysical manifestation of others' shameful secrets), as conceptual scaffolds, are relevant to deciphering and depicting shame-as-affect distinct to the traumatic event via an understanding of the way speech and writing can bear the traces of shame-as-affect. To demonstrate, this paper provides a close reading of Arundhati Roy's The god of small things and highlights how cryptographic writing—the fissures and distortions in language—can inform the representation of shame in trauma narratives.