Dictatorship and Trauma in the Dominican Republic

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Mariana Past




Trauma, especially collective trauma has a way of manifesting itself differently in the lives of those affected. Much in the same way, those affected move forward and heal differently as well. Given this, what steps can a nation take towards the healing process after a long period of repression and trauma? In this thesis I explore the Trujillo Dictatorship in the Dominican Republic, considered one of the most brutal regimes of its time, and the use of fiction by contemporary authors to confront some of the trauma created as a result of the dictatorship. I argue that silence following trauma is a common theme in the three novels discussed and that this represents the tendency to remain silent after traumatic events as a coping mechanism and that this tendency to remain silent has become a cultural norm in the island. Additionally, I propose that these works of fiction could be used as a tool in the collective healing process because they inform, inspire curiosity, allow those who experienced the trauma to confront their memories of the events. Additionally, they keep the memory of the traumatic events alive thus inspiring those affected to actively work to keep history from repeating itself.

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