Zimmerman implies that viewing these turbulent scenes might be akin to abreaction
, whereby the audience relives its own losses vicariously through the characters' words and gestures.
For those of us who have performed an Asian music (not our "own") Wong ably captures and parses the experience wholly in "Taiko in Asian America," allowing us a powerful abreaction
through her fascinating and thoughtful inquiry into the dense interracial and interpersonal politics of a taiko group.
It needs no Freud to observe that her life since the moment of her mother releasing her hand has been a failed abreaction
, a reliving of the moment and, failing that, an attempt to recreate the lost milieu in which her mother lived.
Such was the foundational aim of psychoanalysis: by making a distressing event available to a consciousness, one renders it susceptible to abreaction
and associative dissipation.
This process includes first identifying with the main character's needs, wishes, and frustrations; followed by experiencing an emotional release through abreaction
and catharsis; and finally gaining insight into solutions to their own problems by identifying the characters' coping strategies (Pardeck, 1990; Pardeck & Pardeck).
Margaret Canby herself said as much, writing, "Under the circumstances, I do not see how any one can be so unkind as to call it a plagiarism; it is a wonderful feat of memory." This is a fair and judicious response, much fairer and more judicious than the bizarre abreaction
of Keller's earliest and strongest supporter, Michael Anagnos, who was undone by the "Frost King" episode and eventually declared that "Helen Keller is a living lie." And yet it raises a profound question: What if all Helen Keller's utterances amounted to wonderful feats of memory?
(5-6) With this loss of "headlong energy" the narrator risks, in Breuer and Freud's terms, an insufficient abreaction
of the motivating trauma: "the injured person's reaction to the trauma only exercises a completely 'cathartic' effect if it is an adequate reaction--as, for instance, revenge" (Studies on Hysteria, 8).
Unfortunately, the result is more embarrassment than abreaction
. The costumes are a curious mixture of ancient and contemporary, with armor that seems here and there to have been purloined from a Roman epic.
They are "the dreadful evil [which] stalks in the forest of her dark mind." There is recognition in this tragedy of the destructive (non-survival) effect of this kind of evaluation; there is recognition, too, of the abreaction
that may result from the expression of emotional and mental conflicts.
Many factors, such as word choice, organization, suitability to reader and discourse community, and numerous other rhetorical considerations, influence readers' perception of "good writing." The factor provoking instant and powerful abreaction
from a reader, however, is often a perceived error in grammar or usage.
My heartbeat settles to a slower rhythm, but I feel, vaguely, that I'm waiting for the visual abreaction
that will settle everything once and for all, meaning once and for me.
Another believes in the abreaction
of all emotion--and so he must have abreacted all his own emotions.