Trauma, Resistance, Survival: Linda Hogan’s Mean Spirit | Munasir Kamal

Trauma, Resistance, Survival: Linda Hogan’s Mean Spirit | Munasir Kamal

Trauma, Resistance, Survival: Linda Hogan’s Mean Spirit
Munasir Kamal

Abstract: Violence is pervasive in Linda Hogan’s first novel, Mean Sprit (1990). The Native American characters in the novel are traumatized by historical processes of injustice imposed upon them, such as uprooting from land, relocation, religious and cultural conversion, separation of children from parents, murder, and so on. Nola, a representative indigenous character, develops negative coping strategies—eventually killing her white husband as a consequence of her generalized anxiety disorder and phobia of white people. Hogan’s second novel Solar Storms (1995) is considered significant for its representation of the journey from trauma to healing. Though the protagonist, Angel, is severely traumatized at the beginning of the novel, she experiences healing on returning to her indigenous community and participating with her people in a movement to protect their land and rivers. In this paper, I point to the connection between environmental injustice and trauma, and the reverse correlation of restoration of justice and healing. I further reveal that despite the widespread trauma depicted in Mean Spirit, it is in this novel that Hogan introduces her model of healing—a pattern replicated in her later work. This model comprises reconnecting with ancestors and ancestral practices, and participation in grassroots movements to ensure environmental justice.

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Published in 2016

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