Sarajevo Trauma

Words: 2218
Pages: 9

On Transformation Through Trauma: An Analysis of The Cellist of Sarajevo

An individual only needs to go through a harrowing experience once for them to experience trauma from it for the rest of their lives. Not only are the effects of trauma devastating, they can be wholly transformative, changing the very personalities of individuals to the point where they don’t seem to be the person they were before they had experienced trauma. This situation is then exacerbated for individuals living in situations in which they must repeatedly face the cause of their trauma daily, something that is often the case for people living in places that are affected by war. In The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway, the 3 main characters, Kenan, Dragan, and Arrow, undergo trauma as a result of the siege and while they struggle to cope with the effects of it, they come to terms with how the war has changed them and begin
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This is why Galloway does not end the novel with all three characters having come to some grand conclusion about the meaning of life or having a completely optimistic view of the future. Kenan still struggles to leave his building to get water, Dragan is unsure if he will ever see his family, and Arrow is dead. While they, understandably and realistically, do not achieve a full recovery, they do have a different understanding of the world around them. Furthermore, they have a realization that while their current situations cannot physically be changed for the better by any of their individual actions, by not succumbing to the actions that the men on the hills expect them to commit and to continue to withhold what they consider to be the values of their Sarajevo, there is a chance that one day another Sarajevo will be built, one that, while is not without it’s scars, is still infinitely better than the Sarajevo that they are currently