Trauma In Peter Temple's The Broken Shore

Words: 1098
Pages: 5

There is an implied certainty that all humans will inevitably experience moments of trauma during their lives and will cope with these experiences throughout their existence. Peter Temple’s 2005 crime fiction novel, The Broken Shore, uses compelling and authentic characters to provide different perspectives on the contemporary issue of the coping mechanisms humans will use to respond to trauma. The Broken Shore follows detective Joe Cashin returning back to his hometown to recover from his last case only to investigate a brutal crime that leads him to uncover the latent horrors of his town. Cashin is emotionally distant and self medicates to cope with his trauma. Dave Rebb wanders around the country, offering his services in return for a temporary …show more content…
After a heated discussion with Cashin concerning the police’s efforts with the case of a police shooting, Rebb states “The difference between us … is I don’t have to stay on the job. I can just walk.” This provides a possible explanation behind Rebb’s itinerant lifestyle as it suggests that Rebb does not have to deal with any problems if he can just avoid them. This also suggests that if Rebb were to stay in one location, his past would come back to haunt him. In addition to physically avoiding problems that would reignite grievous traumatic incidents from the past, Rebb also denies his past ever happened. Bern remembers Rebb from his childhood when Bern played football against a team of boys from the infamous Companion’s camp, but Rebb denies any involvement. Cashin tries to persuade Rebb into revealing the truth by saying “I’ve got a picture of you … Age about twelve” but Rebb refuses to accept this and attempts to digress from the conversation by replying “Never been twelve … I could make a bunny pie.” Since Rebb adamantly refuses to talk about his past, it suggests that if he were to re-encounter his grievances, his emotionally stunted state would render him unable to properly endure the trauma. Rebb’s characterisation provides the perspective that suppressing one’s past is an adequate coping mechanism towards a traumatic