Dream and Fantasy in Shutter Island: Trauma, Historical Guilt, and Ethics

Alexandra Meiri, Odeya Kohen Raz

نتاج البحث: نشر في مجلةمقالةمراجعة النظراء


This article proposes an historical reading of Shutter Island (Martin Scorsese, 2010) that weaves a complex and puzzling narrative, swaying between the protagonist's dreams and memories (his involvement as an American soldier in the liberation of Dachau and the reprisals carried out there) and his concocted fantasy of revenge and heroism as a US Marshal. The purpose of this fantasy is to veil the enormity of the trauma he suffered while encountering the dead victims of Dachau and the guilty conscience that stemmed from it. Through dreams, the film renders its protagonist's personal tragedy—a chain of events involving the death of his family, for which he feels guilty—and exploits his subjectivity to disquiet public consciousness regarding the United States' resistance to saving the Jews from their horrific and tragic fate under the Nazi regime. The protagonist's dreams and recollections of the Dachau reprisals are rendered as a sort of going back in time to remember, reflect, and wish that the US had acted differently, that US soldiers had arrived in time to save those who needed saving. This going back in time, employing every possible visual and aural device analogous to the dream work, or to a distorted memory, establishes an ethics that resonates with the Lacanian ethics of psychoanalysis according to which the subject must acknowledge her or his own desire to be able to make a free choice, and with the ethics of resentment à la resistance fighter and Auschwitz survivor Jean Améry, which opposes any kind of reconciliation, forgiveness, atonement, or even revenge. By criticizing historical and social indifference to the horrors of the Holocaust, the film also resists every ploy of narrative war films that center on themes of heroism, salvation, and redemption.

اللغة الأصليةالإنجليزيّة
الصفحات (من إلى)1-19
عدد الصفحات19
دوريةJournal of Holocaust Research
مستوى الصوت35
رقم الإصدار1
المعرِّفات الرقمية للأشياء
حالة النشرنُشِر - 2021

ملاحظة ببليوغرافية

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Israel Science Foundation [grant number 675/16].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Weiss-Livnat International Center for Holocaust Research and Education at the University of Haifa.


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