Tyrants, Typhoons, and Trauma: Spectrality and Magic Realism in Nick Joaquin’s Cave and Shadows
Cave and Shadows revolves around a crime investigation: Jack Henson discovers the body of Nenita Coogan in a cave that has mysteriously surfaced amid the city of Manila. Not only does his investigation reveal the reappearance of other corpses; with Nenita coming only after a series of “female priestesses” over the course of many centuries; but also the return of an ancient form of nature epitomized by the cave. Although other scholars; such as Josen Masangkay Diaz (2015); approach Cave and Shadows in terms of identity politics; I am interested in what I suggest are the spectral figures that question historical justice and that embody both remembering and forgetting. Specifically; I examine not only the specters of colonization but also the unsettled past of the infamous Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines. As such; this chapter first provides a theoretical discussion of spectrality and its correlation with trauma and belatedness. It also studies the difference between mourning and mid-mourning; the latter understood as a way of ethically re-assessing historical losses. Second; it proposes two readings of the revenant; Nenita Coogan. In the third part; which analyses manifestations of ecological spectrality; I interrogate new ways of thinking about trauma in “disaster cultures.” Consequently; in the fourth part; I investigate the compatibility of MagicRealism and postcolonial trauma in decolonized societies. Finally; the chapter considers the spectrality of the Marcos Regime and the inclusion of dictatorial era as legitimate areas of investigation in Trauma Studies.
Martin, J. S. (2021). Tyrants, typhoons, and trauma: Spectrality and magic realism in Nick Joaquin’s Cave and Shadows. In R. K. Gairola, & S. Jayawickrama (Eds.), Memory, Trauma, Asia: Recall, Affect, and Orientalism in Contemporary Narratives (pp. 122-137). Routledge.