Date of Award

Spring 2013

Degree Type

Honors Project

School

College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Elstrom Park, Anne C.

Abstract

The literature of the Weather Underground Organization is, to a large degree, a single and superfluous voice in an outpouring of other texts drafted by those who directly experienced the horror of the American War in Vietnam. Declarations, statements, and communiqués penned by the organization, later revised into compilations and memoirs, attempted to rile and rouse a generation of activists. Relying heavily on the notion of Vergangenheitsbewaltigung, a German concept of confronting historical trauma, literature of the WUO is shrouded in an intense morality that not only challenges criticisms of the organization, but complicates the designation of domestic terrorism that plagues it. In conjunction with Tim O'Brien's If I Die in a Combat Zone and William Ehrhart's Vietnam-Perkasie, the works of the Weather Underground generate a definitive commentary on the credibility of memory, the implications of rewriting history, and the complexities of ideology. The Weather Underground, in a manner similar to, but decidedly distinct from the literature of veterans, experienced the trauma of the Vietnam War and attempted to bear witness, to engage their generation and those decades later in a dialogue on the veracity of history and the authenticity of revolution.

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