Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Randy Malamud

Second Advisor

LeeAnne Richardson

Third Advisor

Jay Rajiva


This thesis examines trauma experienced by wives of returned soldiers in Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway and West’s The Return of the Soldier. Specifically, it considers how these women respond to their husbands returning from war shell-shocked. Critics and historians alike helped lift women’s wartime stories into cultural consciousness, but this attention neglects female trauma that occurs concurrently with a soldier’s shell-shock symptoms. Woolf and West both portray wives reacting to the symptoms of their husband’s traumatization; the women’s reactions resemble and often mirror symptoms of trauma. To explore how trauma manifests for these women, this thesis adopts frameworks established by Caruth, Herman, and Winnicott to assess how these traumatic narratives are told and what psychological experiences are being conveyed