Making the Unspeakable Seen? Trauma and Disability in David Small’s Stitches

Gesine Wegner


Over the last two decades, the ‘graphic novel’ has increasingly become of interest to literary scholars of trauma, who praise the form for its innovative approach to storytelling. This article critically examines Marianne Hirsch and Edward Brunner’s thesis that multimodal trauma narratives succeed in making the unspeakable visible and audible to the reader. By analyzing David Small’s graphic memoir Stitches, I shed light on the potential as well as on the limitations that the comics medium faces in its representation of trauma. In so doing, this paper aims to demonstrate the ambivalent effects that the negotiation of disability has on graphic trauma narratives.


trauma, disability studies, comics, multi-modality, Stitches, post-modern literature, memoir

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