9/11 Survivors Search for Normalcy by Anemona Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

9/11 survivors search for normalcy" by Anemona Hartocollis, survivors of the terrorist attacks of 9/11 still fight psychological and physical demons, long after the rest of the world has attained a state of 'normalcy' and the attacks are no longer a foreground concern in the media. Lauren Manning, a former employee of Cantor Fitzgerald, can no longer lead a normal life and counts herself lucky to be alive after surviving having nearly 80% of her body severely burned. Although the symbolic language of mourning in our society tends to focus upon the fallen, or those who lost love ones, Hartocollis implies that this tends to ignore people whose lives were irrevocably changed through injury.

The focus of the article is to understand the perspective of these injured victims, according to the sociological principle of verstehen (putting one's self in another's shoes in a spirit of understanding and community) and understanding the symbolic function such victims play in the current American interpretation of the tragedy. For some survivors, the aftereffects of the attacks were so extreme, medically speaking, they felt unable to continue with their old lives. Elaine Duch can no longer work because of the burns she suffered and has extreme anxiety as a result of her injuries. She cut herself off from her former friends and says that now her current friends only know her as 'an injured person' because the pain of being expected to seem the same as before was too great.

Although these badly burned victims received medical assistance, they seem unable to move on from their experiences, partially because of the fact that their injuries are lingering reminders of the trauma and because society seems to offer them no way to mourn and put the experience behind them. The symbolic functions of laying the dead to rest, such as the creation of the 9/11 memorial and…

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