The 7 Stages of Grieving

The 7 Stages of Grieving


Wesley Enoch and Deborah Mailman

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The 7 Stages of Grieving: Scene 9: Invasion Poem Summary & Analysis

The sounds of a chair scraping and a clock ticking can be heard once again. The Woman delivers an abstract spoken poem describing strangers who come in the front door of her house offering gifts and demanding respect. They sit in her father’s seat and talk to her. Though the things they say make no sense, she nods and listens as she has been taught to do. Then, without warning, the strangers take a handful of her hair and begin beating and, the poem implies, raping her. Her children are wrenched away from her, the protests of her ancestors are silenced, and her people are forbidden from speaking, dancing, and doing the things they’ve always done. The Woman is pained and sleepless even in the midst of a sacred landscape. She retrieves her dress and puts it back on.
In this scene, the Woman begins to blur the line between personal experience and inherited, generational trauma. The language of “Invasion Poem” is vague enough that it’s possible that the Woman is speaking of a personal experience, yet it’s also a possibility that she’s relaying a story that belongs to another female member of her extended family, or a story that belongs to her community more broadly (the story of the white colonial invasion of indigenous society and land). The poem examines colonial violence and its devastating consequences on indigenous people and families—a universal truth regardless of the specifics of the poem’s details, to whom these events happened, or when.
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Memory and Family Trauma Theme Icon
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