Trauma Is a Time Traveller by Ahmed Yussuf

In Trauma Is a Time Traveller by Ahmed Yussuf we have the theme of struggle, loss, tradition, abuse and escape. Narrated in the second person by an unnamed narrator the story itself is a harrowing tale of one young boy’s difficulties as he is growing up. He is unloved by his father who is abusive to him and possibly to his siblings too. His mother is trying to keep the family together though at times she has had to phone the police in order to restore order to the house. As readers we never get to know why the father is abusive but it is sufficient enough to say he is. He may or may not be a drinker, we never know for sure. What is certain however is the fact that the young boy doesn’t like himself, particularly his skin colour. He has been brought up without any positive influences in his life (black or white)

In reality the young boy relies on his prayers to help him get through the day though he does not necessarily believe they will be of benefit to him. If anything the boy has lost faith in God. Someone he knows who can help him but feels as though he has been abandoned by God. The boy’s uncle seems like a good man but the boy is too embarrassed to open up to his uncle. The boy is also going through puberty and he finds the changes happening in this body, frightening. It is also clear to the reader that the boy wants to escape from his body. He dislikes injecting himself with insulin and makes himself sick after every meal he eats (bulimia).

In fact that boy’s thinking takes control of his life even when he is with his friends. He is constantly worries about his personal appearance, again particularly his skin colour. He longs to escape from everything though we are never given insight into how the boy feels about killing himself. Though if he continues to think as he does this may be the only alternative that the boy feels he has, which when the reader looks closer at it is a drastic step for a young boy who is overwhelmed by his emotions and living a life he doesn’t fully understand. He is praying to a God he may not necessarily have faith in but knows no better. He is following his family’s tradition, a violent tradition stemming from his father’s abuse.

The end of the story is interesting as the boy is now as big as his father and is able to challenge him but he doesn’t. This is important for two reasons. Firstly the boy may realise that violence is wrong and secondly the boy may simply remain in fear of his father who shows no good side throughout the story. If anything the boy is lost and has nowhere to go. When he was younger he could go to his aunt’s when his father was violent but she does not appear to be available anymore. If there is one lesson to take from the story it is the fact that trauma follows a person through life and shapes and moulds them. Apart from the boy’s mother there is no one to help the boy.

Cite Post
McManus, Dermot. "Trauma Is a Time Traveller by Ahmed Yussuf." The Sitting Bee. The Sitting Bee, 5 Apr. 2024. Web.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *