Too Scared to Cry by Lenore Terr. M.D.
Terr is a child psychiatrist who explors the effects of trauma.
The book focuses on the 1976 abduction of a group of children in Chowchilla, California, who were seized from a bus as they were returning from day camp and buried alive in a rock quary. The author interviewed the victims soon after their release and continued to make periodic assessments of the children.
She also goes on to explore post-traumatic behavior patterns she claims can be seen in the works of writers such as Poe, Hawthorne and Stephen King, and in the films of Ingmar Bergman or in the art work of Rene Magritte.
For example, here is an excerpt from her writing on Magritte.
The Belgian painter, Rene Magritte, was fourteen years old when his mother committed suicide. Young Rene Magritte had a profoundly depressed mother. She was subject to repeated bouts of mood disorder, some of them suicidal. There were times when Magritte's mother slept in her son's room so that the lightest sleeper in the house could watch out for her. One night Rene's younger brother discovered that their mother has slipped away. He alerted the family. A search was undertaken, to no avail. They followed her footprints to a bridge where they belive she threw herself into the river. A day or two later they found Magritte's mother in the Sambre River. Her body was found with her nightgown wrapped around her face. Her body was laid out at the house, as was the custom.
Magritte did not like to speak about the experience. He also could not face either his past or his future very well. Magritte tended to reenact his trauma in behavior. He was fascinated with coffins, and one day at a coffin-maker's shop he climbed inot one of the finished products and spent the entire afternoon there.
Magritte consistently denied that his mothers' death had been traumatic for him. He told his official biographer, Suzi Gablik, that he had forgotten all about it.
Some of the ways Magritte's trauma (and his denial of it) shows up in his paintings:
His mother was found with a nightgown wrapped about her face. Magritte has done at least two paintings with the faces of the subjects wrapped in fabric.
He frequently paints coffins. At least one painting shows a woman laid out in a house setting.
Magritte's trademark is to conceal faces of his subjects using fruit, bowler hats, clouds - anything at all that he can come up with to hide the human face. Some have analyzed that this is to prevent him from having to deal with his mother's ruined face in death.
Below are some samples of his paintings. You decide what you think.