Traumatized Mind: Inspecting Abandonment Trauma in David Diop’s At Night All Blood is Black

  • Arsha Junaid Research scholar
Keywords: David Diop, At Night All Blood is Black, trauma studies, abandonment trauma, child abandonment, war trauma, human psychology, child development, parental care, savagery in war


There are many war narratives in literature especially after the terrifying Second World War. Along with discussing the horrors of war, writers popularized the concept of ‘trauma’ which is an after effect of all the brutalities the soldiers and the citizens witnessed as part of the war. Concepts like PTSD began to be discussed and there came several different types of trauma narratives. ‘Abandonment trauma’ is one such where we discuss the psychological after effects of abandonment on an individual. Abandonment can be from different sources. But a child who is neglected of parental care and love in their childhood is likely to exhibit certain severe psychological impacts even after he grows into an adult.

This academic paper discusses a novel written by the Senegalese writer David Diop At Night All Blood is Black which is primarily a war narrative discussing the story of a soldier Alfa Ndiaye, who is continuously exposed to the brutalities of the war and his transformation from an innocent soldier to a monstrous one seeking revenge by the ritualistic enemy killings. Alfa was like all the rest of the soldiers who obeyed his captain without any second thought, until he witnessed the death of his friend Mademba Diop in the war field. After that night he started transforming into a blood thirsty human monster who starts to kill his blue- eyed German enemy soldiers each a day and returned to his trench with the severed hand of the dead. He does this each single day until he is sent to the military asylum after the eighth enemy hand. This violence in Alfa has something to do with his childhood.  The paper delves deeper into his childhood and the parental abandonment which he experienced at the early age of 9 and how it has affected his actions in the adulthood. It thus makes use of abandonment trauma theory and its psychological implications upon an individual.


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Author Biography

Arsha Junaid, Research scholar

Arsha Junaid is working as a guest lecture in English Literature. She completed her post-graduation under the University of Calicut and has qualified UGC NET in 2022.


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How to Cite
Junaid, A. “Traumatized Mind: Inspecting Abandonment Trauma in David Diop’s At Night All Blood Is Black”. Contemporary Literary Review India, Vol. 10, no. 4, Nov. 2023, pp. 1-14,
Research Papers