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Death in LifeSurvivors of Hiroshima$
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Robert Jay Lifton

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780807843444

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807882894_lifton

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

Perceiving America

Perceiving America

(p.317) Eight Perceiving America
Death in Life

Robert Jay Lifton

University of North Carolina Press

In this chapter, the author describes how he has been constantly asked how survivors feel about America. The question is usually raised by other Americans, and behind it there is often either the fearful expectation of seething and unremitting hostility, or else the wishful one of no hostility at all. Even knowledge of man's generally ambivalent nature, or of his complex response to catastrophe, does not necessarily alter these either-or anticipations. For an event of this magnitude creates in everyone, and particularly in victims and “instigators,” a strong need to believe in certain clearcut responses to it. Determining survivors' actual emotions about America, therefore, takes on much more importance than simply satisfying Americans' anxious curiosity. It raises general issues of anger, resentment, and hate, and of the relationship of these feelings, or their absence, to mastery of an extreme experience.

Keywords:   America, survivors, hostility, anger, extreme experience, victims

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