Growing Up during the Great Depression in Aotearoa New Zealand. A Comparative Study of Shonagh Koea’s The Kindness of Strangers (2007) and Renée’s These Two Hands (2017)
New Zealand writers Shonagh Koea (1939 - ) and Renée (1929 - ) grew up during the Great Depression and its aftermath. Their memoirs challenge the official rewriting of New Zealand history when both authors claim that they belong to the working class. Indeed, New Zealand has long constructed itself as a class-free nation, contrary to the UK. The traumatic experiences which occurred when the writers were young affect them on two levels. They impact them personally, but also culturally. Not only has the working class often seen its history erased and silenced, but Renée also testifies to the part played by colonisation and segregation in the cultural trauma of the Māori community.
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