In class last week, Professor McCoy asked the question, “what does it mean when you have a wound that cannot heal.” This question interested me particularly in regards to people who have gone through unique situations and obstacles in life, which very few can relate to. PTSD is something that is seen throughout Morrison’s Home. After returning from war, Frank seems to have lost his meaning for life. In describing his hometown he says “ There was no future, just long stretches of killing time. There was no goal other than breathing, nothing to win and, save for somebody else’s quiet death, nothing to survive or worth surviving for. If not for my two friends I would have suffocated by the time I was twelve.” In my opinion, this seems to be significant in regards to the question of whether or not a wound can be healed.
After returning from war, as with many veterans today, Frank does not receive the proper support, guidance, and therapy that he needs from loved ones, or empathetic people. He loses his friends in the war and Cee is no longer in Lotus either. I think that the only way to treat a wound is to be able to share your experiences with others who can fully understand what you might have gone through, such as the people you served with. They are the only ones who are fully able to empathize with you and offer meaningful suggestions, because they too experienced the same firsthand. In Frank’s case, he loses his friends in the battle and his sister is no longer home, leaving no one available for help.
On a side note, I used to watch the now popular medical TV drama Grey’s Anatomy, in which a character similarly suffers through PTSD after returning from war. His wife is unable to fully understand his problems and suffering and as a result is not able to help him cope through his problems. Instead, another woman doctor who was his best friend in the war is able to comfort him and he feels comfortable enough to confide in her. As a result, he is able to fully heal and overcome his problems. I feel that this connects to Frank’s situation as he fundamentally lacks any kind of support system when he returns home. His girlfriend does not understand him and instead becomes frustrated with his problems, similar to how the wife reacts in the show. Sure, when soldiers come home we thank them for their services, or send them care packages, but the experiences that they have suffered through are widely incomprehensible to the average civilian.
It seems that in Frank’s case, he was able to recover from the seemingly “non-healable” wound by finding a purpose to survive. He finds out that his sister is in danger and focuses all of his energy towards travelling to Alabama and saving Cee.
As described above, Frank originally thinks of his city as melancholy and not his home, with limited relationships. However at the end of the novel, he takes Cee back to the fields where the novel initially opens. They both were young children at the time and shared the same sentiments when exploring the field. They experienced fears, anxieties, and excitement together. It seems that Frank regains happiness and a purpose in life towards the end of the novel as he has Cee and they are both able to understand each other’s sentiments. This seems to most likely be their “home” now, as they both have each other for the healing process.