Theoretical Concerns


       We mythologize home as a place of constancy, peace and comfort in the same way we understand that war represents destruction and wounding, both of the body and the spirit. Like travel, a state of war is a state of changed expectations, uncertain situations and distanced relationships that makes us something separate and apart. The opposite of war as a state of removal or a point on a map is the familiar location of home, which has the power to heal us and make us whole. But this is just our mythology. Home is not always a comfort, and war is not always a distant place.

       In any war, the physicality of death occurs at a distance. We might see pictures of the wounded and dead, or read their names in the paper, but it is not the same as the actual experience of death or wounding. What we do see first-hand is the human aftermath. A notification of death is always “brought home,” thereby introducing the spiritual wound of loss into the purer private realm. This mass dissemination of bad news, which occurs in any war, means that sorrow is a shared commodity. Home is not immune from being wounded in war and, while many homes were physically wounded in the Civil War, hundreds of thousands were spiritually wounded by the loss of relationships.



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