Headline, August 16 2021/ WAR : ''' '' 'PEAKY BLINDERS' PEERS '' '''

WAR : ''' '' 'PEAKY


NO NEED TO RUN AND HIDE : 'PEAKY BLINDERS' creator talks about Tommy Shelby's mental health journey. ''Imagine you've been in an environment where you pull a trigger on a machine gun and kill 20 people in 10 seconds, and then you get home and get told human life is precious,'' says Screenwriter Steven Knight.

For more than 100 years, researchers and regular observers of the human condition have understood the lasting psychological harm that living through, or even witnessing, severe trauma can have on a person.

It's been called different names, such as ''shellshock'' and ''gross stress reaction'', but it wasn't until 1980 that the diagnostic term Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD] was included.

There have been several instances in pop culture where the stories of PTSD have been highlighted. Award-winning show Peaky Blinders, too, has a strong connection between its protagonist and how war shaped the character.

Over the seasons we see Tommy Shelby, brilliantly essayed by Irish star Cillian Murphy, struggle with mental health and how it deteriorates over the years.

However, when Shelby holds a gun to his head in the finale of season five, screen-writer Steven Knight believes that it was in the making. Set in the premise of World War 1, the playwright said Shelby was never the same after returning from war.

''Tommy came back from the war pretty much prepared to be dead. I always imagined that just before the series began, he had put a gun to his head but decided 'I might as well carry on, why not?' There's a line by the artist Francis Bacon, ''It's all so meaningless, we may as well be extraordinary''. That's completely what Tommy is at the beginning,'' he said in an interview with Louisa Mellor.

''When he got back from the war, the war was still going on in his head. Imagine you've been in an environment where you pull a trigger on a machine gun and kill 20 people in 10 seconds, and then you get home and get told human life is precious. He carried on with the war, like a lot of people did, inside.''

Knight went on to add, ''During really horrific war situations, human beings change very quickly.  Some part of the subconscious decides if you're going to survive, you've got to be like this so that's who you become - hard and brutal and all of those things that happen to soldiers.

When Tommy got back, he couldn't stop that. He was frozen inside, like a lot of people who suffered the trauma of war.''

Knight shared how Shelby's love interest, Grace, in the show was supposedly his saving grace - but that too was taken away from him and that's when everything spiraled out of control.

''Tommy was locked up and frozen inside for a long time. Then he met Grace and she changed things, she unlocked the doors a bit. Then as soon as that happens, it gets closed again because she gets killed,'' Knight commented.

He continued, ''She was the old Puritan Christian concept of grace - whether you're good or not, sometimes somebody comes to you and saves you, even if you don't deserve it. The idea of an unearned saviour coming to save you is exactly what Grace was, and Tommy sort of didn't deserve it. Then she was taken away so he was thrown back.''

In the fifth season, there's a scene where Shelby's hands shake before he pulled the trigger on a bartender. Knight shared that too was a reaction of the war. ''He's in a limbo in a way. He doesn't have the luxury of being numb anymore, so he's starting to feel things. It's like you have been to a dentist and the novocaine is wearing off,'' he said.

''His previous method was shutting everything down and just going from moment to moment with the only thing being 'more power, more money. As the painkiller wears off, he starts to feel things and starts to remember things and as a consequence of that, he is in trouble.''

Talking about his own research, the writer shared. ''I did some work with people who were in Afghanistan and Iraq and talked to them about how many years it takes for things to start churning around again. That's happening to Tommy, all the images of war.''

Shelby in the series isn't shown as a particularly religious man. He derives his thoughts from Shakespeare and Freud.

''I've written a couple of scenes which we've never shot of Tommy trying to go to a psychiatrist, which I think are interesting. I might bring them back,'' Knight asserted. The analysis isn't enough for him, even though he's so ripe for some Freudian analysis with his mother and all of that. For him, it's not something that you resolve by studying scientifically.''

He concluded, ''Before the War Tommy was ......... not an artist, but spiritual. He got everything from nature and horses and the countryside and wilderness.

That's who he is really. It was all blasted out of him by the war. He's much more interested in mythology as a way of explaining things than he is in teasing everything apart with tweezers and trying to find out what's connected to what, which I don't think he's got time for.''

The Honor and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on great movies and writings on war, PTSD, and Pop Culture, continues. The World Students Society thanks authors, The Express Tribune.

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society - for every subject in the world : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

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