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Cathy Caruth Trauma And Experience Analysis

Decent Essays
Into the Void
The concept of trauma and the understanding that is something very real that impacts the people whom experience it is not new. However, in her series, “Trauma and Experience”, author Cathy Caruth attempts to redefine the way trauma is defined and examined. Caruth applies this new understanding to assess the symptoms and the reality of life that patients who suffer from trauma experience. She discusses patient’s inability to place the experience into their own history and how it leaves a sort of void in their memoires. Furthermore, she assesses patient’s inability to communicate the events of their past which ultimately get lost in translation as the words to describe their experiences and feelings cannot be found. Finally, she digests the ultimate consequence of victims not being willing or able to accept the tragedies and trauma. Thus, Caruth utilizes her new definition of trauma to illuminate its effects and
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Applying this definition with the displayed symptoms in patients, Caruth describes the sort of void that is left in a patient who experiences trauma. Because the event cannot be processed at its time of actual occurrence, the victim is left with a gap in his or her own history and life. Because of this void and lack of understanding, coming to terms with and incorporating the events into one’s own historical timeline is seemingly impossible. Caruth further elaborates this claim and explains the difficultly of having “access to our own historical experiences [when] a history whose immediacy is a crisis to whose truth there is no simple access” (6). Although the events of a trauma occur, Caruth’s definition of trauma helps to illuminate why one cannot access the event being because they do not experience it or understand it as it
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