Cathy Caruth's Unclaimed Experience: A Critical Analysis

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Literary criticism has gained attention in the field of trauma studies after the publication of Cathy Caruth’s Unclaimed Experience: Trauma, Narrative, and History and Kali Tal’s Worlds of Hurt: Reading the Literatures of Trauma in 1996 (Balaev, 2014). The early scholarship pointed that the idea of trauma is something that can not be represent for an event (Balaev, 2014). A study of trauma of memory and forgetting, and narrating trauma on The Garden of Evening Mists is conducted by Goh (2013). The author aimed to examine how trauma of memory and forgetting related to one another, and how narrating the trauma can help one heals from the trauma. The study also discussed about the difficulties of narrating the memory, including the trauma. According…show more content…
This concept is adapted from Saegart (1985) and Leon (2009) which they relate it with home (Koh & Leon, 2014). The significance study by these authors is creating a new space for one self can lead to separating self and others. In this study, the authors emphasise that the concept of dwelling is link together with trauma of displacement and dislocation. Home is a place where it makes an individual feel safe, and have sense of belonging (Koh & Leon, 2014). The authors also insert theories such as spaces of heterotopia, and symbolic spaces. Foucault (1986) refers spaces of heterotopia as the space which created by an individual due to s/he does not fit in places (Koh & Leon, 2014). It is a space that does not exist but it gives feeling of existential or belonging (Koh & Leon, 2014). The space is also created by an individual to make an identity for self (Koh & Leon, 2014). For example, in The Garden of Evening Mists, Aritomo created the garden using 'borrowed scenery' which is considered as artificial project. He made the garden as a space for himself. Next, the authors referred to geographer Yi-Fu Tuan who defined symbolic spaces as vision that people create to link human and social facts along with nature just like the garden created by Aritomo (Koh & Leon, 2014). Symbolic spaces sometimes contain religious symbolism (Koh & Leon, 2014). For example, Aritomo made Taoist symbol in his garden to represent harmony. In this study, it can be seen that the authors wanted to deliver that one created space to give self an identity. It can be deduced that if one lose the 'space', it will lead to trauma of trauma of displacement and dislocation. The trauma of displacement and dislocation is not discussed thoroughly in this study as the authors stressed on the spaces that an individual
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