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AfflictionHealth, Disease, Poverty$
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Veena Das

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823261802

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823261802.001.0001

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A Child Learns Illness and Learns Death

A Child Learns Illness and Learns Death

(p.59) Two A Child Learns Illness and Learns Death

Veena Das

Fordham University Press

This chapter examines how illness is dispersed over people, relationships, and technologies by focusing on the case of a Delhi woman named Meena, who suffered from tuberculosis and died despite receiving multiple rounds of first-line therapy. It describes Meena's struggle with her illness and her subsequent death through the eyes of her son Mukesh. It asks how children learn to set individual norms for themselves in relation to the adult world by learning to place themselves within relationships as illness and misfortune erodes their taken-for-granted categories of understanding. It considers the dawning realization of family betrayals, the obligations the child takes on himself, and how children are often led to become bearers of knowledge that is not theirs to possess. It also argues that adults sometimes acknowledge that there are experiences to which children might give expression that are beyond the reach of adults.

Keywords:   illness, relationships, tuberculosis, children, family, knowledge, death

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