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The Doctor and Mrs. A.Ethics and Counter-Ethics in an Indian Dream Analysis$
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Sarah Pinto

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780823286676

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823286676.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FORDHAM SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Fordham University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FSO for personal use.date: 18 May 2022

Unconsciousness and Voice

Unconsciousness and Voice

Ahalya

Chapter:
(p.125) 3 Unconsciousness and Voice
Source:
The Doctor and Mrs. A.
Author(s):

Sarah Pinto

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823286676.003.0005

There are blind spots in Mrs. A.’s musings. One of these concerns her maid, who endured traumas Mrs. A. witnessed as a child. Sexual treachery and violence are undercurrents in the case, rising to the surface as matters of judgment and dismissal. While there is little that can be known definitively about the maid’s experience, there is ample material from medicine and law to situate her story. This material connects sexual violation to ruptured consciousness in the form of symptoms—fainting, catatonia, and muteness. It connects with Hindu mythic resources that appear in Mrs. A.’s case as a different kind of testimony than memory, in which women speak righteously about violation and fall unconscious in its wake. These suggest a counter-ethic at the limits of the ways consciousness might be a ground for ethical practice, in the limitations of Mrs. A.’s class consciousness and in the figuring of consciousness in medical histories beyond the case. Ahalya, an ambiguous heroine from epic and folk narrative who was cursed for being violated, is a quiet presence in Mrs. A.’s case. But alongside the maid and contemporary cases, she adds the counter-ethical possibility of unconsciousness as a state of ethical repair.

Keywords:   Ahalya, consciousness, dream analysis, ethics, Hinduism, hysteria, marriage, psychiatry, sexual assault, unconsciousness

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