comparative sum analysis 2

comparative sum analysis 2 - Kate Campbell Comparative...

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Kate Campbell November 27, 2007 Comparative Summary Analysis 2 Dr. Sweitzer Humanities 101 U Elaine Scarry, in the first chapter of her book The Body in Pain , and George Orwell, in an excerpt from 1984 , both discuss the difference between a confession and a betrayal. Scarry believes that a confession made under torture is not a form of betrayal. This is because according to Scarry, when one undergoes severe pain, “contents of consciousness are…obliterated” (30) and one cannot betray what they do not know or recognize. Orwell recognizes that at points consciousness is absent and also believes that a simple confession under torture is not a form of betrayal. However, Orwell believes it is betrayal when one will sacrifice a loved one to save his or her own life, even under severe pain from torture. Although both arguments agree in some sense, overall the arguments conflict. Orwell believes that one is able to betray another while being tortured, whereas Scarry believes this to be impossible. Scarry’s approach would appeal more to torture victims as a way to console themselves for what they may have confessed under torture. Elaine Scarry does not believe it is possible for one to “betray” another under torture. She explains that “in confession one betrays oneself and all those aspects of the world…that the self is made up of” (Scarry 29). However, Scarry goes on to explain that because pain obliterates what she calls “the content of conscious” (30) the world and self are in turn absent, and “one
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cannot betray…something that has ceased to exist” (Scarry 30). Scarry suggests that a torturer is linked to the world because he or she has a motive, which ultimately means his or her consciousness is still intact and he or she is still linked to the world. However, a confession acknowledges the victim’s absence of a motive, and “‘betrayal’ accuses him [the victim] of willfully abandoning” (36) this motive. Since the victim no longer has a motive, the victim has reverted to the altered state of consciousness (which Scarry believes is caused by extreme pain) and is no longer linked to the world (which nullifies any act of betrayal). Now, the act of confessing is no longer the victim’s own voice, but the voice of the torturer. This is why Scarry
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This note was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course HUM 101 taught by Professor Sweitzer during the Fall '07 term at Wofford.

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comparative sum analysis 2 - Kate Campbell Comparative...

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