Book

Listening in the Silence, Seeing in the Dark

Ruthann Knechel Johansen

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2002 | ISBN: 9780520231146
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520927766 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520231146.001.0001
Listening in the Silence, Seeing in the Dark

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Traumatic brain injury can interrupt without warning the life story that any one of us is in the midst of creating. When the author's fifteen-year-old son survives a terrible car crash in spite of massive trauma to his brain, she and her family know only that his story has not ended. Their efforts, Erik's own efforts, and those of everyone who helps bring him from deep coma to new life make up an inspiring story for us all, one that invites us to reconsider the very nature of “self” and selfhood. The author, who teaches literature and narrative theory, is a particularly eloquent witness to the silent space in which her son, confronted with life-shattering injury and surrounded by conflicting narratives about his viability, is somehow reborn. She describes the time of crisis and medical intervention as an hour-by-hour struggle to communicate with the medical world on the one hand and the everyday world of family and friends on the other. None of them knows how much, or even whether, they can communicate with the wounded child who is lost from himself and everything he knew. Through this experience of utter disintegration, the author comes to realize that self-identity is molded and sustained by stories.

Keywords: brain injury; car crash; trauma; coma; self; selfhood; injury; crisis; stories; self-identity

Book.  236 pages. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Listening in the Silence, Seeing in the Dark

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The Impact of Vulnerability in Listening in the Silence, Seeing in the Dark

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Waiting in Crisis in Listening in the Silence, Seeing in the Dark

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Uncertain Deliveries in Listening in the Silence, Seeing in the Dark

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Becoming Again in Listening in the Silence, Seeing in the Dark

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The Scattered Self in Listening in the Silence, Seeing in the Dark

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Improvisational Selves in Listening in the Silence, Seeing in the Dark

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Accepting Vulnerability in Listening in the Silence, Seeing in the Dark

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Epilogue in Listening in the Silence, Seeing in the Dark

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