Author Archives: juliednelson

Questions on The Body in Pain

One recurring question that I had while reading Scarry for this week: how much do emotions and psychology play into experiencing pain? In Scarry’s examples of torture, she explains tactics (slamming doors or loud noises) that are meant to rattle the tortured but that are not actually physically inflicted upon them. It seems that emotional terror magnified the experience of pain. I wonder if there is always an emotional component to pain. Can one experience pain without emotion?

Also, this reading made me think of people who self-inflict pain or engage in sadomasochism. These sort of examples suggest a different/pleasurable relationship to pain, but I wonder if this is necessarily the case. Is anyone familiar with this topic and how it relates to Scarry’s theories?


Filed under Elainne Scarry, pain, politics, sensation, sense