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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Two Captives:Jaycee Dugard and Eunice Williams

Both these girls were abducted violently. Jaycee Dugard in 1991 and Eunice Williams in 1704. We have volumes of information about Jaycee from the internet records and many pictures. We have no pictures of Eunice Williams but we have John Demos's book The Unredeemed Captive. Demos has searched through hundreds and hundreds of archival records to uncover her story. So we have a
picture of her in words unlike any captive story in all the captive literature, and it is voluminous


Both girls matured into women during their captivity. Both emerged absolutely unique and Other within the era of their time. Both were searched for and both were eventually "found". Their stories follow a Deleuzean Difference and Repetition perception of each Event. That is, the kidnappings were kidnappings, what might be

termed the same act; however, they are very different even though they are considered as an identical Event, a recurring Event in time.  So if a Foucaudian genealogy is applied to both Events a fold  in history is unfolded. A genealogy identifies the "cut" in time of an Event. In this case we have two Events of abduction separated by 300 years. John  Demos
The Unredeemed Captive

 has spent his time in archives to dig for his data just as Foucault did his entire life researching human behavior (language, sex, science, economics and what is now psychology). The genealogy does not focus too much about the girl/woman herself, recounting only a few appearances, but instead shines a laser beam onto the workings of the culture that each came from in the era in which they lived. Rarely are we so privileged to have a find like this, a genealogy so detailed in both cases, and separated by 300 years in time that gives us an astonishing long look into the North American mind and psychology, the  difference in human behavior between 1991 and 1704.

A genealogy does not attempt to enter the psychological swamp of interpretation. It simply reports data without elaborating on it. The reader is left to form their own feelings, thoughts, judgments, etc as individuals. Questions are posed but only as possible hypotheses.

When we read their stories following Baudrillard, an entirely different perception emerges with a sharp focus on the two women and their singular emergence from captivity. A more mythical frame can be imagined: Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Ariadne in her Labyrinth, the kind of ordeal or trial the Jungian analyst Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes in her book Women Who Run With the Wolves. She allows us to think of both women as undamaged, as does Baudrillard. Two women who are not sick from their ordeal, not damaged, not in need of being fixed, not needing to be healed, but completely Other, completely unique and whole. This allows each woman to think of herself as a heroine of major import, not a poor victim as society labels her.
Women Who Run With the Wolves