Feminist critique of the hegemony of the male-dominated population has established the amount of the madwoman as a central idea of feminist theory and literature. In such gynocritical model, the behavior of the madwoman stands as a subversive response against the subjugation she encounters. This subversive role of the madwoman has been centripetal to the female doctrine. The image of the madwoman parodies the intellectual incapacity women are associated with in the patriarchal world and is established as the initiator of resistance against the oppression they encounter in that world.
In their The Madwoman in the Attic: THE GIRL Copy writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Creativeness, Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar addresses the issue of the depiction of feminine characters in a world shaped by as well as for men. They offer an exquisite point of view on the jobs approved to women by the male-dominated world. Each of these roles is eventually directed to service of the person. Because these assignments were essentially negative, especially the role of the madwoman, they imposed limitations on the girl behavior.
In their work, Gilbert and Gubar focus on the fact that girls writers were appreciated to make their female characters symbolize the sign of the madwoman. This phenomenon stemmed from the dominance of the image of the rebellious madwoman perpetuated by male writers on women. Hence, the creators urge women freelance writers to "examine, assimilate, and transcend" the image of the madwoman that has been generated by the patriarchal population (qtd. in Lagland 93). This image, which is imposed by men, impedes the woman's seek out self-actualization in the literary cannon.
Thus, the creators exhort women freelance writers to "kill the visual ideal through which they themselves have been "killed" into art" (Gilbert and Gubar, Madwoman 596). They stress the importance of obliterating this shape because it is definately not being an exact representation of women or women freelance writers. Women authors should visit a far different and even more realistic image because of their female characters; an image that reflects the real representation of women.
Gilbert and Gubar claim that a woman copy writer should celebrate her own point of view of home and repudiate her image within the patriarchal platform of femininity. That is why they call on female freelance writers to withstand the crushing and culturally enforced image of the madwoman, and also to set a new form of identity which patriarchy has pressured into repression. They dispute for subverting this patriarchal description of ladies in favour of representations of women as fully-fledged things.
The erotic analogy suggested in the question posed by Gilbert and Gubar, "Is the pen a metaphorical manhood?'(qtd. in Taylor 86) possessed a rich background and effectively talks about the existence of the numerous images of the madwoman in women's books. Since women writes lack the "organ" that endows them with the power to write, they confront great misery in producing their literary work. Hence, feminine writers tend to depict the plight they encounter in their literary experience through their female characters' madness. On this sense, the madness that descends upon the female figure is a deliberate dramatic representation of the crippling pressures enforced on women writers and the suffering they experience in their literary job.
Gilbert and Gubar's model of the "Nervousness of Authorship" also makes up about the repeated images of madwomen in women's fiction. In her effort for the self-conception essential to write successfully, the girl article writer must confront not only the anxiousness of affect which she shares with the male article writer, but also a crippling nervousness of authorship. Hence, the madwoman in these text messages projects the results of this experience of women writer's within the overbearing patriarchal world. The female character's madness articulates the writer's sense of loneliness, dread and fighting she encounters in her pernicious literary odyssey.
Since it is handed down from the literary fathers of patriarchy, the "Anxiety of Authorship" is debilitating. It causes "disaffection, a disruption, a distrust, that spreads like a stain through the style and framework of much books by women" (Gilbert and Gubar, Illness 25). Emily Dickinson explains this disruption as "infection" and for her "illness in the word breeds" (Gilbert and Gubar, Disease 25). Because of this infection, the feminine results in women's books suffered from physical and subconscious sickness unto loss of life. Hence, the image of the crazy woman can be viewed as mental disease that reflects this an infection.
What is impressive in Gilbert and Gubar's discussion is that they interpret the life of the image of the madwoman in women writer's fiction for subverting the male-dominated hegemonic culture. The authors research some ways that madness and silence in women's fiction have deconstructed the authoritative patriarchal paradigm. They utilize the image of Bertha Mason, which gives Gilbert and Gubar their subject, to elucidate the energy of women's sexuality, trend, and revenge. In addition they analyze Jane Austen's employment of silence in her books and exactly how this silence can subvert the most typical structures. Examples of other writers described by the authors include Mary Shelley and Emily Bronte in addition to other women writers.
In this regard, Gilbert and Gubar's profile of the living of the madwoman figure authenticates the formation of the non-public and the politics in the feminist doctrine. After showing how the ramifications of socialisation create emotional disease in women, they move to show how these diseases are depicted in women's literature through the madness of the female characters. Women freelance writers used to represent their internal misery in their mad female characters and promulgate a inexpensive rejection of the patriarchal cannon through them.
The feminist idea that no break up can be made between the mental health and the political is one of the major topics of Charlotte Gilman's "The Yellowish Wallpaper" and Doris Lessing's "To Room Nineteen. " Both experiences stand as a living testimony on the employment of the image of the madwoman as a subversive figure against the restraints of the andocentric hegemony. The importance of the theme of madness in these two stories is outlined with specific reference to the idea of the Scottish psychiatrist Ronald Laing. Laing's illuminating accounts of madness substantiates the argument that the feminine personas' madness allows those to articulate, and so subvert, the oppression they face in the patriarchal culture.
In The Yellowish Wallpaper, insanity is part of Gilman's bigger comment on the atrocities of the patriarchal constraints. Within this account, Gilman depicts insanity among the possible methods of escape from these constraints. Afflicted by hysteria and anxious depression, Jane in the storyline is confined. She is forbidden to work and unable to express herself on paper. Her madness comes as sort of reaction to the confinements place against her.
In Laing's terminology, Jane is suffering from "ontologically insecurity. " In the Divided Do it yourself, Laing defines ontological insecurity as the loss of "a company sense of one's own autonomous personality" (65). Jane lacks this sense of "autonomous id" and encounters a sense of dichotomy between her inner personal and the outside world. She desires to solve the divide between "being-for-oneself" and "being-for-another" and also to encourage a far more authentic personality. As Laing indicates, there's a strong connection in the individual psyche "between being-for-oneself and being-for-another, " if there happens any confusion between the two, disturbance may result (Burston 79). Jane is suffering from this "disruption. " She activities disruption in the schizophrenic connection with those who find themselves around her as well as a break up within herself.
As an ontologically threatened person, Jane also is suffering from what Laing conditions as the fear of "engulfment. " Laing defines engulfment as the "extreme distress of the person who confirms himself under compulsion to defend myself against the characteristics of personality alien to his own" (Laing, Divided 58). Jane really seems that society will impinge after her an individuality that is alien to her. Her personality is framed in compliance with the goals of that society, and she needs to extricate herself out of the frame.
Suffering from ontological insecurity and engulfment, Jane acts in a strange yet meaningful way. She produces a microcosm within herself and identifies with objects of her own thoughts. Although often strange, her actions are in fact tries of self-survival. As Laing observes, no subject how meaningless or strange the schizophrenics' behavior may be their aim is to save lots of what is kept of these being (Evans 141).
In spite of the constraints and confinements that stand against her search for self-definition, Jane grows lively rejection of her status quo. Her repeated question "what's someone to do" is fraught with components of nonconformity. It packages the foundation for a rebellion contrary to the male-dominated world; a rebellion that could extricate her out of the traditional female role enforced by the patriarchal hegemony. Slowly and gradually, her desires seize control and she increases strength as she pursues liberty.
In The Politics of Experience, Laing argues that insanity might be looked at as a source of creative imagination (62). Jane's creativity is palpable from the beginning and it is set in discord with John's rationality. Jane feels her freedom in her vitality of thoughts which can be an inherent part of her insanity. However, as a representative of the patriarchal system, John aims at undoing Jane's imaginative ability and maintaining his rigid rationality. By wanting to annihilate her skill of writing, John looks forward to halting her procedure for self-fulfillment to make her embrace the masculinist body of the ideal wife.
However, Jane never suppresses her creativity, and she starts off to create in key. Actually, the storyplot itself is part of Jane's secret writings in which she exercise her brain regardless of her husband's functions of discouragement. Finally, Jane gets tired of covering her writing from everyone and declares "I did write for some time regardless of them; but it does exhaust me a good deal-having to be so sly about it" (Gilman, Yellow 1577). Hence she moves on to displace her creativity on the yellow wallpaper.
The yellowish wallpaper symbolizes the imprisonment of women within the patriarchal confinements. As Paula Treichler argues "the yellow wallpaper is variously interpreted by readers to symbolize the design which underlies erotic in-equality and Jane's situation within patriarchy" (192). It is really significant that the wallpaper itself, like the patriarchal constraints, is hideous and ugly and its pattern is impossible to explain or trace. The hyperlink between the yellow wallpaper and the restrictions imposed by patriarchy is enhanced by the actual fact that the greater Jane becomes alert to the male causes, a lot more the wallpaper begins to reveal itself for her.
This website link is further enriched by virtue of the yellow color of the wallpaper. The colour yellow is symbolic of sunlight, and sunlight is emblematic of the explanation sphere of men. It really is during the day that John issues his requests to Jane and overwhelms her with his annihilating prescriptive program. Alternatively, Jane's imagination flourishes by the moonlight, which is associated with femininity. It is merely at night that she is able to better understand the predicament of the girl behind the wallpaper and connect it with her own imprisonment.
Jane identifies the woman trapped behind the chaotic wallpaper, and she becomes her mode of self-expression. As the story progresses, Jane's identification with that girl is increased. Actually, the wallpaper woman can be thought of as sort of doppelganger to Jane. She signifies Jane's break up psyche and a manifestation of her schizophrenia. The girl behind the wallpaper and Jane are both imprisoned in the hegemonic area. That is why Jane struggles to free the body, and so herself, from that prison.
Jane declares her noncompliance to the patriarchal system of sociable bars symbolised in the wallpaper. She complains that "this thing was not organized on any laws of radiation, or alternation, or repetition, or symmetry, or anything else that I have you ever heard of" (Gilman, Yellowish 1574). This is an intentional invasion on the rational orientations in the doctrine of the phallocentric population. It indicates that logical ideology of the male modern culture is just a couple of "unheard-of-contradictions" (1571) which have been assimilated without questioning. Here Gilman is turning the table from the patriarchal society; the woman who's judged by her contemporary society to be mad lambasts that contemporary society for the lack of reason in its judgement.
Jane's thoughts of emancipation come when she tears the wallpaper down. In tearing the wallpaper, Jane evolves an obvious symbolic inversion of the masculine and female roles. As she perceives her partner fainting upon discovering her creep about her bedroom, she daringly addresses him saying "I've drawn off most of the paper, which means you can't put me back again!" (Gilman, Yellow 1581). Jane is declaring her freedom from the limits imposed on her behalf by society. She'll no longer be the sufferer of these constraints which have been binding her inner spirit.
Liberating herself and symbolically tearing down the rules and structure of patriarchy, Jane celebrates her success over her husband as well as the patriarchal world. Even Jenny expresses this party as "she laughed and said she wouldn't mind (tearing down the wallpaper) herself" (Gilman, Yellowish 1582). This features the latent females' prefer to free themselves from John, the yellowish wallpaper and patriarchy.
Admittedly, the concept of madness in the storyline is embellished with new meanings. Gilman presents madness as the only choice for women in confronting the confinements of the chauvinistic world. To the end, the doppelganger in the storyplot symbolizes not only the protagonist's divided self but also the misery of all women who are imprisoned and inhibited from building their identities. Thus, Jane's insanity makes her a spectacle for many women to understand their plight in the male-dominated culture. This proves Gilman's view that the storyline "was not intended to drive people crazy, but to save folks from being crazy" (Gilman, Why 19).
Like Gilman, Doris Lessing, in her "To Room Nineteen, " aims at elucidating the hidden so this means behind the behaviour of the psychologically-disturbed women, and exactly how this behavior might be the only real method of emancipation for the coffee lover. From the outset, Lessing proclaims her denunciation of the patriarchal view of rationality as she indicates that it is a story about "failing in brains" (Lessing, Room 524). She pokes fun at the actual fact that, for the couple, "everything was in order, " (527) and this their intellect "continued to say that was well" (528). As Janina Nordius records, in the storyplot, Lessing condemns "modern society and its celebration of intellect" (172).
If Jane is suffering from engulfment, Susan suffers from what Laing phone calls "implosion. " Laing reveals that the individual who is suffering from implosion "feels the terror of his emptiness" (Laing, Divided 45). That's what Susan actually suffers from. She identifies her misery as that of "irritation, restlessness, emptiness" (Lessing, Room 531). Susan's predicament should go so far that that she feels "as if there is an enemy there waiting around to invade (her)" (532).
Laing sustains that the schizophrenic person will not experience himself "as well as others or at home on the planet, " rather, he experiences the real do it yourself "in despairing aloneness and isolation" (Laing, Divided 39). Susan feels her real self when she actually is by themselves; "She needed when she was by itself, to be really exclusively, with nobody near" (Lessing, Room 529). Susan's have to be alone springs from her heart-felt desire for emancipation and self-fulfilment. It is essentially an ontological quest, and that's the reason she declares: "I have to figure out how to be myself again. " (528). With this sense, Susan's solitude bespeaks much prospect of her and creates a world full of opportunities for self-actualisation.
Laing argues that there are two settings of cognition in the human consciousness. He message or calls them the "egoic" form of consciousness and the "non-egoic" form of awareness. The dominant function of cognition is the egoic, which is characterized by a feeling of "a constant personalitywithin a framework of certain surface structures of space and time" (Laing, Politics 113). Susan activities a battle between your egoic and non-egoic dimensions of identity. In other words, she experience a conflict between her mental awareness, which insists that she obeys the patriarchal prospects of her role as better half and mother, and her inner awareness, which motivates her for emancipation from the culturally-constructed idea of womanhood.
Ultimately, Susan's will for overall independence wins over. She comes to know that she must renounce the ideas of her mental awareness and embrace the instincts of her internal consciousness. Quite simply, Susan abandons her egoic identification and movements to the non egoic form of awareness by which she embarks on a voyage into her own interior space and time. This is viewed by the dominant society as a symptom of madness. For the rational male-dominated society, any perspective that goes from the mainstream masculine prescriptions is discarded as a kind of hysteria.
Linda H. Halisky responses on the irony of the patriarchal judgment in the storyplot. She observes that as Susan's real sense of the personal is actualized, the contemporary society around her claims that she actually is not "herself. " In other words, modern culture has been designed "to label the manifestation of that self applied 'madness'" (51). Yet Susan's view is that it is easier to be mad if the purchase price for not being mad is usually to be a sufferer of the male hegemony. Thus she would rather be tagged mad than assimilate the prescriptions of an world that fixes her id.
Susan's madness symbolizes a new world on her behalf; a global that is of her own making. It serves a healing process which permits her find ways for self-attainment. Her madness becomes a way to obtain freedom and emancipation from the culturally-defined image of the girl. It is a protest set in place up against the crushing ideas of the male-dominated society and a way of creating an alternative solution identity different from the expectations of this society.
In light of this argument, Susan's suicide is far from being a signal of beat. Laing argues that in our life "there are immediate, seemingly inexplicable suicides that must be understood as the dawn of any desire" (Laing, Politics 37). Susan's suicide initiates this desire. It is hope for reaffirmation of life, a liberating form of self assertion and a restitution of personality. Susan gets into the world of fatality willingly. She prefers loss of life over conformity and over compromise with the culturally produced do it yourself that patriarchy message or calls upon women to expect.
In this sense, the storyline proves Lessing's view that Susan's insanity "had turn into a valuable lesson in respect for other people's rights" (Lessing, Room 533). Susan's madness will be of great benefit, not only for women but also for all those who feel persecuted by various forces. In this regard, Lessing is conveying a general message through Susan. At the end, Susan declares that whatever one loves to do, some may be "simply not to think about the living" (549).
To recapitulate, the concept of madness deployed in Gilman's and Lessing's text messages undermine one of the focal patriarchal schemes. Ellen Friedman, in his "Doris Lessing: Fusion and Transcendence of the feminine and the 'Great Tradition', " argues that "In the feminine tradition, women personas who choose common life above the alternatives of death or madness must compromise their ambitions to permit themselves to be soaked up into a suffocating world" (466). Jane and Susan subvert this hegemonic paradigm. They reject the "ordinary life" and refuse to "compromise" their ambition of self-attainment. They retreat to madness, and even to fatality as regarding Susan, as an enunciation with their rejection of the "suffocating" patriarchal world.
In this sense, the argument provided in both of these stories turns the traditional idea of madness upside-down and deconstructs the patriarchal party of rationality. In these texts, normality and conformity are seen to be the real varieties of madness. Conformity to the rules of contemporary society is the true insane state since it signifies clinging to the dictates of any population that is itself insane. Hence, conscious state of insanity is projected as the only path right out of the society's unconscious madness. It is presented as the only method for attaining the true self through this insane contemporary society.
In his psychological-political research of madness, Laing argues that the term is a interpersonal fact and the interpersonal fact a political event. He keeps that madness is not a declare that one needs to be treated of; rather it is "a particular strategy a person invents in order to stay in an unlivable situation" (qtd. in Martin 127). Jane and Susan are strong enough to stay in this "unlivable" situation. To them, madness becomes "a means of being. " Through their madness, they manage to achieve an individual personality which redefines the id that contemporary society imposes to them. The triumph of the two characters in both stories substantiates Laing's view that "madness do not need to be a breakdown; it may also be considered a breakthrough" (Laing, Politics 129).
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