Madness Oppression And Unfulfilled Aspirations In Sylvia English Literature Essay

This thesis attempts to analyze two novels by Edith Wharton and Sylvia Plath, and farther represents the soundless anon. others who have existed behind the drapes of mental unwellness. It besides attempts to analyze the adult females of the refuge who have been cast aside for their ‘otherness ‘ and peculiarly those with unrealized aspirations, dominating matrimonies and defeated potencies.

This survey non merely examines these adult females creative persons who have been labeled “ huffy ” and who live in the private universe of emotional agony undergoing psychiatric conditions of depression, but besides tries to reply some of the undermentioned inquiries:

a ) What is lunacy?

B ) Why is mental unwellness considered a ‘stigma ‘ ?

degree Celsius ) What are the fortunes in a adult female ‘s life that drive her “ out of her head ” ?

B- Outline

I- Introduction

What does society think of lunacy? Is it perceived a failing, a stigma or a expletive? Or is it merely classified as an unwellness? Then, allow ‘s believe of all the originative heads of Charles Beaudelaire, Guy de Maupassant, A William Blake, Aghatha Christie, Joseph Conrad, A William Faulkner, Henry James, John Keats, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, A Silvia Plath, Charlotte Perkins GilmanA , Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf and Anne Sexton. They all suffered depression. Some went wholly out of their heads, and others committed suicide. We can besides add Michel Foucault who suffered sporadic turns of depression and a suicide effort in 1948. Now, allow ‘s conceive of that effort was successful? ! We would be so suffering non to read his fabulous texts. In fact, the above list is merely a sample and can incorporate 10s of creative persons of all spheres, from different societies, and in different epochs. In fact, if we try to give a full record of all the creative persons who suffered mental unwellnesss, the list will include more work forces than adult females. Not because work forces are more likely to fall in depression than adult females, but because society has been dramatically more unfair to mentally-ill adult females than to mentally-ill work forces. Mentally-ill adult females have been shunned and denied any activity. Society has for a long clip institutionalized and confined mentally-ill adult females and rejected their creativeness. Many female creative persons who saw themselves as “ outside ” of the general populace because of a mental unwellness were likely to hold a return on society and humanity rather different from the “ inside ” adult male or adult female. In order to foster warrant this statement, I need to reply the undermentioned inquiries:

What does the term lunacy mean when it refers to adult females?

How are huffy adult females represented in modern American literature?

The chief intent of the thesis: why, who and how?

– Why a combined analysis of lunacy and subjugation?

– Who are the two American female authors being studied?

– What attack will the analysis of the two novels take?

II- Chapter One: The different attacks that have studied the phenomenon of female ‘mental unwellnesss ‘ and psychiatric conditions.

For centuries, huffy individuals were considered evil existences who could be treated by merely three therapists: a doctor, a priest or a magician. The twelvemonth 1100 is the first record of an refuge founded in Europe entirely for those who suffer from mental unwellnesss. Still, projecting out the Satan was the common intervention for the mentally sick. In fact, in Medieval Europe, the mentally sick were labeled enchantresss and assumed to be inhabited by devils.

In 1403, St Mary of Bethelem, or Bedlam, an refuge merely ouside London, foremost accepted psychiatric patients. However, faith had a different say on the affair. In the 16th century, the Pope, commissioned two priests to fix a book refering how to acquire rid of the Satans and devils from the Christian universe. These priests drew up a book depicting the Satan, the ways to cognize it, and how to kill it. It besides describe the method of tormenting the insane, with full inside informations of assorted processs and techniques of anguish.

1- The pre-Freudian attack:

In 1703, John Broughton foremost used the word “ psychological science ” . Still the mentally sick people in America were incarcerated with felons, many chained and beaten. In 1849, it was recorded the first usage of electrical stimulation of the tegument and K oxide to handle institutionalised patients with melancholy depression. Electrical stimulation became widespread during the ninetenth century along with the method of word association.

2- The Freudian attack:

In 1895, Sigmund Freud and Josef Breur published Studies on Hysteria, a survey of the unconscious head. Freud ‘s psychological science placed much importance on gender and sexual development. Freud ‘s findings helped head-shrinkers use word-association methods to bring out unconscious procedures. Freud and Breur besides helped in the creative activity of new intervention consisting of supportive treatment with hospitalized psychiatric patients.

3- The post-Freudian attack

The term “ schizophrenic disorder ” was introduced in 1911 to depict a status characterized by disorganisation of idea procedures, incoherency of idea and emotion and a turning inward of the patient with a splitting from world. The split besides refers to the split between the mind and emotion, but non between personalities, as is normally and falsely assumed. Although Sigmund Freud insisted that medical preparation was non necessary to execute depth psychology, the medical profession took over the field and locked psychologists out. In 1961, head-shrinker Thomas Szasz ‘s book, The Myth of Mental Illness, amplifies earlier averments such as those by Erving Goffman, that mental disease is a metaphor and that most patients in mental infirmaries exhibit their psychotic symptoms and behavior as a direct resullt of being hospitalized.

4- The Feminist attack

In 1978, Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar published The Madwoman in The Attic, now a authoritative text of early women’s rightist literary unfavorable judgment. They argue that those huffy adult females authors of the 19th and 20th century rebelled against the stenosiss of patriarchal authorization. Feminist criticim produced literary texts such as Jean Rhys ‘s Wide Sargasso Sea ( 1985 ) which is a prequel to Charlotte Bronte ‘s Jane Eyre. Rhys revisits the paradigmatic figure of Bertha Mason, Mr Rochester ‘s huffy married woman. Rhys ‘s attack of the character gives her voice to convey what causes her lunacy. By and large talking, Feminists province that psychopathology pathologizes adult females in an unjust mode and stigmatises the huffy adult female. As a response, Bertha Mason became a compelling metaphor for adult females ‘s rebellion. Traveling mad has besides been perceived as a response to sexual repression of adult females by work forces and society in general.

5- Michel Foucault ‘s attack

The refuge is chiefly a signifier and a topographic point of institutional control. Foucault argues that the assorted signifiers of “ lunacy ” identified in the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Enlightenment do non stand for what we now call the mental unwellnesss. First, Foucault criticizes traditional historiographers of psychopathology for trying to place assorted historical instances of schizophrenic disorder and clinical depression. Second, he argues that lunacy is culturally constructed and that those who lived in radically different contexts merely could non hold had modern psychiatric conditions. Third, he advocates that ‘moral ‘ and ‘medical ‘ interventions of the mad are exhaustively associated with each other and they must travel manus in manus because the very designation of lunacy is a culturally located moral determination. Therefore, the mad has a voice incompatible with the jussive moods of modernness such as the Cartesian reason, scientific discipline, and objectiveness. Insanity should non be defined in absolute footings but instead in relativistic footings. Insanity is a societal building in its definition by society. In my analysis of The Bell Jar and The House of Mirth, I will utilize Foucault ‘s Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, Hisotry of Madness, and History of Sexuality.

6- R.D Laing ‘s attack

Sanity, for Laing, is the easy mode for adult male to vacate his true ego for the interest of the predominating values of society. However, insanity is the failure to set and the attendant perturbation of this failure. Laing advocators that household, like any establishment, is compsed of those who hold power and those who do n’t. That ‘s why, patriarchate, as many other systems of subjugation, persists. In fact, the values of any peculiar household will be, of necessity, the values of those possessing the power. He notes that some persons are faced with a quandary of holding an individuality defined for them against a sense of who they experience themselves to be. This state of affairs confuses them and leads them to what he thinks ‘going brainsick ‘ entails: ‘A sane response to an insane state of affairs ‘ . As a head-shrinker, Laing did non order drugs to his patients. Alternatively, he focused on day-to-day group therapy, single therapy and on-going inetraction. In my analysis of the two novels, The Bell Jar and The House of Mirth, I will pull upon two plants by R.D Laing, The Divided Self and Politics of the Family.

II- Chapter Two: Oppression and Madness in Sylvia Plath ‘s The Bell Jar and Edith Wharton ‘s The House of Mirth

Sylvia Plath wrote merely one novel in her life, The Bell Jar, in 1963. It is semi-autobiographical and it was foremost published under the anonym “ Victoria Lucas ” . The novel is frequently depicted as a Roman a clef ( a novel about existent life overlaid with a facade of fiction ) because the chief supporter ‘s descent into mental unwellness analogues Plath ‘s ain experience of clinical depression. The chief supporter in the novel is Esther Greenwood, an houseman at a outstanding magazine in New York metropolis. Her experiences during her stay in the large metropolis disturbed her. Her association with two co-workers, adventuresome Doreen, and pious Betsy pulled her toward two extremes. Flashbacks of Esther ‘s relationship with her ex-boyfriend Buddy, and of her early college old ages serve to convey how much of her individuality is centered upon wining academically. Unsure of what to do of her life once she learns that she is non accepted for a writing class given by a world-famous writer, Esther could non hold on the picks presented to her, chiefly of maternity and matrimony. Consequently, she descends into an increasing depression and terrible insomnia. Her female parent strongly recommends that she sees a head-shrinker. The head-shrinker, Dr. Gordon, prescribes electronvulsive therapy, ECT. The “ intervention ” reminds Esther of the eloctrocuted Rosenbergs. In fact, the novel opens with this really incident which affected Esther momently. Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were American Communists convicted and executed on June 19, 1953 for confederacy to perpetrate espionage during a clip of war. Their executing was the lone executing of civilians for espionage in the United States history. ECT made Esther ‘s mental province worse. She describes her depression as a feeling of being trapped under a bell jar, fighting for breath. She makes several efforts at self-destruction which culminate in her determination to get down about 50 dormant pills.

After this dramatic episode, she survives and is sent to a different mental infirmary where she is treated by a female healer, Dr Nolan, who gives Esther big sums of insulin to bring forth a “ reaction ” , along with regular Sessionss of psychotherapeutics. However, Dr Nolan, prescribes daze interventions to Esther excessively, but this clip Esther says they have antidepressive effects. Dr. Nolan refers Esther to a physician who fits her for a diaphgram. This means of contraceptive method makes Esther experience free from frights of the effects of sex and matrimony. Esther is expected to go a homemaker and this thought summarizes the inquiry of socially accepted individuality. Esther is imprisoned in a state of affairs that confuses her about her ain ideas and feelings. She is induced to believe that she owns the socially approved ideas and feelings that others want her to hold.

RD Laing names this state of affairs as ‘mapping ‘ . It occurs when a individual ‘maps ‘ some accepted societal definition of world onto his/her experience and so acts as if that map reflected his/her experience. Esther ‘s personal experience is really different from the ‘mapped ‘ pseudo-experience and from the social outlooks refering determinations about a possible calling and household. However, despite the fact that Esther could non yet make up one’s mind on which calling way to prosecute, she does non subject to those imposed on her. She besides resists force per unit areas of ‘proper ‘ codifications of behavior particularly refering gender. In fact, she holds a at odds position of female gender. She divides the universe into two distinguishable classs, those who have had sexual experience and those who did non. She besides seems to be preoccupied with her virginity throught the novel. It is merely when Esther takes control of her gender ( through the stop ) that she finds a sense of recovery and a better mental wellness. She has become free from the parturiency of the bell jar at last. This memoir besides aimss to analyze how Sylvia Plath relates gender to violence against adult females through the survey of Marco ‘s effort to ravish Esther.

Edith Wharton, published The House Of Mirth in 1905 at a clip of great industrial enlargement in the United States, America ‘s Gilded Age ( 1876-1901 ) . Wharton sets her novel in the environment of the great metropoliss where the rich become much richer and the hapless much poorer, that is, in large metropoliss like New York where on one block lived millionnaires in sign of the zodiacs and on another block immigrant households gathered in tenements. The House of Mirth depicts two old ages in the life of Lily Bart, an ambitious adult female who aspires to travel up to the first block, that of the millionnaires. Her compulsion with money prevents her from get marrieding the adult male she truly loves because he is non affluent plenty. Lily Bart ‘s life is the very articulation of unfulifilled aspirations. Her society is governed by the rule that merely some members of it are destined for success, while others are doomed for failure. Wharton condemns the elitist universe of adult females such as Bertha Dorset, the adversary who uses her money and power to queer others ‘s aspirations. On the other manus, Lily Bart is the incarnation of a adult female who wants love but aspires to a position amongst the upper-class New York societal circles. Lily ‘s letdown and her slide down to poverty lead her to depression and to what appears to be a self-destruction. It is when Lily loses love and wealth that the writer offers decease as the lone other ‘safe ‘ topographic point for an unfulifilled adult female.

Indeed, it is true that Esther ‘s unrealized aspirations were rational and at different degree than those of Lily ‘s, whose aspirations were chiefly maternal, but in both instances, the emotional motive prevails. Their procedure of adjustement ( or failure to ) to an overruling societal world came at the disbursal of their basic aspirations. Lily underwent, deliberately, a procedure of retraction by which she attempted to scratch herself in a new society. When she fails, she feels marginalised and foreign to both the old and the new universes. On the other manus, Esther veers toward terrible depression as a consequence of a failure to set and to compromise her basic rules.

III- Chapter Three: The Bell Jar and The House of Mirth under the lens of Postmodernism

The focal point of this subdivision will be the treatment of the truth of Foucault ‘s and Laing ‘s specific claims about the mad, and society ‘s response to lunacy. Furthermore, I will try to place the ontological categorization of lunacy, is it basically the concern of medical specialty, morality, sociology or psychological science? What is interesting about postmodernism here is the perceptual experience of worlds as societal concepts and hence as capable to alter. Postmodernist minds challenge the impression of reason and embracing other elements such as lunacy ( Foucault ) , desire ( Deleuze and Guttari ) and carnival ( Kristeva ) . Postmodernists claim that ground is non cosmopolitan as they celebrate impressions of diverseness, difference, pandemonium and lunacy.