A Breakdown or a Breakthrough?: “Madness” in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Doris Lessing’s “To Room Nineteen,” and Khairiya Saqqaf’s “In a Contemporary House” (1)
Hiba Amro

This paper looks into the lives of the female protagonists in Charlotte Perkins Gilman‟s “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Doris Lessing‟s “To Room Nineteen,” and Khairiya Saqqaf‟s “In a Contemporary House” in an attempt to reach a better understanding of women‟s “madness.” To that end, this paper investigates the possibility of madness not being entirely a breakdown, but also a breakthrough, by analyzing the lives and experiences of the “mad” protagonists, as represented in the selected literary works, in light of R. D. Laing‟s theories on the divided self and the politics of individual experiences. Despite the difference in time, place, and cultural contexts, all three women share the same experience of home confinement and domestication for different reasons that stem from patriarchal and social constraints. Such circumstances eventually lead these women to embrace forms of “madness” in ending a suffocating existence that does not allow them to connect with their inner-selves.

Full Text: PDF      DOI: 10.15640/ijll.v6n2a17