I'm just a girl : madness, male domination, and female imprisonment in Jane Eyre, The yellow wallpaper, Wide Sargasso Sea, and Faces in the water : a thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in English at Massey University

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Female madness is not always caused by the domination of women. In the texts Jane Eyre, "The Yellow Wallpaper", Wide Sargasso Sea, and Faces in the Water, however, male domination, and female imprisonment do have a relationship to madness. Medical discourse rose to a position of great power in the nineteenth century, as science and reason really began to take over. Suddenly there was a scientific and biological theory behind female inferiority, greatly influencing doctors' perspective of their female patients, and contributing to the enforcement of traditionally female roles. Whilst madness is a real and greatly misunderstood illness, these four texts illustrate that the internalisation and socialisation of medical discourse locked women into roles that, it was believed, they were not capable of escaping.
Patriarchy in literature, Dominance (Psychology) in literature, Mental illness in literature, Sex role in literature, Women in literature, Charlotte Brontë,, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Jean Rhys, Janet Frame, "Faces in the water", Jane Eyre, "Wide sargasso sea", "Yellow wallpaper"