Madness and Lack of Autonomy: A Close Reading of Mary’s Gradual Mental Disorientation in Doris Lessing’s The Grass is Singing
Abstract: Madness in woman is explored in this article through a close reading of Doris Lessing’s The Grass is Singing (1950). The protagonist of the text, Mary, longs for an autonomous identity. Failing to achieve autonomy makes her vulnerable in conforming to the social expectation and destroys her self-esteem. This article has explored three phases of Mary’s life—spinsterhood, unhappy married life, and her journey to sexual awakening which only gets repressed again by the racial oppression she faces as a white woman being in love with a colored man. This article has discussed the destructive influence of racism and class distinction on a woman’s sexuality, as a way to oppress the psyche of a woman. I have come to the conclusion that a woman’s failure to gain autonomous sexual identity is one of the main reasons behind her neurosis.
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Published in 2016