Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

Mental Illness and the Mad/woman

Anger, Normalcy, and Liminal Identities in Mary McGarry Morris’s A Dangerous Woman

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2017), 11, (1), 1–16.

Abstract

The article engages with the intersections of mental illness, anger, liminal identities, the feminist trope of the madwoman, and normative frames in Mary McGarry Morris’s A Dangerous Woman. Morris’s protagonist Martha Horgan responds to violence, to her liminal status, and to her ongoing exclusion from the dynamic frames that delineate social norms with expressions of anger that range from subtle to overpowering. Martha’s anger occurs at moments when this frame rearticulates to exclude her, and erases her suffering. Rather than function as a rejection of patriarchy or as a symptom of her mental illness, the article draws from feminist disability studies and Judith Butler’s theorization of normative frames to contend that Martha’s anger alerts us to the moments when normative frames rearticulate, foregrounding the violence liminal subjects like Martha endure.

Ahmed, Sara. The Promise of Happiness. Durham: Duke UP, 2010. Print. The Promise of Happiness Google Scholar

Baym, Nina. “The Madwoman and Her Languages: Why I Don’t do Feminist Theory.” Tulsa Studies in Literature 3.1/2 (1984): 45–59. Print. The Madwoman and Her Languages: Why I Don’t do Feminist Theory Tulsa Studies in Literature 3.1/2 45 59 Google Scholar

Butler, Judith. Frames of War: When is Life Grievable? London: Verso, 2010. Print. Frames of War: When is Life Grievable? Google Scholar

Butler, Judith. The Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence. London: Verso, 2004. Print. The Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence Google Scholar

Butler, Judith. The Psychic Life of Power: Theories in Subjection. Palo Alto: Stanford UP, 1997. Print. The Psychic Life of Power: Theories in Subjection Google Scholar

Carpenter, Cari M. Seeing Red: Anger, Sentimentality, and American Indians. Columbus: Ohio State UP, 2008. Print. Seeing Red: Anger, Sentimentality, and American Indians Google Scholar

Davis, Lennard J. Enforcing Normalcy: Disability, Deafness, and the Body. New York: Verso: 1995. Print. Enforcing Normalcy: Disability, Deafness, and the Body Google Scholar

Davis, N. Anne. “Invisible Disability.” Ethics 116.1 (2005): 153–213. Print. Invisible Disability Ethics 116.1 153 213 Google Scholar

Donaldson, Elizabeth J. “The Corpus of the Madwoman: Toward a Feminist Disability Studies Theory of Embodiment.” NWSA Journal 14.3 (2002): 99–119. Print. The Corpus of the Madwoman: Toward a Feminist Disability Studies Theory of Embodiment NWSA Journal 14.3 99 119 Google Scholar

Eisenhauer, Jennifer. “A Visual Culture of Stigma: Critically Examining Representations of Mental Illness.” Art Education 61.5 (2008): 13–18. A Visual Culture of Stigma: Critically Examining Representations of Mental Illness Art Education 61.5 13 18 Google Scholar

Felski, Rita. Literature After Feminism. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2003. Print. Literature After Feminism Google Scholar

Frye, Marilyn. “A Note on Anger.” The Politics of Reality: Essays in Feminist Theory. New York: The Crossing P, 1983. Print. A Note on Anger The Politics of Reality: Essays in Feminist Theory Google Scholar

Garland-Thomson, Rosemarie. Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature. New York: Columbia UP, 1997. Print. Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature Google Scholar

Garland-Thomson, Rosemarie. “Feminist Disability Studies” Signs 30.2 (2005): 1557–87. Print. Feminist Disability Studies Signs 30.2 1557 87 Google Scholar

Gilbert, Sandra M. and Grubar, Susan The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination. Yale UP: New Haven, 1978. Print. The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination Google Scholar

Goffman, Erving. Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity. New York: Simon & Shuster, 1986 (1963). Print. Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity Google Scholar

Harris-Perry, Melissa V. Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America. Yale UP: New Haven, 2011. Print. Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America Google Scholar

Helal, Kathleen. “Anger, Anxiety, Abstraction: Virginia Woolf’s ‘Submerged Truth’.” South Central Review 22.2 (2005): 78–94. Print. Anger, Anxiety, Abstraction: Virginia Woolf’s ‘Submerged Truth’ South Central Review 22.2 78 94 Google Scholar

Hillsburg, Heather. “Reading Domesticity and Nostalgia in Joyce Carol Oates’s Foxfire.” Bearing Witness: Joyce Carol Oates Studies 1.2 (2014): 1–20. Print. Reading Domesticity and Nostalgia in Joyce Carol Oates’s Foxfire Bearing Witness: Joyce Carol Oates Studies 1.2 1 20 Google Scholar

hooks, bell. Killing Rage. New York: Henry Holy & Company, 1995. Print. Killing Rage Google Scholar

Jaggar, Alison M. “Love and Knowledge: Emotion in Feminist Epistemology.” A Feminist Philosophy Reader. Ed. Alison Bailey and Chris Como. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008. 687–705. Print. Love and Knowledge: Emotion in Feminist Epistemology A Feminist Philosophy Reader 687 705 Google Scholar

Linton, Simi. Claiming Disability: Knowledge and Identity. New York: New York UP, 1998. Print. Claiming Disability: Knowledge and Identity Google Scholar

Lorde, Audre. “The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism.” Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Berekley: Crossing P, 2013. 124–33. Print. The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches 124 33 Google Scholar

Morris, Mary McGarry. A Dangerous Woman. New York: Penguin Books, 1991. Print. A Dangerous Woman Google Scholar

Silver, Brenda R. “The Authority of Anger: ‘Three Guineas’ as Case Study.” Signs 16.2 (1991): 340–70. Print. The Authority of Anger: ‘Three Guineas’ as Case Study Signs 16.2 340 70 Google Scholar

Titchkosky, Tanya. “Disability Studies: The Old and the New.” Canadian Journal of Sociology/cahiers Canadiens de la sociologie 25.2 (2000): 197–224. Print. Disability Studies: The Old and the New Canadian Journal of Sociology/cahiers Canadiens de la sociologie 25.2 197 224 Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Hillsburg, Heather