Departmental Bulletin Paper Feminine Anxiety and the Endangered Identity of the Housewife in Shirley Jackson’s “The Renegade”

ランダオ, サマンサ

(918)  , pp.37 - 49 , 2017-04-01 , 昭和女子大学近代文化研究所
  While anxiety may be examined from many angles, in the works of American author Shirley Jackson (1916-1965), it most closely connects with the construction of personal identity, and how said construction is related to one’s social group and surroundings. Jackson also uses anxiety to reveal unstable and unfamiliar circumstances in everyday life for her characters, and how these have a detrimental psychological effect, especially on women. Jackson’s short story “The Renegade” (The Lottery, 1949) is about a rural housewife who confronts mental instability caused by the isolation and the anxiety often experienced by women of her time period. The catalyst for this anxiety is her family’s dog, which has been accused of killing the neighbor’s chickens. Jackson utilizes the neighbors’ reactions to the dog as the lens through which the reader follows the housewife’s mental breakdown and psychotic visions. By using the psychoanalytic theories of Julia Kristeva and Sigmund Freud, as well as Feminist literary theory, this paper examines Jackson’s perspective on feminine anxiety and how it relates to the tradition of female mental disease in literature.

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