Sandra M. Gilbert & Susan Gubar’s

The Madwoman in the Attic


Argument: How dominant are women writers in a man’s world “If the Queen’s looking glass speaks with the King’s voice.” “How do its perpetual kingly admonitions affect the Queen’s own voice?”


Their view on…

Harold Bloom’s

Literary Oedipal struggle: Strictly male. It can not be reversed since we can not find symmetry between boys’ and girls’ development.


Electra structure: Unlike the Oedipal structure, women look at female predecessors because they share a bond, a “sisterhood”.


Anxiety of Influence: More severe for women because their precursors are predominantly male. A stronger bond is created between the influence-r and influence-d because of the inevitable scrutiny the influence-r went through.


Anxiety of Authorship: Is a result of the fact that women leave little or no impact among their audience. Authority does not define women.


Psychoanalysis: “Psychoanalysis is not a recommendation for a patriarchal society, but an analysis of one.”


The Result of a Male-Dominant World “Patriarchal socialization literally makes women sick, both physically and mentally.”

Hysteria: The result of oppression, expectations, and pressure.

Anorexia: “A woman’s only power is the power of refusal.”

Agoraphobia: Occurred mostly in middle-aged housewives.

Claustrophobia: Eyes closed motif.

Aphasia and Amnesia: represents what a patriarchal society expects of women.


Examples of Female Writer:

Emily Dickinson.

The Bronte sisters.

Mary Shelley

Gilbert and Gubar depict how each one of them is her own “madwoman” in the attic.


The Semi-Solution: Forming a subculture paralleling “the secret sisterhood” which enables women to be influenced by earlier female authors and manifests their thoughts on paper.



Nour Al-Qattan

Afnan Al-Mulaifi