Schizophrenia or female consciousness: diagnosing a borderline personality in Doris Lessing's "To room nineteen"

Paulo Henrique De Sá Junior
Self-discovery together with the disintegration of the "self" are some of the major themes present in Doris Lessing's works. Political and committed, Lessing is sometimes not as accessible as some of her contemporaries, but she has expanded the boundaries of fiction, especially of fictional and psychological realism. In "To Room Nineteen" (1987), she combines the political, the social and the psychological to narrate the disintegration of a personality. Susan Rawlings, married to Mathew
more » ... d to Mathew Rawlings, leads a very successful marriage up to the point she recognizes the stormy sea their, or better, her marriage became. The social-political institution which marriage stands for in the mentioned short story influences, or better, generates the central issues brought to discussion in this present work. Elaine Showalter's "Women, Madness and the Family" (1985) sets the primary roots for this analysis, once she argues that ... female schizophrenia [is interpreted] as the product of women's repression and oppression within the family. Madness itself became intelligible as a strategy, a form of communication in response to the contradictory messages and demands about femininity women faced in patriarchal society. (p. 222) Both the dichotomy sanity/madness and Sigmund Freud's concepts of hysteria, absence and his principle of the double conscience will be applied in our analysis of Doris Lessing's "To Room Nineteen", highlighting the problematization of social demands. Besides, diagnosing the borderline personality which is Susan Rawlings applied to Derrida's concept of limit is also our subject of study. Jacques Derrida in his essay "Cogito e história da loucura" (2001) argues that Western society needs madness once this is related to the possibility of history. Which means that the necessity of madness is directly associated to the origins of history. Moreover, questions about the notion of truth could be raised since its key element is decision. Decision constitutes reason which is the free subjectivity of madness. R Re ev vi is st ta a E El le et tr rô ôn ni ic ca a d do o I In ns st ti it tu ut to o d de e H Hu um ma an ni id da ad de es s R Re ev vi is st ta a E El le et tr rô ôn ni ic ca a d do o I In ns st ti it tu ut to o d de e H Hu um ma an ni id da ad de es s I IS SS SN N--1 16 67 78 8--3 31 18 82 2 VOLUME I, NÚMERO IV -