Peripherality And Psychosis in Bessie Head’s A Question of Power
The relation between social and personal identity is an important leitmotif in much “resistance” literature, including those produced by African-American writers, anti colonial Indian writers, postcolonial African writers , feminist women writers and so on. Writers from disenfranchised classes such as these, typically seek to couch their work in the collective identity of their society or obversely even attempt to explore the rootlessness of individuals and their lack of identity thereof, in a society riddled by oppression. Some authors have further explicated the second theme, looking particularly at the ways in which repression of social identity drives individual women and men to insanity, here understood as a state completely stripped of personal identity. Theoretically drawing on this theme, Frantz Fanon's “The Negro and Psychopathology” (Chapter Six of Black Skin, White Masks) is by far the most famous illustration of the correlation between individual insanity and social repression. However this topic has been widely examined by other novelists, poets and playwrights alike. Derek Walcott sets out to explicate Fanon's ideas,in Dream on Monkey Mountain through the madness of Makak, a black man who longs to return to an Africa about which he knows very little and with which he has little genuine cultural connection. From a different approach, V.S Naipaul too treats this theme in the nervous collapse and breakdown of the homeless Mr Biswas who is devoid of a culture in A House for Mr Biswas. In Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys develops Antoinett's madness in connection with the English denial of her Creole culture as well as patriarchal persecution of women. Further, Margaret Atwood in her novel, Surfacing, discusses these concerns in relation to modernism and patriarchy â€“ or even “America”.