Parental Crisis in Marsha Norman’s ‘night, Mother: a Lacanian-Feministic Reading

Atoosa Shahsavari, Fahimeh Naseri, Abdolmohammad Movahhed


Reading Marsha Norman’s ‘night, Mother in the light of Lacan’s imaginary and symbolic orders, as well as Adrianne Rich’s notions presented in Of Women Born, one can detect that Jessie’s suicide has roots in the complicated bond she shares with her mother, her struggle for separation from her while unconsciously yearning the imaginary fusion with her, as well as failure in understanding the true nature of her relationship with her father and following in his footsteps. This paper will take a close look at the ways patriarchy has invaded the mother-daughter relationship that Jessie's and Thelma share, and their struggles for achieving self-autonomy, as well as the role Jessie’s father plays in the finality of her decision. Terms such as matrophobia, death drive, abjection, imaginary father, and symbolic father will be used in this paper in order to clarify the ways in which Jessie’s parental ties are destructive.


Marsha Norman, ‘night, Mother, Lacan, imaginary order, symbolic order, patriarchy, feminism, suicide

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