"Mad to be Saved": On the Borderline of Expectation and Desire in Joyce Johnson's Come and Join the Dance

UNCA Author/Contributor (non-UNCA co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jessica Nicole Pringle (Creator)
University of North Carolina Asheville (UNCA )
Web Site: http://library.unca.edu/
Lori Horvitz

Abstract: 1950s America was an America wrought with strict stereotypical gender roles, leading to an increase in the diagnoses for anxiety and depression in women. In 1980, Borderline Personality Disorder, a diagnosis which focusses more on the absence of identity, was coined, and better encompassed the experiences of 1950s women. Using Joyce Johnson's "Come and Join the Dance", this thesis breaks down the criteria of Borderline Personality Disorder and analyzes how the diagnosis closely intersects with the circumstances 1950s women underwent. In Johnson's account, she flips the narrative to work in her favor, exercising catharsis, rather than become plagued or victimized by her involuntary disposition. Thus, Johnson's unique approach to gender roles and, arguably, mental illness highlights the truth of the 1950s by rejecting the norm rather than fall prey to the compliance that plausibly warranted the demise of many of her contemporaries.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2016
borderline personality disorder, mental illness, gender roles, the beat generation

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