Reading Through Madness: A Narrative Comparison of Plath and Hornbacher

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Sophronia Knott (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
Web Site:

Abstract: This thesis will compare the private journals of Sylvia Plath to the memoirs of Marya Hornbacher , tracing the similarities in rhetorical language between the two narratives. The similarities between the two authors show the presence of both mania and depression on a literary level. While the thesis is not arguing whether or not these experiences of mania and depression are medically or scientifically validated , it is arguing that there are numerous , traceable , and identifiable characteristics that span across madness narratives within the specific cultural framework of a woman's experience. A close analysis of the private journals of Plath shows a cognitive narration of the experience of having manic and depressive episodes. This thesis argues that both texts show discreet , linguistic indicators of depression and mania and that these experiences construct causality for both the author and the audience out of disorder and chaos , but doing so through a distinctly female point of view. By comparing similarities in metaphors , adverbial intensifiers , and second person narration , readers are able to get a sense of what it is like to experience life as a female with a mental illness. Therefore , these traceable , identifiable rhetorical and literary features of madness are essential to the validation of the self of both the author and the reader , making the study of madness narratives invaluable for understanding the female literary mind.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2017
narratives, nonfiction

Email this document to

This item references:

TitleLocation & LinkType of Relationship
Reading Through Madness: A Narrative Comparison of Plath and Hornbacher described resource references, cites, or otherwise points to the related resource.