Madwomen’ voices in two Arab women authors’ short stories: ‘fury’ and ‘from mare to mouse
The aim of this paper is to present two Arabic short stories, translated into English, and read their respective representations of “madwomen” – women who find that marriage leads to their self-annihilation and threatens their sanity. The first is a short story by Emirati author Amina Abdallah, entitled “Fury.” The author writes about a Middle-eastern woman, the protagonist, who is married to a very rich man, yet is unable to find happiness. Madness enters the picture and is her escape from the patriarchal world. The second text is “From Mare to Mouse” which is written by Lebanese author Layla Ba’albaki. The unnamed protagonist is the daughter of a European woman who had married, presumably, a Lebanese man. As such, she is a hybrid, unable to find a balance between her two heritages. Throughout her narration of the events, we witness her decline and self-annihilation. Like most oppressed female characters, only through madness are the characters able to resist patriarchal impositions. Both texts attempt to write, or re-write, the figure of the “madwoman”, only this time, this is the Eastern “madwoman” rather than the “madwoman in the attic.” This paper examines madness as a liberating literary concept used in women’s writing.