Septimus and Blanche: Victims of Patriarchal Culture
Septimus in Mrs. Dalloway and Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire are interesting fictional characters who suffer from mental illness in the 1920s. Septimus' illness stems from his wartime experiences while Blanche's illness stems from her position as an oppressed woman under patriarchy. In a sense, patriarchal society has produced both illnesses because exploitation of others, war, and oppression of women are characteristic of the patriarchal system. Both Septimus and Blanche have separated themselves from painful reality and have created a new, less painful unreality for themselves. In this essay we will compare Septimus' illness to Blanche's by investigating their symptoms, the influence of patriarchal culture on their concepts of manhood and womanhood, and the situations leading to exacerbation of their symptoms.
At the end of World War I, Septimus has all the symptoms of shell shock, later called battle fatigue, and currently...
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