The Presentation of Mental Suffering: A Comparison of Plath and Williams

May 2, 2019 by Essay Writer

This essay will look at both the polarity and unity within the mental suffering of characters and voices from Tennessee William’s A Streetcar Named Desire (‘Streetcar’) and Sylvia Plath’s Collected Poems, focusing specifically on the extent to which they suffer due to their imagination and whether or not this is a more frequent commodity than the times that they suffer due to reality. Both, Plath and Williams’ dichotomy and duality will allow explorations to be made across their texts, relating back to the suffering of the playwright and poet themselves and how this has attributed to their own work.

It appears that within Plath’s Ariel collection and Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, the protagonists’ suffering is a result of them placing themselves in situations that they thought would rid them of the aspects of their past causing them misery, however, we see this result in them being subjected to further suffering of another form. Fundamentally, both writers convey elements of themselves within the characters and voices that they portray. Williams, himself, has admitted to his work being emotionally autobiographical[1] and with Plath, it is possible to detect parallelism with her work of fiction and that of her journals; it’s symptomatically shown and contextually proven that she suffered from an unspecified (though arguably either manic or endogenous) form of depression. With Williams, we can interpret from both the input from Elia Kazan (the director of many of Williams’ plays who was greatly attracted to the freedom and mobility of his work[2]), and Williams’ confession, himself, of basing Tom and Laura Wingfield’s character from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof on himself and his sister Rose, that he was portraying elements of Rose in Blanche through having her reflect Rose’s qualities. After all, as Kazan has stated, “Everything in his life is in his plays, and everything in his plays is in his life.”[3] Considering this, we can establish that, as with Rose, the disorder that Blanche is potentially suffering from is schizophrenia. This makes it important to note: Blanche’s debaucheries do not define her. They are symptomatic of her disorder, not attributive to her personality. This misunderstanding is what leads the characters around her to mistake her speech and actions for that which it is not, hence the suffering she is forced to endure after Scene 11. Having now established that the two are both presenting individuals with disorders, I will therefore examine the ways in which their work shows them attempting to fix this, whilst avoiding the consequences of it too.

Watzlawick’s theory[4] works well to explain this. It conjectures that miscommunication happens because all of the communicators are not speaking the same language, which happens because people have different viewpoints of speaking[5]. This is seen clearly in Streetcar through the representation of Blanche’s character. Her inability to be understood by those surrounding her is ultimately what led to her suffering as it meant that she was incapable of receiving help from them in the correct manner. Williams himself was considered an outcast at school due to his diphtheria; his weakened heart prevented him to do what other people do. This is presented through Blanche’s character and the marginalization that her illness causes for her. Plath shares this ostracism caused by people’s inability to understand. In ‘The Moon and The Yew Tree’ we see her referring to herself as a planet and the people around her, her children, as planets too (in ‘The Night Dances’). The mention of receiving a gift from the sky could refer to the remainder of matter around her, matter that is both smaller and stuck in one place (as the sky would refer to the sky to one planet). In this way, she could be emphasizing how small-minded the people around her are and how they are not great enough to reach the universe or other planets but are merely limited to a single worldview. Her suffering, in this way, is due to the parochialism of the people around her. This is a theme that is vaguely hinted at across her poems as in ‘Little Fugue’ she speaks of how “the deaf and dumb // Signal the blind, and are ignored” and in ‘Years’ she speaks of how “They freeze and are”, again addressing their limitation and how she does not share this outlook, hence the following phrase “O God, I am not like you”. She also speaks of how she is “Incapable // Of licking clean” as she evidently cannot cure herself from her illness but this isn’t something that is understood by those around her.

Stella informs us that “There are things about [her] sister [that she doesn’t] approve of – things that caused sorrow at home. She was always – flighty!” … “very young, she had an experience that – killed her illusions!” raising the idea that the deterioration of her mental health began at a young age and that she was always predisposed to this; the death of Allan (and other relatives) and Stanley’s assaultive actions merely triggered the onset of her condition, causing a drastic behavioral decline. It is arguable that Blanche’s imagination could be what led to her reality, although, I think often in Streetcar when we refer to Blanche’s imagination, we are doing so in a way that is synonymic for her illness as it can be difficult to differentiate between the two once the disorder has behaviorally consumed the individual. This is one of the problems with schizophrenia; it alters the individual’s perception causing the lines between reality and imagination to blur so to determine whether an individual truly perceives what we’d call an imaginative thought as their reality, is both difficult to decipher and impossible to measure. Considering that it is the occipital lobe that is responsible for our imagination and that many studies have found a correlation between there being evident changes in the volume of grey matter (and white matter) in the occipital lobe for individuals with schizophrenia[6]. For this reason, it seems clear that Blanche’s imagination, as a mentally ill character, could really be her reality so which of the two she’s suffering from is questionable. In further depth, her auditory hallucinations would have initiated within her temporal lobe, a lobe, too, associated with schizophrenia (as when the volume within the lobe decreases, schizophrenia becomes symptomatic). Therefore, seeing that this is mentally ill individual’s reality, it can be argued that it is their own reality that they are suffering from, not the alternative.

Similar principles apply to Plath and her posthumous writing. Critics, such as Alvarez[7], argue that Plath wrote with mostly death on her mind, however, I argue that her writing was an attempt to rid herself of her suffering, not her entire life. Although Plath did later commit suicide, I feel that her pessimistic outlook was merely characteristic of her disorder and not a forewarning that she was sending out. Plath’s depression has been identified through many critical and psychological interpretations of her work though it became an established fact when she was institutionalized for it in the 1950s.[8] In her last written poem ‘Edge’ for example, she describes two children (presumably hers) as “serpents” indicating that they have poisoned her, but she doesn’t specify what they have poisoned her with. It could perhaps be happiness as in various other poems, she feels joy around them and shows a great deal of worry and concern regarding their well being. In ‘The Night Dances’, for example, she writes of how Nicholas used to dance at night. Nicholas, her son, also suffered from depression and completed suicide in his late 40s. Plath almost foreshadows this in her poem through focusing, in the first stanza, on his irretrievable smile and, in the second stanza, how answers will become clear in the future. Here, Plath’s suffering may seem illogical, however, she judiciously fears what illness will do to him and rightfully so as it can be assumed that Otto passed down his defective genes to Plath and that she, too, has passed hers onto Nicholas. In her poem ‘Little Fugue’ she talks of how, “Dead men cry from it.” As dead men cannot actually cry, her suffering due to paranoia (aka her imagination) is emphasized here.

Divulging into this deeper, the relation to dead men (i.e. Otto, the closest dead man in her life) raises the question: was Otto suffering from his imagination too? The focus of the poem is incongruous with the facts as there is no evidence found of Otto being soldier but the poems suggests this anyway. For this reason, the poem may be hinting at the fact that Otto passed down his defective genes which would work well to explain Plath’s fear that her children will get sick as she did too. The paranoia surrounding her children is seen in ‘Death & Co.’ where she says, “Look in their hospital // Icebox”. Her calling the incubators an icebox is evidently her suffering from her imagination as she perceives a perfectly protective environment to be a threatening piece of apparatus. Her paranoia that they will get ill, mentally ill, is further emphasized through the hovering midwifes wearing “death gowns”. Furthermore, the idea that both Blanche’s character and Plath’s vocalizer are in anguish due to an illness that they were predisposed to emphasizes that their suffering is caused by their harsh realities.

The absence of Giddens[9] ontological security in both the voice that comes through in Plath’s poems and Williams’ character Blanche, draws emphasis to the lack of meaning in the lives of the two. It refers to consistency of events in an individual’s life. Meaning, as Elias (1985) has stated, is found in the absence of anxiety and chaos in one’s life, allowing an individual to experience positive and stable emotions; one must function in opposition to Beck’s cognitive triad[10]. Contravening this threatens ontological security. Focusing specifically on Blanche, ontological security is often threatened by death. We know that (as with Williams and Hazel[11]) Blanche lost Allan to suicide and so this, as Philip A. Mellor has stated, causes people to “question the meaningfulness and reality of the social frameworks in which they participate, shattering their ontological security”[12] Catharine from Suddenly Last Summer is attributive to this too; all individuals characterizing Williams’ schizophrenic sister, Rose. Arguably with Plath, it can be interpreted that her ontological security was shattered by the death of her father. Despite her euphemistic journal utterings, it seems evident that Plath refrains from speaking about it and creates alternative fantasies to convince herself to hate him as to admit that a person she loves is gone would simply be too painful to bear.

Mental suffering in Streetcar is presented in a societal manner through the characterization of Blanche and was used to justify changes in later psychiatric treatments. For this reason, the text itself can be argued to have contributed to the anti-psychiatry movement of the time, considering its advocation of the same idea that psychiatric treatments are often more harmful than helpful to patients. Blanche’s hesitation towards the unjust methods that are used to deal with her in the 1940s emphasizes the suffering that we can assume she is subjected to at the end of the play. When Stella asks, “Shall we go, Blanche?” and Blanche responds, “Must we go through that room?” her hesitation emphasizes that perhaps there is something wrong with what Stella is doing, thus creating doubt within the audience’s minds. Despite the topic of their conversation being in regards to how to cross over to the Doctor and Matron waiting outside without encountering the other characters, Williams’ intention may have been to emphasize Blanche’s disapproval of the method of treatment that Stella has selected for her. She establishes earlier in this scene that “this place is a trap!” The emphasis on the abstract noun “trap” denotes a situation in which she unknowingly landed herself in but now, cannot escape. In A Glass Menagerie’s production notes, Williams wrote, “To escape from a trap, he has to act without pity.”[13] Blanche didn’t escape the trap due to her compliance with the Doctor and Matron. She wasn’t ruthless enough to further disrupt Stella’s life; she didn’t project her suffering onto others, never intentionally. This is evident through stage directions such as “she lets them push her into a chair”. We see at the end that she has acquiesced her disorder thus her cooperation as even when the Matron releases her arm, she still follows. Stella’s involvement within the denouement of the play is of great significance, particularly where she screams, “Don’t let them do that to her, don’t let them hurt her! Oh, God, oh, please, God, don’t hurt her! What are they doing to her? What are they doing? [She tries to break from Eunice’s arms.]” Williams purposively uses repetition in the final sentences to emphasize the lack of awareness that people had regarding mental illness, hence their ineffectual actions when deciphering how to help cure it. Blanche’s character is both a visual and dialogistic representation of everything that is wrong with the psychiatric treatments used in the 1900s; the other characters in the play are merely there for accompaniment and emphasis of the matter. Considering that Streetcar was published in 1947, it can be seen to act as one of the most powerful texts of its time due to the contribution that it has made to the movement.

Williams’ play was especially significant in the 1940s due to the societal search for stability after the nuclear attacks and general fear of the government[14]. The universality of his plays and the rendered themes within them allowed the new Americans to connect with it during the post-depression and WWII period. The undertones of the play struck a chord with the audience as it drew attention to the victimization of women, highlighting their role in a male-dominated society (this was done so through the self-expression of female characters – Stella choosing Stanley and settling down with him, Blanche and her public debaucheries). It allowed audiences to see the result of reality not coinciding with an individual’s imagination and also when societal perceptions of an individual deviate from that of their true self. As Williams himself has said, all of his plays “had subliminally at least – a great deal of social content.”

Another 19th century movement was Romanticism; one critic[15] claimed that “Blanche [was] literally a conduit of Romanticism”. The presentation of her as an embodiment of inspiration, subjectivity and primacy of an individual may perhaps have been unintentional on Williams’ part but links to the progression of the anti-psychiatry movement of the time as, although Blanche’s speech when questioning the path to the Doctor and Matron waiting for her at the door, it was also highly reflective of her boisterous personality. As Robert Bray says in the introduction of ‘Vieux Carré’, “Williams’ semitropical relocation marked the beginning of an artistic awakening of a period of vigorous self-discovery.”[16]

In regards to Rose, the character that Blanche is potentially a manifestation of, Williams stated that, “She could have become quite well by now if they hadn’t performed that goddam operation on her; she would have come back up to the surface”[17] (the operation being a prefrontal lobotomy). This element of guilt is plagued across Williams’ plays; in The Glass Menagerie, Williams’ character, Tom (which is actually Tennessee’s real forename!) says “Oh, Laura, Laura, I tried to leave you behind me, but I am more faithful than I intended to be!” After Rose’s institutionalisation, Williams made it his mission to get Rose out of there having seen what the lobotomy did to her; he claimed[18] that aside from a few pieces of work, getting Rose out was one of the best things he’d ever done.

In regards to the form of Williams’ text, he has spoken about how American theatrical productions don’t have the audience support that other forms of literature, elsewhere, receive. In an interview with the New York Times, Williams stated that, “The public isn’t conditioned to have the patience to allow them (the characters) to develop as artists.” It’s no wonder the Blanche was misunderstood by those around her as she was misunderstood by the contemporary audience too. R.D.Laing[19], in fact, studied the coercion of psychiatric treatments to patients. His research focused on the anti-psychiatry movement of the 1970s. Laing’s research actually goes to say that delusion is self-deception in the most absolute form. An illusion, he claims, isn’t as deceptive as the whole being is not deceived and, therefore, it would not classify as a total act of deception. The mutuality within the self-deception is an essential part as collusion is supposed to be an interpersonal process. Collusive entrapment is where, symptomatically, the individuals begin voicing their feelings of self-estrangement and depersonalization. Furthermore, the individuals are described as able to function on their own but dramatically incapable when the scene changes and they are in another’s company. It is suggestive that being alone caused her to suffer less than being in the presence of those who interfere greatly but understand very little (hence Blanche being alive and seemingly well on her arrival at Elysian Fields). Laing and Watzlawick’s work actually worked in conjunction in regards to this matter, condemning that the study of pragmatic effects of disturbed human behavior is a communicative reaction to the situation that the individual is in as opposed to their disease itself.

This is illustrated so profoundly in both Streetcar and Plath’s Ariel collection as we see Blanche was, although destroying herself and others in the process, functioning satisfactorily on her own and it was only when she came to Stella’s and was in the presence of individuals like Stanley for an extended period of time that she became increasingly incapable. This, too, is seen in Plath’s poems. For example, focusing on ‘Tulips’, Plath was initially fine in her other poems from when she was hospitalized but the invasion of her husband and the tulips her brought her caused her to feel extremely conflicted and uncomfortable. Her poems are extremely paradoxical in this sense as we see throughout the collection that at times she’ll claim, “I am too pure for you or anyone” only to later contradict it through stating, “It is they who own me”.

There are implications of rape in Streetcar as Stanley “picks up [Blanche’s] inert figure and carries her to the bed” emphasizing that it was a real occurrence and not something Blanche imagined. Similarly, it has been conjectured[20], from ‘Daddy’, one of Plath’s poems that deeply emphasize Freud’s Electra complex, that there was an incident of rape. Although figurative, when sticking with this speculation (as the poems are polysemic) it can be interpreted that in order to surpass and move on from these memories, Plath must face them to cease her suffering, hence her awareness of them as they are becoming unrepressed. Plath in ‘Little Fugue’ states “I was seven, I knew nothing… I am lame in the memory”, thus providing the opportunity to explore why she chooses imagination over reality at times (because reality is not remembered). It may not be a selective choice as her imagination may just be filling in due to having undergone such large-scale repression that there are now significant gaps in her mind for where those memories originally were, hence her conscious mind’s decision to resolve to imagination. In both texts, the situations are did occur, thus accentuating that the cause of their suffering is due to their reality.

Communicatively, we primarily saw Blanche’s husband, Allan, to whom she spoke to but he, of course, failed to understand her and killed himself as a result. We also saw Blanche seek help from Stella, her only remaining family member that we know of and that, too, ended disastrously as there was involvement from Blanche’s brother-in-law, an individual who most definitely had a foreign viewpoint, and the results were again, disastrous. Ultimately, it appears that Watzlawick’s interactional view could work to explain why it is that Blanche was so misunderstood by the people around her and why this led to her suffering further. The lack of actually addressing Blanche’s disorder throughout the course of the play could perhaps be what led her condition to significantly decline towards the end of the play, leaving her vulnerable to Stanley (hence the events of the rising action of the plot). Streetcar, too, is suggestive of rape as we see in Scene Ten that “She sinks” and Stanley “picks up her inert figure and carries her to the bed.” We were primarily aware that Blanche was un-amenable to Stanley’s behaviors, however, this action just instigated the denouement of the play where we see Blanche’s plot arch to come to an end and her suffering to decline into a complete loss of reason and identity.

She may also, potentially, be suffering from the reality of motherhood. Or, contrarily, she may be suffering from her imagination and motherhood may have acted as her salvation. The half-rhyming couplet from lines 21-22 forms a soothing tone; the smooth enjambment introduces this. She also references her children as lamps. This imagery of light is seen in Streetcar in a very different way as we see Blanche constantly in the dark, hiding from the light as much as possible and when Mitch asks to see her, she’s reluctant to let him and Stanley’s final removal of the paper lantern is a huge contribution the denouement of the play. Plath, in the majority of her other poems, is engulfed in darkness so describing her children through the concrete noun “lamps” although perceivably derogatory, is seen as positive imagery. In Streetcar we see this to be just the opposite as Blanche hides from the light, disguising her age through only allowing the visibility of penumbras to form her appearance.

The happiness Plath receives from her children interferes with her suicide ideation, thus her wanting to put them back into her body. In ‘Edge’ she speaks of how “She has folded // Them back into her body as petals”. She also describes herself as the “Pitcher of milk, now empty”, feeling as though she has fulfilled her duty (of breastfeeding them aka carrying out a duty to them that only she can do), her emptiness indicating that having done this, she is now no longer of use to them. Following this, the use of an inanimate object (“petals”) to describe them insinuates her feeling that the children aren’t real, as this is what she needs to believe in order to die with minimal difficulty. In this way, perhaps her imagination is her savior as opposed to her cause of suffering as it enables her to carry out what she intended to, minus the interference of reality; the poem did begin with the statement, “The woman is perfected” and thus, Plath committed suicide a week after completing this poem. Although the context for Blanche is completely different, she also euphemizes the reality of situations that cause her to suffer and instead created a desired version of the truth. We see her admit to this in Scene Nine as she admits “I don’t tell the truth. I tell what ought to be the truth.” Arguably, underplaying the reality of their situations and succumbing into balls of oblivion may be what is preventing them from curing the cause of their suffering.

Overall, Plath tends to focus more on the individualism in mental suffering, causing her to somewhat differ from Blanche in her outlook and approach to treatment. This is due to them suffering from different types of mental illnesses which Plath interpretably believes she can overcome herself, but Blanche searches for assistance. In the title poem of Plath’s Ariel Collection, we see Plath embark on a journey to recovery in which, although she fails, she independently strives towards. The individualism in this emphasizes the polarity between the two writers but even within this, there is duality as, just like with Blanche, the voice in Plath’s poem Ariel strove towards recovery but landed in the wrong place.

In her journals, Plath mentions the death of her father, stating that she’d live “a jolly life anyhow, to spite his face.”[21] This all works in conjunction with the journey undergone in ‘Ariel’, a poem that could be likened to Blanche’s entire journey to Elysian Fields. The voice in Plath’s poem sets out on a horse, like an arrow intending to rid itself of the past, i.e. her repressed memories of her father, just as Blanche sets out to Elysian Fields to start over and forget her past (her memories of Allan and his suicide) but she ends up in the wrong place. This undesired destination works for both, the voice in ‘Ariel’ and Williams’ character Blanche as she thought she’d end up better with support and stability from Stella who is, presumably, her only close living relative left. The vocaliser in Plath’s poem, too, thought that this would be a journey to allow her to move on from her past but instead she loses control of the horse (i.e. the situation in which she’s in, or perhaps the men around her due to the masculine imagery associated with stallion – the horse that Ted Hughes confirmed she rode) landing her in the wrong place. Both characters thus, in attempt to rid themselves of their suffering, lose control of their current situations and end up suffering regardless. The “red” that the vocaliser sees in ‘Ariel’ could relate to the shade of red one sees when closing their eyes after seeing light. This could signify many things, blood, danger but above all, hell. In relation to Streetcar, the package that Stanley throws to Stella at the start of the play shares this same color. This could indicate the beginning of both, the voice in Plath’s poem suffering and Blanche’s too, both further emphasized by the poetic undressing of ‘Ariel’ and Blanche’s character arc. An interesting observation to coincide with this unification of texts was John Gassner’s remark that within Streetcar, “poetic drama becomes psychological reality.”

In Plath’s poem, The Bee Meeting, she uses the bees to characterize her disorder. She comes face to face with it, realizing that it’s here and it’ll cause havoc. Present and intrusive, it stings her and she accepts that it is now a part of her. The speaker then, in the next bee-focused poem (The Arrival of the Bee Box) questions, “How can I let them out?” Blanche, too, was looking for help as to how she can rid herself of her disorder, but as established, it was not possible to help oneself. As with Blanche, the speaker in Plath’s poem then concludes that “The box is only temporary” (the box representing the entrapment accompanying the disorder). Blanche was although blindly ambitious, adamant that all would be okay once she was with Shep Huntleigh and had his monetary support. Plath, too, perceived the box/illness to only be temporary as her metaphorical journey in the poem Ariel was supposed to free her from this is what is holding her back. It’s arguable whether this represents strong female characters or obliviously sick protagonists who cannot see beyond the self-created limits of their imagination. The indistinctiveness of the actual disorder is seen later in the poem in Plath’s linguistic decision to use a pronoun over a noun, “I have to live with it overnight // And I can’t keep away from it. // There are no windows, so I can’t see what is // in there.” The disorder isn’t identified but the awareness of it and the acknowledgement that it will cause her to suffer is present.

In Stings, Plath describes both herself and “The man in white” to be “bare-handed”. In regards to Streetcar, this emphasises how Blanche but also Stanley (or perhaps even Mitch), who offers an ineffective solution, have nothing in their hands, no idea or solution as to how to solve the suffering. For Plath, this additional individual unable to help her may be Ted Hughes. We see in the poem Tulips, too, that Plath’s main reason for feeling conflicted with her surroundings was due to him and what he brought her, the same way Blanche reacts to Stanley; his actions cause her to feel out of place. His actions cause her to suffer further. ‘Stings’ emphasises that despite all this interference, neither the protagonist nor those surrounding her know how to rid the suffering. As the poem progresses, we hear lines like “my strangeness evaporate” raising the idea that her illness will just leave on its own. Although it appears that this was Plath suffering from her imagination as a disorder wouldn’t just leave without treatment, psychologists have argued that it was manic depression that Plath was suffering from. This meant that her depression would have a periodic occurrence that Plath would be familiar with, hence the line “It is almost over. // I am in control.” She also mentions that “The bees are flying. They taste the spring.” Spring refers to the birth of things, which could indicate the time at which her illness becomes symptomatic and gets worse. There are implications of the seasonality of Plath’s disorder across her poems; the bees tasting it first may just be them detecting it due to their enhanced animalistic sense. Bees live complex social lives, abiding by the English tradition of informing other bees about major events. The bees could therefore be warning Plath, informing her of the arrival of the depression aspect of her disorder to warn her of the suffering that is about to come.

In the poem ‘Cut’, Plath focuses on how the top of the narrator’s thumb is gone. This is significant as it represents that part of the body used (by magicians) for vanishing, producing or switching small objects. Her loss of this pollical digit may be a metaphorical representation of her inability to make her pain vanish or to even replace it with another feeling. This is seen with Blanche too, though through less visceral imagery. Blanche becomes more and more incapable of stopping her pain as when things escalate, her alcohol dependence isn’t enough to stop her from hallucinating the Varsouviana and the sound of Allan’s gunshot. The detached statement that follows the caesura in the first stanza emphasizes the simplicity of the narrator’s actions, drawing attention to how little she is concerned with the action, almost as if it’s an ordinary occurrence (which his illicit of deliberate harm to herself). In this way, it is clear that the two are suffering from reality as Blanche’s hallucinations are just as real as Plath’s depression. Psychologists, such as James C. Kaufman[23], who coined the term the Sylvia Plath effect thought that poets were more susceptible to mental illness and that Plath herself possessed characteristics of manic depression, having spent time institutionalized (for depression). Correspondingly, in one of Plath’s later poems, ‘The Bee Meeting’, the speaker says “I am the magician’s girl who does not flinch” emphasizing that despite the loss of a thumb, she remains the magician’s girl, the magician taking her to her supposed death. The vocal similitude detected later in the poem between “long white” and “light” indicates perhaps light therapy, a rare treatment for SAD and psychiatric disorders.[24] However, considering that the line reads “that long white box in the grove” it’s safe to assume she’s referring to a coffin in a graveyard, thus sublimating her metaphorical death (or suicide, more accurately, as earlier in the poem it’s established that “there will be no killing”).

Considering that both Blanche’s character and the voice in Plath’s poems are surrounded by those that do not understand them, it can be argued that their imagination works as their salvation as opposed to acting as the cause of their suffering; their imagination may be the thing that is setting them free. As Catharine says in Suddenly Last Summer, “I know it’s a hideous story but it’s a true story of our time and the world we live in.”[25]

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/books/00/12/31/specials/williams-interview75.html (Date Accessed: 24/02/2017) [2] See the foreword of Williams. T (1953) Camino Real: A Play [3] See paragraph four of: http://www.imagi-nation.com/moonstruck/clsc9.htm (Date Accessed: 09/02/2017)

[4] Watzlawick. P (1967) Pragmatics of Human Communication: A Study of Interactional Patterns, Pathologies, and Paradoxes [4] Watzlawick. P (1976) How real is real?: Confusion, disinformation, communication [4] A.A. James (1996) Communication Theory: Epistemological Foundations [5] Sasani. S (2015), Oscillating between Madness and Badness: The Untenable Situation in A Streetcar Named Desire, Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, MCSER Publishing, Rome-Italy: Vol 6 No 1 S1

[6] See Page 89 of Williamson. P (2006) Mind, Brain and Schizophrenia

[7] Wagner-Martin. L (1997) Sylvia Plath: The Critical Heritage [8] Brown. S, Taylor. L. C (2004), “Plath Sylvia (1932-1963)”, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxord University Press [8] Kibler. James E. Jr (1980) Dictionary of Literary Biography. 2nd, volume 6: American Novelists Since World War II. Bruccoli Clark Layman Book, University of Georgia. The Gale Group (pg. 259-264)

[9] Craib. I (2011) Anthony Giddens. Routledge Revivals [9] Hoover R. K (2004) The Future of Identity: Centennial Reflections on the Legacy of Erik Erikson. Lexington Books [10] Beck T. A (Rector A. N, Stolar. N, Grant. P) (2008) Schizophrenia: Cognitive Theory, Research, and Therapy, The Guilford Press [11] See Page 27 of Spoto. D () The Kindness of Strangers: The Life of Tennessee Williams[12] See section on ‘Ontological security threatened by death’ https://www.revolvy.com/main/index.php?s=Ontological%20security (Date Accessed: 13/03/2017)

[13] S. Jacob (2013) Blow Out Your Candles: An Elegy for Rose Williams, The Paris Review

[14] https://letterpile.com/books/A-Streetcar-Named-Desire-by-Tennessee-Williams (Date Accessed: 25/02/2017)

[15] http://www.newliteraryhistory.com/tennesseewilliams.html (Date Accessed: 28/02/2017) [16] See introduction of Williams. T (1977) Vieux Carré [17] http://www.nytimes.com/books/00/12/31/specials/williams-interview75.html (Date Accessed: 24/02/2017) [18] Lahr. J (2014) Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh

[19] Kotowicz. Z (1997) R.D. Laing and the Paths of Anti-psychiatry

[20] See Kathleen Margaret Lant’s section: http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/m_r/plath/daddy.htm (Date Accessed: 27/02/2017)

[21] See (Page 430) of Plath. S, Kukil. V. Karen (2014) The Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962[22] Gassner. J (1948) Tennessee Williams: Dramatist of Frustration, College English, X

[23] See Page 204 of Kaufman. C. J (2016) Creativity 101, Second Edition [24] See Page 290 of Gabbard O. G (2014) Gabbard’s Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders

[25] Williams. T (1958) Suddenly Last Summer

Bibliography Primary texts: Plath. S (1965) Ariel. Faber and Faber Williams. T (1947) A Streetcar Named Desire. New Directions S

econdary texts: Plath. S, Kukil. V. Karen (2014) The Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962. Faber and Faber D. Spoto (1969) The Kindness of Strangers: The Life of Tennessee Williams. Ballantine Books Li. M, Spaulding. D. Williams (2016) The Neuropsychopathology of Schizophrenia: Molecules, Brain Systems, Motivation and Cognition. Springer

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