How could you apply a Foucauldian notion of madness in A Streetcar Named Desire and The Glass Menagerie?

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M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

We cannot answer the question as two separate questions, but there is a general way to approach this answer which works well:

Foucald was a pioneer philosopher partial to behaviorism, and he basically proposes that madness is proportional to people, culture, space, and moment. Depending on the moment, the culture, and the personal space, madness will manifest itself, and sometimes intensify.

Nowhere in these stories is there a specific moment where it states that anyone is insane. However, if we look at the issues of "staying stuck in time", "being unable to let go of the past",  "being unable to move on" we see how they are intrinsically related to specific characters in the two stories. This refers to Focauldian madness in terms of how madness can be a product of not changing with time.

Add to that the topic of being crammed into an apartment with little comfort and too much noise and drama going on. To anyone whose madness is developing due to an inability to move on, being physically crammed and trapped must be the trigger factor to snap. Again, that topic appears in both stories and is typical to the older women. This is how they are somewhat interconnected.

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A Streetcar Named Desire

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