The Madwoman in the Attic Questions and Answers
by Sandra Ellen Mortola, Susan Gubar

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What are the major themes in Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar's The Madwoman in the Attic.

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In The Madwoman in the Attic, Gilbert and Gubar explore 19th Century literature by women from a feminist perspective. The book is a lengthy text that examines many literary works and theories. However, two major themes include female writers' search for identity and the binary view of female characters as either angels or monsters.

THe book describes how writing has traditionally been viewed as a male profession. Some of the most famous writers, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, equated the act of writing with male sexual function, referring to creativity as a "spermatic aura." This philosophy left no room for women writers who did not possess the same anatomy.

Gilbert and Gubar explain the challenges of being a female writer in the 19th Century when gender roles were extremely restrictive. Very few women published poetry or novels that were taken seriously....

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