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

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What is a summary of The Madwoman in the Attic?

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Steph Müller eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The Madwoman in the Attic centers around the idea that due to the nature of patriarchy, women either come across in literature as "the angel in the house" or as "the madwoman in the attic", and that there is no middle ground between these two extremes.

This book is seen as an extremely important piece of feminist literary criticism, and it discusses the struggles that women have gone through in attempting to create their identities as authors. Essentially, the authors, Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubor, argue that with the pen being seen metaphorically as a penis, women were subjected to an "anxiety of authorship." This anxiety then played out as female characters being portrayed as either submissive or out of their minds.

The book considers the portrayal of females in a number of literary works, including those of Charlotte Brontë, Mary Shelley, and Jane Austen, among others.

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Tanner Settle eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Gilbert and Gubar's The Madwoman in the Attic was groundbreaking. They were the first to make the claim, which is...

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Lynnette Wofford eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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