Janus-Faced Madness in Bessie Head’s A Question of Power

Document Type: Research Article

Authors

Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz

Abstract

This paper is an attempt to discuss the concept of madness and its different
causes and functions in Bessie Head’s semiautobiographical novel A Question of
Power. It aims to explore the multifaceted insanity of Elizabeth the exiled colored
protagonist in terms of different theories. We will see how once a devastating
trauma turns out to be a habilitating schizophrenia. Head challenges the readers’
normalized responses with this controversial concept (i.e. madness) and throws a
new light on the capability of apparently silenced and insane people. Withstanding
the long preserved devastating epistemology of the institutionalizing power, she
clarifies that one can avoid being inside a power archive through insanity like
Shakespearean fool.

Keywords