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

Document Type : Research Article


Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz


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.