The Medical Gaze in Psychiatric Treatment: Women Doctors and Nurses in Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar and Susanna Kaysen’s Girl, Interrupted

Ramona Schmidt

Abstract


This essay focusses on the forms of psychiatric treatment the protagonists undergo by women doctors and nurses in Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar and Susanna Kaysen’s Girl, Interrupted. The theoretical basis for this comparative analysis is provided by Michel Foucault’s concept of the ‘medical gaze.’ The different degrees to which this medical gaze is applied by male and female psychiatric staff ultimately have a strong impact on the female patients’ recovery in both narratives. 


Keywords


Medical Gaze, Psychiatric treatment, Bell Jar, Girl Interrupted

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