Bodies Tell Stories: Freudian Hysteria in Fay Weldon’s The Life and Loves of a She-Devil
Why are women hysteric? Is it a sickness inhabiting women against which they have no control
and can only be submissive? Or it is a means they employ to achieve an end? Freudian hysterical
symptoms used to surface on women’s bodies represented by anorexia nervosa, loss of speech
(muteness), disturbed sleep, alienation and many others which are all compiled under hysteria.
Such symptoms, according to Freud, appear in consequence to sexual violations the subject
encounters in childhood and these result in psychological disturbances which call hysteria to
emanate. This paper aims to investigate Fay Weldon’s The Life and Loves of a She-Devil through
Freud’s perspective of hysteria in order to indicate the influence of hysteria, its symptoms and
reactions, also the action taken by the heroine to actualize herself in the selected novel.
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