Misdiagnosis Based on Gender Bias

This is NOT a compare and contrast paper, although you may end up contrasting certain parts within the criticism. This is a paper about how both works of literature portray a particular topic. You will do the introduction, then analyze one then, then analyze the other and conclude (this is block rather than point by point). So it will likely be a paragraph for introduction, about two on the first text, about two on the second, and a conclusion (so don’t make your topic too big because you only have a limited space to prove it for each text).

You must have a clear and arguable thesis statement. You can argue that the two texts are treating the same topic/idea/issue differently, but then that needs to be in the thesis statement. Avoid random plot summary. All evidence must be put in context of your argument.

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You can use any type of literary criticism – symbolism, gender analysis, psychological, economic, Eco-critical, historical etc., but ideally you should be using some type of criticism. Think of this as a traditional literary analysis but with two examples. If it is simply a compare/contrast paper, you will not do well. Also, avoid biography. Historical approaches are great, but there should be no section on an author’s life as this is a critical analysis of the texts.

Make sure to write it in block (where you analyze one literature entirely and then the other) instead of point by point (where you talk about one then the other, one then the other repeatedly).

This paper should be a minimum of 5 pages (don’t go over 8). That is, of course, not including the Works Cited; this must follow after the last page and be in proper MLA format and be uploaded in the same file as it is part of the paper. The whole paper should be in MLA8 format. This essay must incorporate at least 4 academic sources (remember from Unit 3 these are article published in academic journals that are peer reviewed/scholarly). Essays with no sources will not be successful. The Works Cited will have a minimum of 6 sources (4 academic sources and 2 literature sources (primary texts). Make sure to properly cite all sources.

The two texts to be analyzed are Bronte’s Jane Eyre and Chase’s Harvey (play).

The thesis statement for the essay is as follows. “In both Bronte’s Jane Eyre and Chase’s Harvey, characters are misdiagnosed due to gender bias.”

That’s your thesis above. In the conclusion, you’ll talk about the significance of this (why do we care/how does it change our reading of the text?). But the pattern you are proving is the misdiagnosis. Consider if any other characters are misdiagnosed due to gender – I can’t think of anymore that have mental illness, but you always want to make sure you look at the texts as a whole.

You might want to consider that they wouldn’t have diagnosed Bertha with syphilis because it would cause issues for her husband as well – his reputation. She may have had other things, so don’t feel locked into the STD because someone else thought that was a good idea (I can’t remember the article that talked about Bertha and Syphilis, but there is one out there). You’d have to add something to the argument to make it your own, but it would be good to have. And really do look into Freud and hysteria. I think it would help with Chase’s play in particular. Freud and contemporaries ideas of “hysteria” and its connection to women would work well with what you’re looking into. They let the man out and keep the woman in, right? Because it doesn’t seem possible that the man is the ill one and Veta is “hysterical”.

Veta and Bertha are misdiagnosed (there is a lot already written on Bertha perhaps having syphilis, for example) and looking at the gender bias that might have led to both of their misdiagnosis (although Victorian England and 1940’s America have different biases). Focus on madness and femininity in both. Remember that when you’re analyzing two texts on the same topic.

Here is a link to Harvey play on YouTube.

Here is a link to a audio book Jane Eyre

Gender bias specific to females, in Jane Eyre we can see that Bertha was mis diagnosed and in Harvey Veta. There may be others in these two texts that are.

There are a total of 6 sources to be used for research and I will put them below.
1. Jane Eyre Book
2. Harvey (play)
3. Did the ‘‘Woman in the Attic’’ in Jane Eyre Have Huntington Disease?
5. A Rereading of Freud’s Dora Case this will be attached as a file.
6. Race Bias and Gender Bias in the Diagnosis of Psychological Disorders this will be attached as a file

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