Lacanian Reading of Marsha Norman's Night, Mother

Khadijeh Taherifard, Razieh Eslamieh


This paper offers a Lacanian/feminist reading of Night, Mother by the American playwright Marsha Norman. The play Night, Mother will be read according to Lacan’s point of view and the concepts of identity and identity formation are studied in this paper. The play will be analyzed based on the Lacanian concepts of the contrast between the Imaginary Order and the Symbolic Order, and the notion of Death Drive, suggesting that in the play Jessie represents the Symbolic Order and her mother, Thelma, represents the Imaginary Order. The notion of Death Drive and its omnipresence in Jessie’s psyche is discussed and emphasized. Thelma functions as the Other for Jessie, while her father functions as the Mother, a reversal of gender roles in the Lacanian reading. Moreover, the relationship between some of the concepts are explained. It will be explicated how the play can be brought in line with a feminist reading of Lacan by reversing the stereotypical gender roles and subsequently getting close to post-feminist authors.


The Imaginary Order, The mirror stage, The Symbolic Order, The Real, The other, The Other, Death Drive

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