“Fighting against the Repressed- Insanity or Death?”: Comparing Tagore’s Haimanti and Gilman’s Unnamed Narrator


  • Sadia Binte Kausar National Institute of Textile Engineering & Research (NITER), Dhaka, Bangladesh




Repressed, Freud, Psychosis, Tagore, Haimanti, Femicide


According to Psychoanalytic Theory, Sigmund Freud’s concept of “repression” refers to the unpleasant or unacceptable emotions that one consciously pushes aside from the conscious mind in order to escape from shame, guilt, and anxiety. These emotions remain unconscious and may return in negative forms, such as psychological disorders, nightmares, and hallucinations, etc. This article investigates two female protagonists of Rabindranath Tagore and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Haimanti and the Unnamed Narrator, who faced serious consequences as a result of keeping their negative emotions and experiences repressed: The eponymous protagonist Haimanti in “Haimanti” (1914) endured torturous humiliation by her in-laws for her uncompromising honesty and not being able to fulfill the promise of giving dowry, while The Narrator in Gilman’s short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper” (1892), became a prisoner of the defective treatment named ‘rest cure’, where she lost all freedom under the complete domination of her loving but restrictive husband. Employing Sigmund Freud’s concept of “repression,” this article offers a critical comparison between the consequences of the two female protagonists, which unfolds in two ways: it underscores if and how “repression” played a role behind their negative consequences and how the same theme is represented differently across a range of time and the author’s point of view. This article contends that, in both cases, the protagonists, despite being strong and creative women or having relentless love and support from their male counterparts, stopped fighting for themselves and kept their negative experiences and emotions repressed. Consequentially, the repressed emotions returned in two hideous forms: Haimanti’s health deteriorated and she committed psychological femicide, and the Unnamed Narrator hallucinated, developed psychosis and completely lost sanity.




How to Cite

Kausar, S. B. . (2024). “Fighting against the Repressed- Insanity or Death?”: Comparing Tagore’s Haimanti and Gilman’s Unnamed Narrator. Journal of Critical Studies in Language and Literature, 5(3), 1-6. https://doi.org/10.46809/jcsll.v5i3.262