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Feminine Melancholia in Gloria Naylor‟s Mama Day: A Kristevan Perspective

OB Nweke


This paper is an interdisciplinary approach to literary criticism. As the principles of psychoanalysis reveals, many opinions often expressed about some literary works can be interrogated, and in this case, such opinions suggest that social factors exclusively are responsible for the behavioural traits of protagonists of the narrative investigated. Psychoanalytic principles have shown that for a better understanding, works of literature, which portray human actions, should also highlight the influences of unconscious factors on characters' behaviour. Without this, the critical endeavour is incomplete. This paper investigates Gloria Naylor's Mama Day with the intention of identifying the behavioural traits in the major protagonists of the narrative that establish them as victims of 'melancholia'. The paper is a psychoanalytic critical reading of the novel in which Julia Kristeva's postulations are utilized in determining the presence as well as the motivations for the psychological problems in the female protagonists of the narrative.

Keywords: Mourning, depression, loss, love-object, melancholia

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