story is Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
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Normally, we believe that madness is a hereditary trait, something passed on in the genes that can't be controlled (although today you'd be written a presciption). In this novel, madness seems to be a reaction to isolation and lonliness, a world where Antoinette and her mother feel both unloved and unaccepted. Rhys restructures that way we think of madness by contesting the notion that madness is a biological trait. In turn, she alludes that hysteria (seen as a woman's trait) stemmed from the repression of women in a male dominated society.
Wide Sargasso Sea