Active Perpetrators Passive Victims: Madness as a Feminine Disease in Beş Sevim ApartmanıDerya Güllük
In this study, the association of the concept of madness, which is considered out of norm and positioned against the mind, with femininity and the gendering tendencies of madness in literary texts, will be read on the basis of Mine Söğüt's novel titled Beş Sevim Apartmanı. By centering on the relationship between madness and femininity, the stories of five patients with mental health issues residing in a five-storey, fiveroom, and five-window Beş Sevim Apartmanı, will be addressed in light of their feature that brings together fantasy and reality, reason and irrationality. The collected material is considered based on the focus of gender roles. Considering the functions of madness such as marginalization and control the gender identity of women in the novel will be discussed in the focus of “madness” by making them passive victims. These stories of madness in women consider an existence denied by their fathers and husbands because they were not born men and did not bring a son into the world. In doing so, they allow us to witness what the patriarchy almost made the fate of womanhood, and that ultimately, women who could not change their fate could only change their world by going mad.
Aktif Failler Pasif Kurbanlar: Beş Sevim Apartmanı’nda Dişil Bir Hastalık Olarak DelilikDerya Güllük
Bu çalışmada, norm dışı kabul edilen ve aklın karşısında konumlandırılan delilik kavramının kadınlıkla ilişkilendirilmesi ve edebî metinlerde deliliğin cinsiyetlendirilme yönelimleri, Mine Söğüt’ün Beş Sevim Apartmanı başlıklı romanından yola çıkılarak okunacaktır. Delilik ile kadın(lık) arasındaki ilişkiyi merkeze alarak, beş katlı, beş odalı ve beş pencereli Beş Sevim Apartmanı’nda ikamet eden beş akıl hastasının, hayalle hakikati ve akılla akıl dışını buluşturan hikâyeleri, toplumsal cinsiyet rolleri bağlamında ele alınacaktır. Deliliğin ötekileştirme ve denetim altına alma gibi işlevleri düşünüldüğünde, romandaki kadınların toplumsal cinsiyet kimliklerinin bir baskı aracı kılınarak pasif birer kurbana dönüştürülmeleri “delilik” odağında tartışılacaktır. Erkek doğmadıkları ve dünyaya bir erkek çocuk getir(e)medikleri için babaları ve kocaları tarafından varlıkları kabul görmeyen kadınların delirme hikâyelerini okurken ataerkinin âdeta kadınlığın talihini çizdiğini, talihini değiştiremeyen kadınların ise bu durumla ancak delirerek başa çıkabildiklerine şahitlik ederiz. Romanda, “cinperi” masalları başlığı altında okuduğumuz hikâyelerde kadınların deliliğe giden yolda neler yaşadıklarını öğrenirken bu hikâyelere paralel “gerçek” olarak sunulan hastane kayıtlarında, katı bir dille sınırları çizilmiş ve sonuç odaklı eril bir dünyayı okuruz. Bir tarafta bireyin gayrişahsi diliyle kurduğu kendi dünyasına odaklanırken diğer tarafta erkin sınırları çizili eril dilinin çatışmasını; kadınlık, delilik ve dil odağında tartışmaya açıldığı ve nihayetinde bu çatışmadan kadınların “delirerek” çıktığını görürüz.
In Beş Sevim Apartmanı, women almost always take refuge in madness when they cannot step out of the traditional roles that reproduce the male-dominated world. In these stories we hear from the women oppressed under the roles assigned to them by society and condemned to remain silent. We see how they were pushed into loneliness in their inner worlds and condemned to silence. As being a wife, a woman lacks love and attention and as being a child, she again becomes as the other in the society and is deprived of compassion since she is not born as a son. Motherhood is also problematized. Women as mothers are blamed for not giving birth to a son, and she is also the target of the anger that should be aimed toward the father. Moreover, these are crazy women imprisoned in a destiny that is not even taken as truth, but rather reconstructed under the strict language of power.
The five stories in Beş Sevim Apartmanı imply a world where gender norms consistently operate against women. Huriye, Yeşim, Elif, and Melike go mad because of the traumas associated with gender norms. Huriye is repeatedly subjected to violence by her husband for the boys she could not birth, while every girl she did deliver died from a lack of love as well as parental indifference. Huriye also withdraws from the same lack of love and indifference, becoming isolated from society and leading a half-mad life by sheltering cats.
Oğuz, one of the male residents of the apartment building, kills his mother Gülsüm by stabbing her in seven spots one night. Worse, her ill fortune had started earlier when her family turned against her, and when she couldn’t abort her baby, whose father she did not know, her hatred turned toward her husband, who sold her, and she had stabbed him in seven spots and killed him.
Yeşim, another resident of Beş Sevim Apartmanı, grew up far from the affection of her parents and is a nymphomaniac. This time, the social structure creates pressure on Yeşim’s family due to her illness. Instead of understanding this disease and having their daughter treated, her parents choose to be ashamed of it because they cannot counter the social ostracization due to the disease. This shame drives the mother to death and Yeşim to insanity. Yeşim, however, loses her mind as a result of these traumas and kills her grandmother because of it.
Elif, goes through her own gender identity crisis, kills her femininity, and goes mad in order to find a little compassion from her father. Melike sees the first man she meets as her father. With her longing for her father that she has never seen, how could she know, that the man she saw as her father would be her rapist?
He too, would not be able to escape his wicked fate. The rapist will go mad and kill his mother and grandmother, whom he blames for the rape. All the women in Beş Sevim Apartmanı are either dying, killing, or going mad. Each time one of these women is a passive victim her persecutors are members of the patriarchal order.
An important point of attention in the novel is that the stories of five mentally ill people, whose biographies are told, appear in two variants. First, we read the autobiographical stories told by the patients themselves under the title offairy tales.” In contrast, we read the stories of the patients as recorded in their hospital files under the title of “true stories.” While the stories that the women tell in their own language cannot go beyond being a “fairy tale,” the records of the mental hospital are presented as their reality. The fate of womanhood is mired in the language of power for all time. The fairy tales of these crazy women are somehow a symbol of their rebellion against masculine norms as is their language. These tales, however, neither make them visible nor allow them to make their voices heard. After all, all these things they tell are just fairy tales too fanciful to be true. Those who tell these tales are just “crazy” say the records of the mental hospital.