The Mad, Madness and Chaos in Lessing’s The Sweetest Dream

Noor Azah C. Abdullah, Rohimmi Noor


Set in Swinging London in the Sixties Doris Lessing’s novel titled The Sweetest Dream1 presents a chaotic environment amidst the moral and psychical rubble of World War I and World War II. The Sixties is a transitional era sandwiched between the aftermath of wars and the effort to rebuild the country, full of socially and politically chaotic situations. On the social front, delinquent acts such as stealing become a common practice and initiation into groups among teenagers. Social chaos is also marked by broken families and insanity. Political chaos is marked among other things by The Revolution, meetings and street rallies. This paper looks at the portrayal of “inflated consciousness” in relation to chaos, the mad and madness in the novel using Carl Gustav Jung’s analytical psychology’s lens in order to understand how the psyche negotiates itself out of chaos to restore balance and order. This paper limits its discussion to the first half of the novel, focussing on “Swinging London.”2



bohemian lifestyle, Jungian inflated consciousness, moral and psychical chaos

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Lessing, Doris. The Sweetest Dreams. London: Harper Collins, 2002.

Jung, C. G. “On the Psychology of the Unconscious: The Eros Theory”. In Collected Works Vol.7: Two Essays On Analytical Psychology, 2nd ed. London: Routledge. 1953/1990.

Jung, C. G. “The Fight With the Shadow” In Collected Works Vol. 10: Civilisation in Transition. New York: Bollingen Foundation, 1964 para 444—457 [A Broadcast talk in the Third Programme of the British Broadcasting Corporation, on November 3, 1946]

Erich Goode. Deviant Behaviour, 5th ed. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1997.



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