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January 04, 2009

CHARLOTTE PERKINS GILMAN, “The Yellow Wallpaper”


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CHARLOTTE PERKINS GILMAN, “The Yellow Wallpaper”

Posted by lhobbs at January 4, 2009 06:37 PM

Readers' Comments:

Joshua Brinson Brinson 01
Professor Hobbs
English 122
22 January 2009

The Yellow Wallpaper

As I was doing a close reading of the story The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, I came to two conclusions. My first conclusion was that humans have a unique ability to imagine almost impossible things. The next conclusion was the strange ability that humans have of allowing things to become such an obsession that they develop a strange bond with it.

I came up with my first conclusion which states that humans have a unique ability to imagine almost impossible things, because in the story The Yellow Wallpaper, the woman in the story began to imagine there is a “recurrent spot where the pattern lolls like a broken neck and two bulbous eyes stare at you upside down.” (Gilman 86) She also states that “At night in any kind of light, in twilight, candlelight, lamplight, and worst of all by moonlight, it becomes bars! The outside pattern, I mean, and the woman behind it is plain as can be.” (Gilman 91) The human mind has the unique ability to imagine impossible things such as women behind wallpaper, and that’s why I chose this to be one of my conclusions on the story.


Brinson 02
My next conclusion after a close reading says that humans can allow things to become such an obsession that they develop a strange bond with it. The women in the story allowed the yellow wallpaper to become such an obsession that she didn’t go to sleep but she “lay there for hours trying to decide whether that front pattern and the back pattern really did move together or separately.” (Gilman 90) The lady also allowed the obsession with the wallpaper to hypnotize her in such a way that she started to think that she was the woman trapped behind the wallpaper, creepy around try not to get trapped back in. she states, “I’ve got out at last, in spite of you and Jane. And I’ve pulled off most of the paper, so you can’t put me back!” (Gilman 96)

So these are the two conclusions I came to after a close reading of the story The Yellow Wallpaper. Human obsessions with things can cause it to run their lives, and that’s the point I think the Gilman was trying to prove by writing this story.

Brinson 03
Works Cited
Gilman, Charlotte P. The Yellow Wallpaper. A Prentice Hall, Pocket Reader. Pearson 2005 Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. 82-96

Posted by: joshua brinson at January 27, 2009 11:05 AM

Michael Balice
Professor Hobbs
English 122 CA17
February 3, 2009
Life’s Entrapment
The narrator (Jane), a middle class woman of the nineteenth century, reveals the crude reality of her inner thoughts as she drifts farther and farther away from the world. The Yellow Wallpaper written by Charolette Perkins Gilman suggests that Jane, the narrator, is a woman trapped symbolically by an inanimate object that indeed results in her ultimate demise. This object is yellow wallpaper, which has Jane seemingly delusional. She sees an image of a woman trapped behind the wallpaper; moreover, the author directly distinguishes a parallel between the image and Jane.
Jane’s husband, John, who does nothing but patronize Jane because of her “illness,” has a direct effect on her mental state. He does not realize that by being her doctor and fellow companion in this specific time period relays a big message. In the nineteenth century, middle-class women were supposed to stay home, cook, and clean. John regards this stereotype and treats her like a second class citizen. His suggestions and comments regarding her situation cause her to hide her anxiety to make it seem as if she is happy when, really, she is trapped in her own demonic depression. She than relies on a journal to release her inner thoughts since she is always criticized by her husband. She is dominated by inactivity; therefore, total self-destruction takes place.
The narrator is now, in a sense, partially losing herself in order to find herself. Her insanity is revealed, as she realizes that she is the women trapped in the wallpaper. She acknowledges that women during this time are forced to hide behind a wall of patterns set forth by society and comes to the notion that she, too, is a second class citizen like all women. This realization undoubtedly releases the handcuffs of her unfit marriage and the unfortunate expectations of society, yet she is still trapped in her own unsound mind. As her mind unravels the truth, she takes refuge in the room with the yellow wallpaper.
Her description of the wallpaper itself reveals the truth about what the world has in store for her. This is easily recognized when she says, “I don’t like to look out of the window even, there are so many of those creeping women, and they creep so fast. I wonder if they come out of that wallpaper as I did” (Gilman 4)? This alludes to her demise as if she was born to endure this harsh reality. To relinquish all personal constraints or boundaries whether they are physical or mental, inanimate or tangible, one must first recognize the problems as Jane does; however, instead of freeing herself, Jane traps herself in a world of insanity.

Work Cited
Gilman, Charolette Perkins. The Yellow Wallpaper and Other writings. New York: Bantam Classics,1989.

Posted by: Michael Balice at February 3, 2009 09:16 AM

Alicia Roddenberg
Dr. Hobbs
Eng 122 CA16
02-03-09
Gilman’s objective in “The Yellow Wallpaper”
“The Yellow Wallpaper” is a captivating short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The narrator of “The Yellow Wallpaper” begins by describing in detail the room in which she is confined to. You are able to gather that she is a woman of middle age whom during the summer her and her husband rent a colonial mansion. Most of her time is spent alone in the company of her own thoughts and dissection of the walls which encompass her. Gilman presents the story in a reliable first person point of view.
The story is told in first person and in the present tense. The narrator is in a realistic situation which can be related to by the readers. “The story is based on the “rest cure” developed after the Civil War by the famous Philadelphia physician S. Weir Mitchell” (Gilman 82). This theory has individuals rest in their homes until they are completely able to function in society. Being confined to her home the narrator allows for readers to know her personal thoughts on her surroundings and the people who are involved in her life.
The woman is writing in her journal, so not directly speaking to the reader about her experiences. This allows for the narrator to tell how she truly feels free from the worry of judgment. “The point of view or guiding intelligence created by the author of a literary work determines how we read, understand, and respond” (Roberts 77). Gilman is able to direct the reader into the direction she wishes.
I believe this story was told to allow for the readers to relate the woman’s point of view. The thought of rest and relaxation is far fetched, shortly the woman finds herself burdened by the wallpaper in the airy cell. Though held there not against her own will she remains in hopes of doing as her husband says to gain strength and wellness. If this story were told from a different point of view, there are possibilities my outlooks on it would differ.


Works Cited
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. “The Yellow Wallpaper”. A Prentice Hall pocket reader Literature.
edited by Mary McAleer Balkun. Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2005. pages 82-96.
Roberts, Edgar V. Writing about Literature. Brief 11th ed. Saddle River, NJ: Pearson,
2006. page 77.

Posted by: Alicia Roddenberg at February 9, 2009 11:43 PM

Sasha-ann Jarrett
Dr. Hobbs
English 122-CA17
February 9, 2009
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. “The Yellow Wallpaper” A Prentice Hall Pocket Reader. Pearson Education Inc., 2005
Self Healing
The “Yellow Wallpaper” opens with an unnamed female narrator, who speaks about her husband, John and the “great” house that she is staying in with him. The narrator seems to be suffering from depression but feels that she is improving while those around her disagree. Her husband, being a physician tries to help her overcome by taking her to a house where she finds the “Yellow Wallpaper” and this apparently helps to make her better. The main character in the story is the narrator and John and his sister Jennie are the minor ones. The narrator does a good job in building the plot of the story, as she uses conflict, to evoke sympathy.
The conflict that arises is between the narrator and her husband, bickering about whether or not she is ill or well. Her husband insists that she is still sick and continues to medicate her. This makes the narrator feel more depressed because she believes that she is well, but others repeatedly tell her that she is not. The main conflict however, is between the narrator and her mind. The dilemma that is depicted is that the narrator struggles to make herself better, as it is her goal to prove to her husband that she is well. As a result of this dilemma, the narrator finds the yellow wallpaper and begins to observe it. The wallpaper then creates the interest and the mystery within the story, as the narrator is so fascinated by the wallpaper, she allows the reader to ponder what she is going to do with it.
The mystery is further compounded as the plot thickens and it now surrounds whether or not the woman that the narrator is consistently seeing is herself, which is concluded further down in the story. The yellow wallpaper seems to have been brought into the story for many reasons, maybe to make the reader think that narrator is going crazy, or perhaps the wallpaper is going to cure her, building the reader’s curiosity. It is as if the wallpaper allows the reader to deduce that that the narrator is battling an internal conflict. Soon the wallpaper dominates the narrator's imagination, causing her to become possessive and secretive, hiding her interest in the wallpaper. She becomes this way, because she does not want anyone else to examine it so that she can “find it out” on her own, as she struggles to find her real self as she looks at the wallpaper.
The narrator discovers a strange smudge on the paper, running all around the room. The smudge that she sees clearly resembles a woman who is trying to get out from behind the main pattern, but creeps around during the day when the woman is able to escape briefly. The narrator mentions that she, too, creeps around at times, when John is asleep. She does this as it makes her feel freer, because no one is there to watch her every move. By the end she is hopelessly insane, convinced that there are many creeping women around and that she, herself, has come out of the wallpaper and she also believes that she is the trapped woman, “I shall have to get back behind the pattern” (page 95). She is trapped from being herself, trapped from enjoying life, trapped from society. She feels this way because her husband makes her still believe that she is ill so she must stay inside.
The narrator does not want to believe that she is the one in the wallpaper, and became tired of seeing the woman struggling, so begins to tear the yellow wallpaper off. The writer makes the woman in the wallpaper begin to try and escape from the pattern. By doing this the writer is showing the reader how badly the narrator wants to escape from her depression. The writer allows the narrator to escape from her depression by making her strip the walls of the paper, but truly she is stripping herself of depression. After doing this, the narrator feels free; she is no longer trapped behind bars of “yellow wallpaper”, but now happy and light hearted. The irony is that the narrator’s husband felt that he needed to give his wife medication to cure her, but all she needed was an “eye opener” to see her true self. The writer did a good job to bring out the conflict throughout the story, by taking it step by step and holding the reader’s attention to guess what the main character’s next move would be.

Posted by: Sasha-ann Jarrett at February 16, 2009 10:46 PM

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