In my opinion, this story has a bugged out character in it…she’s mind irritating. I can literally feel my brain aching. Key statement I would like to highlight is, “He [John] says that with my imaginative power and habit of story-making, a nervous weakness like mine is sure to lead to all manner of excited fancies…”(3). At first I believed the narrator in regards to her feelings toward such a creeped out mansion, but then as the story progressed, I started to see her nervousness getting the best of her. It started getting to the point, I had to start asking myself, “Is she serious?”(sarcastically). This woman, the narrator, is too nervous. Throughout the story we see her wanting to cry for nothing as stated,” I cry at nothing, and cry most of the time”(4). She sees inanimate objects moving as read, “The faint figure behind seemed to shake the pattern, just as if she wanted to get out”(5). This then draws to the most important part. She has a weird obsession with her room’s yellow wallpaper. It even gets to the point in where she starts secretly accusing others of having a similar fascination with the wallpaper. She states, “He [John] seems very queer sometimes, and even Jennie has an inexplicable look…perhaps it is the wallpaper”(6).
She stated how she felt she was improving mentally but ironically, this was all due to the yellow wallpaper; the paper she greatly despised. We note her say, “John is so pleased to see me improve! He laughed a little the other day and said I seemed to be flourishing in spite of my wallpaper…I had no intention of telling him it was because of the wallpaper”(7). Now, more irony seems to come in, in that while she and her husband thought she was improving, she was actually declining in sanity. Even as we see at the end of the story, her “IMAGINATION”, which now completely got the best of her, makes her believe herself to be the escaped woman from the yellow wallpaper. To me this also seems to show some sort of possession of the wallpaper, as in everything about the wallpaper, every decision about it, belongs to her. I base my idea off the comment she made when she felt others wanted to figure the wallpaper’s pattern out. “I’m determined that nobody shall find it out but myself”(6). This says to me that she believes that there is some sort of special bond between her and the yellow wallpaper.
A key point I picked up upon reading this story was the impact assimilation can have on a person. Two Kinds by Amy Tan, tells the story about a foreign Chinese mother, who’s own past makes her want to raise her daughter up as an all new kind of “American Child Star”; the Chinese Shirley Temple. Her daughter further on explains that, “America was where all my mother’s hopes lay [had laid]. She had come here in 1949 after losing everything in China”(Tan 1222). I definitely see this as the mother’s way of trying to make it big in America, as too much trouble sprouts from China; at least in her case. I also reflect this off of the historical period that America had been going through…segregation, whites on top, minors below. On these terms, it appeared as if the mother wanted her daughter to be accepted in America’s white society, ex. She chose Shirley Temple as a teacher figure for her daughter and was willing to place curls, similar to Shirley’s, inside of her own daughter’s hair; thereby awakening the “prodigy” in the daughter. This would back up the point in which the author states as a being a myth, though in my opinion, debatable as truth. “…America is a melting pot, but what happens in assimilation is that we end up deliberately choosing the American things–hot dogs and apple pie–and ignoring the Chinese offerings”(Tan 1221).
Later on we seem to see the daughter’s “assimilation” turn against her mother in a negative way . She was corresponding to the American change, but not in the way the mother had hoped for. We witness the daughter say, “I didn’t have to do what my mother said anymore…This wasn’t China”(Tan 1228).This comment had me laugh. To myself, I was like she’s beginning to get reckless. This was beginning to show that while the mother was trying to settle her daughter in, she didn’t realize how much of an impact America’s freedom would have on her child.
A key point I picked out while reading this story, was the conflict between what heritage a foreign child would benefit from. In the story Who’s Irish? by Gish Jen, it appears as if the grandmother is somewhat of a bigot. The reason why I say this is well because, it seems like in every other paragraph, she’s constantly making remarks on how the Chinese heritage is “fierce”, like herself…tough, obedient, and strict in other words. This brings us to the reason of why she is always trying to override her granddaughter, Sophie’s “wild side”, with her Chinese half. The wild side seems to represent the Irish paternal side in Sophie; though the grandmother feels the American way is also quite similar. This is seen when the grandmother describes Amy, Sophie’s old babysitter. Amy was in a way sort of a free spirit, a “creative” American, which would also answer why Amy applauded Sophie’s “creative” behavior on stripping herself of her clothes in the park. Throughout the story we continue to see the grandmother make remarks in regards to Sophie’s behavior; “I am not exaggerate: millions of children in China, not one act like this”(Jen 619). The grandmother’s remarks can even be witnessed by the main character in the short story Two Kinds by Amy Tan . “I didn’t have to do what my mother said anymore…This wasn’t China”(Tan 1228).
The story seems to reflect the American way as a trait of disobedience and odd behavior, from a child to their guardian. When we look at Who’s Irish?, we see Sophie’s disobedience to her grandmother, parents, and elderly strangers. Then, when we look over at the daughter’s actions towards her mother in Two Kinds. I believe even later on in the story we see her mother try to throw in the fact that only “obedient” children can live under her roof. This could be used as a reference towards the point the grandmother was trying to make over in Who’s Irish? Being that the mother in Two Kinds, was also from China, this “obedient” trait could be a key factor most given from child to parent in China.
The short story, Happy Endings, reminded me of a “What If Story”. What if John and Mary loved each other, what if John doesn’t love Mary but Mary loves John, what if Madge falls for Fred, etc… At first, I thought the story was going into the direction of “perspective”; like from the start we know John and Mary will, Letter A, have a happy ending. Then the story moves on to Letter B in which we find out Mary is really the one in love with John, not vice versa. Letter C to then reveal John’s actual love for Mary, but Mary’s sorrow for John. I thought there was going to be some sort of twist at the end in which would make sense of it all.
But yeah, at the end before the author made sense of the stories, I had already started to draw the conclusions. The stories were in no fashion meant to connect; there’d be no way. The author, Margaret Atwood, was trying to say that in the beginning there’s two people,man and woman. In between, there’s the lust and the life, and in the end, there’s death. It seems as if one of the points she was trying to make out was that either with a happy life, exciting life or miserable life, it’s still a life; and that “the only authentic ending” to that life is death.
One point that did have me laugh, was when Margaret Atwood stated, “endings are the same…don’t be deluded by any other endings, they’re fake”. We all live and we all die.
How’s everyone? My name is Aaron Hunter. I was born and raised in the Bronx; and am of African American descent. So far I’ve been stuck on the desire of wanting to create something, whether a painting, sketch, or graphic design. I’m not too sure yet, but something will come to mind soon. By the way if you didn’t guess it already, I’m a graphic designer; therefore, I practically spend all my time on the computer, call it a hobby if you will. I also have an extreme desire to go to Alaska, I don’t know why; but maybe its because I’m more of a laid back individual. I’d really enjoy country life over the crowded city life.
I am a Graphics Arts major at CityTech and this semester will start off my fifth year here. In the future I can see myself working my art magic at an ad agency, but nothing too big and nothing too small. A matter of fact, during the summer I did a bit of research on how I might start my career goal off and in the process of doing this, I found some freelance work. Hopefully during this school year, I will be working some more, but at the same time I do want to concentrate on my courses first and get my degree.
Though I never read the whole thing, my favorite book would have to Misery by Stephen King. I heard it’s basically the movie with much more details and events. One would classify this type of book as a fictional thriller. Now, I can read a book but one of my main problems is that I can never finish a book(though in the past I’ve been forced to). I also have a strong habit of skimming. What I do enjoy about reading though, is that it increases the power of your mind, your “brain power” let’s just say. My use of technology is average but more advanced on programs such as Adobe Illustrator and other graphic programs. Literature to me is basically a written story, whether true or false, displayed in figurative or literal elements. Now, with that being said I hope to learn more about the “actual” meaning of literature. I am also curious to know whether it will use elements of a speech class, meaning in the way you read.
Yes, I know my ears look like Spock.