In my group discussion we talked about the non-romantic relationships in both stories. The yellow wallpaper really stood out for us because there was a lot of connections in that story. What really stood out to us is that the john’s wife never was given a name. We had some disagreements about whether or not her name is Jane. Some believe that her name is Jane, others believe that Jane is the name of the woman in the wall, some believe that it was a typo for John’s sisters name Jennifer, I believe that Charles made a great point about how when someone is unidentified they call them Jane Doe. We made many connections with John’s wife becoming one with the wallpaper and thats exactly how she is. A women trapped all day long, unable to express emotions and very tied down. Due to the fact that she was unable to express her feelings because then everybody think she’s crazy, she starts to connect and become one with this wallpaper. She starts to rip the wallpaper off-the-wall and she bites into it because she feels like if that wallpaper stays up there that somehow she’s going to get trapped into it. She does not care what’s going to happen if she does it she doesn’t care that her husband fainted, she’s just going to use him as a step stool to rip off more of the wallpaper. Unfortunately, the Yellow wallpaper was so interesting with all these meanings and connects that my group did not get to talking about the relationship in The Cottagette so my group members have a great comment opportunity to talk about the non romantic relationships in that story and also they can state who they believe is Jane in the Story the yellow wallpaper.
Part 1: Retelling ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’
I watch a woman sitting in this room quickly scribbling words into her journal, she always seems to be in a big rush when she’s writing. Everytime someone comes into the room she quickly hides the journal away from them like it is forbidden.
One day her husband came in and said to her
“ You’ve got to stop focusing on you’re illness, It’s not helping you get any better, try to focus on something else” She responded “Your right, I need to take my mind off of it.”
Then something came through me like a surge, but it felt like a surge of restrictions.
The next day the she was just wandering around the room looking at things and writing about them, but when she came towards me it seemed like she kept looking at me, not sure what or who I was, but she knew I was there.
I could see the look in her face. It seemed like we both felt the same way restricted and trapped. Everytime I see this woman she seems to be in this room alone, without a person insight unless it’s her husband or the lady that seems to be doing all her housework while she follows her husbands resting rules.
She never stopped looking around the room as she wrote. It seemed like it irked her, like she couldn’t think what she wanted to think but had to focus on the furniture around her. But when she looked towards me she never stopped. She would stare a hole right through me and the longer she looked at me the more I felt I had a connection with her. I’ve watched this women sit in this room for weeks lonely and depressed, and the only times I see anyone coming into the room to talk to her is when they’re coming to tell her what to do, and what she’s doing is wrong. The longer she looked at me through these walls the more I realized that she’s not ill. She’s silenced by her oppressors, she isn’t allowed to express herself to anyone. She’s been sitting in this room all this time trying to make connections with me and oddly enough I feel her pain. But yet she is still confused when she stares at me not sure of what she sees.
I started to feel that this woman and I are very much the same person, i feel all the limitations that her husband has out on her and how it’s made her nervous illness worse. The room and her writing are the only sources of freedom that she has. The closest thing to an interactions with someone from the outside world is me.
But she still doesn’t realize that the world around her is ruining, and all of the things her husband has told her to do that would make her feel better has only made matters worse. There is no one that can tell her this but me.
I must get out, I need to help her become one with with her true self, and get rid of the restrictions , as for I too feel burrowed in the quicksand of her depression.
I try to show myself to her. I go around the house when no one else is around to grab her attention. I show her that I am trapped and I need her to break me free. I shake the patterns on the wall to show her that I am being caged in and the wallpaper keeps me from coming out.
Then she starts tearing off the wallpaper off, slowly breaking me free. Once she tore off the last strand of the wallpaper I was able to come out and be free, She looked at me with a shocked look and told me
“ You’re me”
And then I finally understood why I felt her pain. I am her lost self, I am the piece of her that she can’t express all of those built up emotions.
Then I tell her”We are finally together, and there isn’t anyone that can separate us again”
Then John came in and said”What is all that noise” and after a moment of looking into the room he fell unconscious and we tell him
“ We’ve got out at last, and we’ve pulled off all the wallpaper so you can put us back.”
The original version of The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman shows the how the protagonist was not allowed any creative freedom or expression, and how that slowly drove her crazy to the point where her imagination took complete control of her. My retelling of the story is from the point of view of the woman she sees in the wallpaper, and show the reader how both characters change together.
In the original Iteration of the story the protagonist has many limitations or restrictions put on her by her husband and she can’t express her true thoughts to him. She asked him for some company and he denies her saying she needs rest and no social interactions with people and tells her to stop focusing on her illness and focus on other things. This is when my narrator is truly “birthed”. In my retelling of the story these restrictions keep making the woman in the wallpaper more and more noticable for the protagonist.
“Then something came through me like a surge, but it felt like a surge of restrictions.
The next day the she was just wandering around the room looking at things and writing
about them, but when she came towards me it seemed like she kept looking at me,
not sure what or who I was, but she knew I was there.”(My iteration of The Yellow Wallpaper)
In the original version the protagonist tries to show in her writings that her husbands rules for her resting aren’t making her any better and are hurting her more than helping her.
“I sometimes fancy that in my condition if I had less opposition and more society and stimulus—but John says the very worst thing I can do is think about my condition, and I confess it always makes me feel bad. So I will let it alone and talk about the house.”
(The Yellow Wallpaper, Charles Perkins Gilman)
The narrator interrupts her own train of thought because starts to remember John’s instructions. So she forces herself to focus on the things around her. The protagonist embraced her husband’s authority to the point that she imagines him telling her what to think.She cant help herself but feel bad so she stats focusing on the house instead of her situation, the protagonist slowly starts her slide into obsession and madness. The irony in this segment there is a lot of with the protagonist ‘condition’ that its both her depression and her condition in general within her oppressive marriage.
In my interation of the story the woman in wallpaper grows stronger and becomes more whole when the protagonist starts to become more and more affected by her oppressive marriage.
“I could see the look in her face. It seemed like we both felt the same way restricted and trapped. Everytime I see this woman she seems to be in this room alone, without a person insight unless it’s her husband or the lady that seems to be doing all her housework while she follows her husbands resting rules.”(My iteration of The Yellow Wallpaper)
She starts to feel more connected to the protagonist the more she looks into the wallpaper were the woman is trapped. She feels more and more what the protagonist feels when they stare at each other. After a while the woman in the wallpaper cannot watch the protagonist suffer anymore
“But she still doesn’t realize that the world around her is ruining, and all of the things her husband has told her to do that would make her feel better has only made matters worse. There is no one that can tell her this but me. I must get out, I need to help her become one with with her true self, and get rid of the restrictions , as for I too feel burrowed in the quicksand of her depression.”(My iteration of The Yellow Wallpaper)
The woman in the wallpaper makes the protagonist into breaking her free in where when she did she unleashed the side of her that she couldn’t show to anyone.
The original version and my iteration have two different narrators whos stories still revolve around the same protagonist. I tried to show a better connections between the protagonist and her lost self that has been trapped for a long time and that they show that when they are together they have a powerful meaningful voice something the protagonist didn’t have when she followed her husbands commands
The Importance of Communication
John and his wife, (Aria) are staying in a colonial mansion for a short period of time. John is a physician and doesn’t believe that his wife is sick, although she feels as if she is. Aria always thinks about her illness which sometimes makes her feel exhausted, so John informed her that the worst thing she could do was think about her condition. Instead of thinking about her condition she focuses on the aspects of the house.
The house is three miles from the village and stands well from the road. She describes it as the most beautiful place and very quiet. The house has a large and shady garden full of box-boarded paths and lined with grape covered arbors. There were also greenhouses, but they were all destroyed. Although the house had delightful aspects. She felt as if there was something strange within the house.
The first room that they had moved into wasn’t satisfying her, so they moved into the nursery which was more spacious, airy, contained more windows, and more sunshine. The paper on the wall was stripped off in great patches and in bad condition. The color was a very dull, unclean, repulsive yellow. Aria was quite fond of the room except for the wallpaper. Since they were only staying in the house for three months John didn’t see any reason to change the wallpaper.
She informed him that she wasn’t comfortable with the wallpaper but instead of getting rid of it he convinced her that it was fine, so she stopped complaining so she wouldn’t make him uncomfortable, but she still had the feeling in the back of her head.
Usually when she’s alone she takes walks in the garden and sits on the porch. She’s starting to actually love the room that she’s in despite the wallpaper. The wallpaper is usually the one thing that stays on her mind throughout the day. She spends time analyzing the wallpaper and finding out the pattern and seeing how the wallpaper connects diagonally and goes horizontally. She often does this until she is exhausted, but it makes her feel relieved.
As the days go by the patterns and shapes starts to get clearer to her. She realizes that the shapes are the same only very numerous. She then starts to see woman creeping out from behind the pattern. She now starts to freak out and tries to tell her husband about the problem, but he convinced her that she is getting better and recovering from her illness when in all reality she is not.
Each day and night, his wife is examining the wallpaper. There’s things there that no one else seems to notice but her, like how the outside pattern is florid arabesque, which reminds her of a fungus, and even when it changes when the light changes. She even compares it to an interminable string of toadstools, budding and sprouting in endless convolutions.
She notices how when it’s the night time, and the moonlight, candle light, and lamplight come on, the lady behind the wallpaper is completely clear. She was 100% sure that there was a lady there and indeed she was trapped.
She now recognizes that the pattern on the wall actually moves and the women behind the wall is actually the one shaking it. She sometimes thinks that there’s only one woman or more than one and she’s crawling all over to shake it.
John feels as is Aria is improving with her mental health but what he doesn’t know is that it is worsening.
John ends up walking into the room with the yellow wallpaper all over the floor to find out that his wife has let the woman free then later passes out.
The Yellow Wallpaper vs. The Importance of Communication
The text I chose to use in my project is, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. In the original copy of “The Yellow Wallpaper,” the narrative point of view is first person, so I chose to rewrite my version in the third person omniscient point of view. I wanted to make the audience get the general idea of the story which is why I chose third person omniscient to get into the heads of all the characters to really portray how they felt throughout the story. Although in the original version of “The Yellow Wallpaper,” the narrator conveys dominance in a relationship but in my retelling, I use a third person omniscient narrative to highlight the importance of undivided attention in a marriage.
In the beginning of my retelling, I decided to keep up the same order of the story. I started off with introducing John and his wife and stated her sickness and the aspects of the house just like in the original version. “John and his wife, (Aria) are staying in a colonial mansion for a short period of time. John is a physician and doesn’t believe that his wife is sick, although she feels as if she is. Aria always thinks about her illness which sometimes makes her feel exhausted, so John informed her that the worst thing she could do was think about her condition. Instead of thinking about her condition she focuses on the aspects of the house.” In this quote, (in my retelling), I narrowed down the important parts of the beginning of the story. “It is very seldom that mere ordinary people like John and myself secure ancestral halls for the summer. A colonial mansion, a hereditary estate, I would say a haunted house, and reach the height of romantic felicity, — but that would be asking too much of fate! Still I will proudly declare that there is something queer about it. Else, why should it be let so cheaply? And why have stood so long untenanted? John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in marriage. John is practical in the extreme. He has no patience with faith, an intense horror of superstition, and he scoffs openly at any talk of things not to be felt and seen and put down in ﬁgures. John is a physician, and perhaps— (I would not say it to a living soul, of course, but this is dead paper and a great relief to my mind)— perhaps that is one reason I do not get well faster. You see, he does not believe I am sick! And what can one do? I sometimes fancy that in my condition if I had less opposition and more society and stimulus— but John says the very worst thing I can do is to think about my condition, and I confess it always makes me feel bad. So, I will let it alone and talk about the house.” Now in this quote in the original copy, the author goes into description on how John and his wife moves into a house for a few months and how she feels about the house. The similarities with this quote and my quote is how I focused on the wife having an illness and John basically not dwelling on it and denying that she is sick.
“Usually when she’s alone she takes walks in the garden and sits on the porch. She’s starting to actually love the room that she’s in despite the wallpaper. The wallpaper is usually the one thing that stays on her mind throughout the day. She spends time analyzing the wallpaper and finding out the pattern and seeing how the wallpaper connects diagonally and goes horizontally. She often does this until she is exhausted, but it makes her feel relieved. As the days go by the patterns and shapes starts to get clearer to her. She realizes that the shapes are the same only very numerous. She then starts to see woman creeping out from behind the pattern.” Throughout my retelling, I focused more on the description of the house and the women in the wallpaper. I wanted to show my audience the reason as to why John’s wife was so hypnotized by the house which led her to her breaking point in the story. I didn’t want to focus on her illness as much as the author did in the original version or the dominance in that marriage. “Dear John! He loves me very dearly and hates to have me sick. I tried to have a real earnest reasonable talk with him the other day and tell him how I wished he would let me go and make a visit to Cousin Henry and Julia. But he said I wasn’t able to go, nor able to stand it after I got there; and I did not make out a very good case for myself, for I was crying before I had ﬁnished. It is getting to be a great effort for me to think straight. Just this nervous weakness, I suppose. And dear John gathered me up in his arms, and just carried me upstairs and laid me on the bed and sat by me and read to me till he tired my head. He said I was his darling and his comfort and all he had, and that I must take care of myself for his sake and keep well. He says no one but myself can help me out of it, that I must use my will and self-control and not let my silly fancies run away with me” In the original story the author talks about her having the illness and her husband basically telling her what to do in a way of dominance. She basically respects everything her husband tells her because she trusts him.
In conclusion, in the original version, the author uses a first-person narrative and in my retelling, I used the third person omniscient narrative to give my audience a different perspective of the story.
In our group discussion, my group and I compared both stories, “The Yellow Wallpaper” and “The Cottagette”, and determined which is Utopia and Dystopia. Utopia refers to a world that is considered to be perfect, while Dystopia refers to a place where the conditions of life are unpleasant. After comparing the characters and plot in each story, we figured that “The Yellow Wallpaper” is a dystopia and “The Cottagette” is a utopia.
In the story, “The Yellow Wallpaper” the narrator is suffering from depression and tries to recover, but she feels that she is trapped in the mansion. Since her husband is a doctor, he prevents her from going outside and suggests her that she should stay in and rest. Our group discussed that the narrator felt content with the mansion in the beginning. However, as the story progresses, the narrator seems to feel uncomfortable in her room. She asks her husband to change the yellow wallpaper, but he refuses to do so. This is the point where this story shows dystopia. The narrator states, “I am getting angry enough to do something desperate. To jump out of the window would be admirable exercise, but the bars are too strong even to try.” The unpleasantness of the yellow wallpaper causes the narrator to feel trapped in the room and eventually causes the narrator to lose her mind.
In the story, “The Cottagette” the author shows happiness throughout the story. We discussed that life is perfect for Malda. In the beginning, Malda expresses how elated she is with the cottage. Additionally, Malda’s husband treats her good and keeps her happy. Malda’s husband, Ford, states “Your work is quite too good to lose; it is a beautiful and distinctive art, and I don’t want you to let it go.” Here, we can see that he supports her and does not want her to quit. Furthermore, in the end, it is revealed that Ford is in love with Malda and wants to marry her regardless of her cooking. This shows that Malda’s life is perfect.
In class, our group discussed the genres found in the two Charlotte Perkins Gilman stories, “The Cottagette” and “The Yellow Wallpaper”.
“The Cottagette” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman features the genre of “Idyllic”. The story features two women, named Malda, an artist and Lois, a pianist, who move to a peaceful, private, and picturesque cottagette in a rural area, with delicious meals just a few minutes away. The two friends also meet Ford Matthews, a writer full of ambition, who Malda ends up marrying.
The story paints an idyllic picture when Malda is describing her experience, cottagette and surrounding area:
“Never did I know the real joy and peace of living, before that blessed summer at “High Court”.”.
“…from the outside you wouldn’t have believed it, it looked so small; but small as it was it harbored harbored a miracle–a real bathroom with water piped from mountain springs.”.
“Our windows opened into the green shadiness, the soft brownness, the bird-inhabited quiet flower-starred woods.”.
Malda describes visiting the cottagette as one of her best experiences and describes the stunning view that her windows open up to.
Later in the story, Malda, is persuaded by her friend Lois to live more of a domestic life, in order to appeal to Matthews. Malda, who enjoys creating embroidery, has to give up her passion, due to a lack of time stemming from cooking and cleaning around the house.
One day, as the cottagette begins resembles less of a cozy home and more of a crowded apartment due to Lois’ mother moving in, Matthews offers to take Malda on a hike. They reach a spot where they sit down and eat. Malda describes the idyllic scene:
“We saw the round sun setting at one end of a world view, and the round moon rising at the other; calmly shining each on each.”.
It is at this point where Matthews proposes to Malda but only on one condition, that Malda leaves the domestic life to Matthews and she picks up embroidery again. She is hesitant at first but Matthews reveals that he has experience as a cook and would have no problem earning a living as a cook. The story ends with an idyllic compromise and now Malda gets to marry someone who she loves and loves her.
“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is of the gothic genre. The protagonist and her husband, John, stay in an old home, so that John can help his wife recover from her failing mental state.
Right from the beginning, the story makes its gothic tones clear:
“A colonial mansion, a hereditary estate, I would say a haunted house, and reach the height of romantic felicity – but that would be asking too much of fate! Still I will proudly declare that there is something queer about it. Else, why would should it be let so cheaply? And why have stood so long untenanted?”
As the story progresses, so does the wife’s mental illness. She begins to develop an unhealthy obsession with the yellow wallpaper that decorates the room she is confined to. She begins to imagine smells and see figures inside the wallpaper.
“But there is something else about that paper-the smell! I noticed it the moment we came into the room, but with so much air and sun it was not bad. Now we have had a week of fog and rain, and whether the windows are open or not, the smell is here.”.
“John was asleep and I hated to waken him, so I kept still and watched the moonlight on that undulating wall-paper till I felt creepy. The faint figure behind seemed to shake the pattern, just as if she wanted to get out.”.
The ending of the story is not a happy one and leaves the reader with a sense of uncertainty for the wife and John. At this point of the story, the wife’s mental state has almost completely deteriorated and only a fragment of it remains. She is convinced that she is a figure that is confined to the wallpaper and to prevent herself from being sent back, she tears down the wallpaper. This causes John to come rushing to the door, trying frantically to open the locked door, only to be greeted by his wife who has lost her grip on reality.
“ “I’ve got out at last,” said I, “in spite of you and Jane. And I’ve pulled off most of the paper, so you can’t put me back!” Now why should that man have fainted? But he did, and right across my path by the wall, so that I had to creep over him every time!”. ”.
The story does not have a happy conclusion and leaves the reader with a sense of uncertainty regarding the fate of both the wife and John.
Marriage/ marital relationships
power in these relationships
Genre: horror, gothic vs naturalism, idyllic
think about feminism vs patriarchy
Who are our next volunteers for posting by Friday end-of-day for Monday’s class?
Definition of neurasthenia – a condition that is characterized especially by physical and mental exhaustion usually with accompanying symptoms (such as headache and irritability), is of unknown cause but is often associated with depression or emotional stress, and is sometimes considered similar to or identical with chronic fatigue syndrome.
I have encountered this word while reading Charlotte Perkins Gilman “Why I Wrote The Yellow Wallpaper” (1913). This word was located on the first page second to last paragraph. “But the best result is this. Many years later I was told that the great specialist had admitted to friends of his that he had altered his treatment of neurasthenia since reading The Yellow Wallpaper.” To my understanding of the word it is a syndrome that is develop naturally, and it causes stress, depression, and even hallucinations. Which is similar to what the narrator from “The Yellow Wallpaper” has throughout the story. The narrator claim that her sickness was cause of nervous depression, which is similar to what neurasthenia is.
This picture show what a person with neurasthenia might be imagining of in their head.
causing shock or disgust; shining or glowing with a bright and unpleasant color
source: Merriam Webster dictionary
This word is taken from The Yellow Wallpaper on the second page last sentence.
The narrator uses this word to describe how abhorrent and undaunted the orange color of the wallpaper is “in some places.”
The words Utopia and Dystopia are opposites of each other. Utopia relates to a world that is considered to be perfect or ideal while Dystopia refers to a place where the conditions of life are unpleasant. In Gilman short stories the yellow wallpaper and the cottagette we can see where each of these term applies to the protagonist in different ways. In the story yellow wallpaper the narrator introduces us to the mansion in which she is staying for the summer in hopes of recovering from her illness of depression. At first it seems she is perhaps content with the height of romantic felicity” she may experience while at the mansion, she even describes it as” the most beautiful place.” From this we can relate the idea of utopia as the narrator (perhaps Jane ) expresses the physical appearance of the house and the room in which she stays to that of perfection but it is a facade because as we delve further into the story it is reveal that she is not happy as she expresses that she would hate it if she had to live in the room long” Now comes the idea of dystopia where the unpleasantness of the room’s yellow wall paper drives her –to say the most– insane. The narrator’s illness deteriorated from a place of utopia to craziness–from the point of view of her husband and his sister’s and perhaps even to the narrator herself, it can be said that she fell into a state of dystopia.
In contrast, the cottagette starts off with description of the cottage, at first I thought it would more relate to the idea of dystopia but as I read on I realized it was more of a utopia for Malda as she expressed how delighted she is with the cottage. Furthermore not only is the appearance of the cottage utopic to Malda but also perhaps the happiness she succumb to in the end. As indicated in the stoty, Malda declares her love for Ford Matthews and is faced with the challenge of proving herself to be a good wife to win his love. She is advised by her friend Lois to make a home, in hearing this she installs a kitchen in hopes of impressing Ford Matthews with her cooking, though Malda is skeptical about this idea as she states “the very beauty of the place is that it never had any house-keeping about it.” Despite Maldas efforts to “make a home” it is revealed that Ford is in fact in love with Malda and all her trouble of impressing him was unnecessary because he in the end confesses his love and wants to marry her regardless of her cooking and domesticity. He loves her because she is young strong and beautiful he even compares her to being sweet and wild like the wild flowers she loves. This, to me is the true idea of utopia to be accepted for who you are and be loved for it without having to prove to be someone you are not. One may consider this a utopia of love for both Malda and Matthews.
- According to one examination of “The Yellow Wall-Paper” and its publication history, the story did remain in print in between its reprint in 1920 and its feminist re-discovery in the 1970s: in horror-story collections. In what ways do you see “The Yellow Wall-Paper” as a horror story? Include specific references to the text to support your claims.
“I really have discovered something at last. Through watching so much at night, when it changes so, I have finally found out. The front pattern DOES move–and no wonder! The woman behind shakes it! Sometimes I think there are a great many women, behind, and sometimes only one, and she crawls around fast, and her crawling shakes it all over” (Gilman, pg. 9-10).
Now, this quote, visually, is very creepy. Taking place the time in the story, night, and what is going on like seeing numerous women then only one behind a wallpaper that is moving is skin crawling. Speaking of crawling, the women behind the wallpaper crawls, she doesn’t walk. Thinking of this reminds me of the movie “The Ring”, for those who may not have a clue of what I am talking about here’s a visual.
“Then in the very bright spots she keeps still, and in the very shady spots she just takes hold of the bars and shakes them hard. And she is all the time trying to climb through. But nobody could climb through that pattern–it strangles so; I think that is why it has so many heads” (Gilman, pg. 10).
This also adds to the visually disturbing view because not only does the women trapped in the wallpaper crawl but also has many heads. Now, it is unclear if the narrator is referring to the amount of head as the numerous women behind the bars or how many heads that one women behind the bars has. But, this leaves the reader to be open to imagination and depending on where that imagination leads the reader can be classified as horrifying or normal. But when I try to see how this story is viewed as a horror story then a women with many heads crawling is what comes to mind. That’s the way I see this story as a horror story.
At first reading, I did not perceive this to be creepy at all, just very creative writing, somewhat like poetry. But, being that when this story was rediscovered, 1970’s, the first thought that came to my mind about why it would be classified as a horror story is that not only is this story creative in a way that isn’t regularly thought of but, it would probably be looked at as if the narrator has a mental problem that, at the time, could not be explained very well or medically treated properly and is taking the reader into the mind of someone who is ‘not normal’. So when people do not fully understand where something is coming from or just simply don’t understand they tend to label it and shy away from it. That’s the first thought that came to mind when I thought of why it can be seen as a horror story.