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Utopia and Dystopia Group Discussion

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.

Blog Post for The Cottagette & The Yellow Wallpaper

Most stories that we have read have always made the best out of an unfortunate situation it is known that stories usually have a happy ending although some struggles. In the story “The Cottagette” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. I feel like there was a happy ending because Malda and Ford truly had feelings for it and at the end Ford really only wanted the best for Malda. He knew that she had a passion and he wanted her to pursue it. 

“But you haven’t done half as much of your lovely work since you started this kitchen business, and–you’ll forgive me, dear–it hasn’t been as good. 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.” Ford saw Malda’s potential and wanted to her to keep growing even if that meant that he had to sacrifice being taken care of. “Could I? Could I? Was there ever a man like this?” This was the closing of the short story and it shows that Malda was in disbelief that there was actually a man like this would put her before himself. Also that she can have her love but also keep her passion which was the perfect ending for her character.  

Malda always thought that she had to cater to the man and everything she did had to be for him because that was the typical role for men and women in relationships back then.  She was shocked when Ford said that he would take over the cooking and actually payed attention to how her art suffered from her having to cook and clean. Although Malda was confused at first she realized that that was what she truly wanted. he didn’t have to  give anything up or choose between anything. I think this short story offers a truly happy ending.


Power “In A Rose for Emily”

The theme of power is prevalent through out “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner. Here are some examples.

When the city taxmen visit Emily’s house in an attempt to get her to pay taxes.

She did not ask them to sit. She just stood in the door and listened quietly until the spokesman came to a stumbling halt. Then they could hear the invisible watch ticking at the end of the gold chain.

Her voice was dry and cold. “I have no taxes in Jefferson. Colonel Sartoris explained it to me. Perhaps one of you can gain access to the city records and satisfy yourselves.”

“But we have. We are the city authorities, Miss Emily. Didn’t you get a notice from the sheriff, signed by him?”

“I received a paper, yes,” Miss Emily said. “Perhaps he considers himself the sheriff . . . I have no taxes in Jefferson.”

“But there is nothing on the books to show that, you see We must go by the–“

“See Colonel Sartoris. I have no taxes in Jefferson.”

“But, Miss Emily–“

“See Colonel Sartoris.” (Colonel Sartoris had been dead almost ten years.) “I have no taxes in Jefferson. Tobe!” The Negro appeared. “Show these gentlemen out.”

Emily just stands in the doorway while the taxmen talk among themselves and are taken aback when they finally notice her. She disregards basic manners by not offering the taxmen a seat or even greeting them. She is the first one to speak and speaks in a stern manner, saying only what is important and nothing more. The taxmen’s try to argue with Emily but Emily still holds on to her claims and kicks them out.

Another event of power in the story is when Emily is buying poison.

“I want some poison,” she said to the druggist. She was over thirty then, still a slight woman, though thinner than usual, with cold, haughty black eyes in a face the flesh of which was strained across the temples and about the eyesockets as you imagine a lighthouse-keeper’s face ought to look. “I want some poison,” she said.

“Yes, Miss Emily. What kind? For rats and such? I’d recom–“

“I want the best you have. I don’t care what kind.”

The druggist named several. “They’ll kill anything up to an elephant. But what you want is–“

“Arsenic,” Miss Emily said. “Is that a good one?”

“Is . . . arsenic? Yes, ma’am. But what you want–“

“I want arsenic.”

The druggist looked down at her. She looked back at him, erect, her face like a strained flag. “Why, of course,” the druggist said. “If that’s what you want. But the law requires you to tell what you are going to use it for.”

Miss Emily just stared at him, her head tilted back in order to look him eye for eye, until he looked away and went and got the arsenic and wrapped it up. The Negro delivery boy brought her the package; the druggist didn’t come back. When she opened the package at home there was written on the box, under the skull and bones: “For rats.”

Here we can see that Emily is incredibly assertive. She says the bare minimum and she says it firmly. In a futile attempt to recommend some poisons, the druggist is stopped before he can even finish his sentences. Emily wants to purchase one thing and one thing only: arsenic. The druggist reluctantly gives in but informs Emily that she must write down why she is buying the arsenic. With a stern look on her face, she and the druggist stare at one another. Finally, the druggist breaks and leaves to get the arsenic ready. He sends someone else to hand the package to Emily. With only a few words and a stare down, Emily had purchased a powerful poison.

These two passages highlight Emily’s power. She barely utters a word but she remains in control of the conversation at all times. She is unmoving in her convictions and remains strong when she is challenged and because of this, Emily always comes out on top.

The narrator in “A Rose for Emily”

“The narrator in “A Rose for Emily” is different than others we have encountered. What term would you use to identify the narrator? is it a reliable narrator? Use evidence from the story to show why you say reliable or not.”

So in the story “A rose for Emily” I was mislead by who was actually telling/narrating the story. We don’t really get who is the narrator unless we look deeply in what kind of words are used through the passage. Depending on whose eyes we are looking through, the point of view can actually be a bit different. So before we get into that, lets take a look at “The Story of An Hour”, it is told in third person. It can also been seen as Third Person omniscient, but the narrator only knows how Mrs. Mallard is feeling and no one else, due to the fact that all other characters are “flat characters”. Now going back to “A rose for Emily”, it would seem that the story is definitely not told from Emily’s perspective. It is mostly told from other people’s point of view, and how the saw the situation unfold.  For Example

“When we saw her again, her hair was cut short, making her look like a girl, with a vague resemblance to those angels in colored church windows–sort of tragic and serene.”

“We were a little disappointed that there was not a public blowing-off, but we believed that he had gone on to prepare for Miss Emily’s coming, or to give her a chance to get rid of the cousins.”

“Then we noticed that in the second pillow was the indentation of a head. One of us lifted something from it, and leaning forward, that faint and invisible dust dry and acrid in the nostrils, we saw a long strand of iron-gray hair.”

All of these quotes mentions the words “we” as in the people who either worked with her or saw her very frequently. We see the story through their eyes and through their thoughts. So due to that I kinda feel like the narrator is not that reliable. In the end of the story even after Emily’s death, we were told how “they” knew about there being “a room above the stairs which no one had seen in forty years” and that they saw a strand of gray hair. So after reading these quotes I am more inclined on saying that people who knew her quiet well and have been close to her were telling the story. The most reliable narrator would be First Person, or someone who is telling the story about themselves.