Tag Archives: utopia

Utopia and Dystopia relating to The Yellow Wallpaper and The Cottagette.

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.