Category Archives: Week 5

The cottagette and yellow wallpaper

I am seeing a major difference in just the way the stories start. As the beauty of the cottage is emphasized from the tranquil setting that it lies in, the beauty of trees and flowers described as a paradise–” and with all this fairyland of un and shadow, the free immensity of our view, and the dainty comfort of the cottagette.”. In the yellow wallpaper–“It is quite alone, standing well back from the road.” followed by–” I am afraid, but I don’t care–there is something strange about the house–I can feel it.”. As the transformation of the two places takes place, there is an uneasiness expressed by both characters. The cottagette, is described (from the implementation of the kitchen).  “When I was ready to sit down the freshness of the morning was gone somehow. Before, when I woke up, there was only the clean wood smell of the house and then the blessed out-of-doors: now I always felt the call of the kitchen as soon as I woke. An oil stove will smell a little,”—–well you know if you cook in a bedroom how it makes the room smell differently. In the yellow wallpaper she describes the paper in the room as–“On a pattern like this, by daylight, there is a lack of sequence, a defiance of law, that is a constant irritant to a normal mind. The color is hideous enough, and unreliable enough, and infuriating enough, but the pattern is torturing.” then “It slaps you in the face, knocks you down, and tramples upon you. It is like a bad dream.  Lastly I would like to point out what I feel is the liberating moments in each ending. The cottagette, Malda is proposed to by a man who will do the cooking so that she would be able continue her musical and writing profession. In the yellow wallpaper The woman in the wall is finally freed to never be put back again.


p 60 line 16 ” the yellow wall-paper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

– two BULBOUS eyes stare at you up and down

Bulbous – growing, largely

The two largely enhancing eyes staring growing with each second

Comparing setting in “The Yellow Wall-Paper” and “The Cottagette”

Setting shapes stories in many ways. People with less usually seem to have more and others with more seem to have less. This becomes truthful with the stories “The Yellow Wall-Paper and “The Cottagette”. In “The Yellow Wall-Paper” the characters are wealthy yet lonely and miserable within their own being meanwhile in “The Cottagette” they’re less wealthy yet full of life and love. Both stories are set in the homes of the narrator.

In “The Yellow Wall-Paper” Jane is staying in a lavish home lots of floors space garden and servants and her husband whom is a physician. But she’s suffering, she refuses to tend to her child, she becomes controlled by the wallpaperin her bedroom. Her life is the wallpaper P67 (“I see her on that road under the trees, creeping along, and when a carriage comes she hides under the blackberry vines”) she’s hiding like the women hidden inside the wallpaper. She has to escape P69 (“Then I peeled off all the paper i could reach standing on the floor”).  All the flaws rips and tears in the wallpaper relate to her. The Yellow Wall-Paper is a dark story the character wants to breakout but shes mentatlly and physically trapped in the room and she’s the only one who can release herself. P70 (” I’ve got out at last”). She becomes free after she destroys the wallpaper.

In “The Cottagette” Malda is young full of life she lives in a small home with her friend. She has all the necessities to live rooms kitchen bathroom more than some other villagers had and shes content P47 (” The Cottagette” I loved unreservedly.”) She loved to paint but loved to do for others more. She fell in love and put her ambitions on hold to please him. He noticed and proposed to her as he proposed he made her promise that she no longer has to do what she thinks others need and just focus on herself P53 (” But there’s a condition!” said he all at once,  “You mustn’t cook”). People with less always appreciate more and find the best in most situations.

The two stories “The Yellow Wall-Paper” and “The Cottagette”  have similar setting with different themes. Each narrator has a different approach on life. Jane in “The Yellow Wall-Paper” needed more for survival meanwhile Malda  “The Cottagette” was happy either with.


Arabesque is a noun

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary arabesque means:  An ornamental design consisting of intertwined flowing lines.

The word arabesque is used by the author Charlotte Perkins Gilman in the class handout entitled, “The Yellow Wallpaper.”

On page 64 Gilman wrote, “The outside pattern is a florid arabesque, reminding one of fungus.”

I understand that the narrator means that the outside pattern of the yellow wallpaper had an intricate  design of many overlapping lines.

“The Yellow Wallpaper”

I found the story to be really captivating. I first came upon this title because I’m doing a research paper on the history of childbirth, mainly focusing on the 18th and 19th century. I’m doing a chapter on postpartum depression, and came upon this story while doing some research.

Post partum depression wasn’t really diagnosed in that time ,as it is now. While reading this story I felt frustrated, and a bit sad to know that a perfectly common occurrence after birth was looked upon as a woman being tired or with slight hysteria. The remedy ranged from tepid baths to rest.

I think that in that time, society had such strict roles for all. Women especially, were to be the embodiment of poise and femininity. She was expected to marry and have children and to carry out her role in perfection.

The notion that she was not able to be fragile or come undone is claustrophobic and horrible within itself. It seems that her husband didn’t give her the chance to truly talk about what she was feeling and instead decided to take matter into his own hands by treating her like a chid and suggesting that she rest and think of pleasant things. She felt overwhelmed and frustrated.

“I get unreasonably angry with John sometimes. I’m sure I never used to be so sensitive.”

“But John says if I feel so, I shall neglect proper self control; so I take pains to control myself – before him, at least, and that makes me very tired.

The fact that she states that it  took great pain to control herself, but that she did and most likely in front of him goes to show how little men or society could deal with any type of hysteria from a woman. I could see how she must have felt so exhausted from battling this depression, and most especially exhausted from hiding it from her husband.

I couldn’t imagine being in a time in which I wouldn’t be able to speak my mind or discomforts to those around me. How suffocating and sad that would be. It would be enough to drive anyone crazy.


In-class discussion of “The Yellow Wall-Paper” and “The Cottagette”

In Women and Economics (1898), Charlotte Perkins Gilman argued against kitchens in homes–and with them, the housework involved–as a way to free women from the domestic sphere:

Take the kitchens out of the houses, and you leave rooms which are open to any form of arrangement and extension; and the occupancy of them does not mean “housekeeping.” In such living, personal character and taste would flower as never before; the home of each individual would be at last a true personal expression; and the union of individuals in marriage would not compel the jumbling together of all the external machinery of their lives,–a process in which much of the delicacy and freshness of love, to say nothing of the power of mutual rest and refreshment, is constantly lost. The sense of lifelong freedom and self-respect and of the peace and permanence of one’s own home will do much to purify and uplift the personal relations of life, and more to strengthen and extend the social relations. The individual will learn to feel himself an integral part of the social structure, in close, direct, permanent connection with the needs and uses of society.

This is especially needed for women, who are generally considered, and who consider themselves, mere fractions of families, and incapable of any wholesome life of their own. The knowledge that peace and comfort may be theirs for life, even if they do not marry,–and may be still theirs for life, even if they do,–will develope a serenity and strength in women most beneficial to them and to the world. It is a glaring proof of the insufficient and irritating character of our existing form of marriage that women must be forced to it by the need of food and clothes, and men by the need of cooks and housekeepers. We are absurdly afraid that, if men or women can meet these needs of life by other means, they will cheerfully renounce the marriage relation. And yet we sing adoringly of the power of love!

In reality, we may hope that the most valuable effect of this change in the basis of living will be the cleansing of love and marriage from this base admixture of pecuniary interest and creature comfort, and that men and women , eternally drawn together by the deepest force in nature, will be able at last to meet on a plane of pure and perfect love. We shame our own ideals, our deepest instincts, our highest knowledge, by this gross assumption that the noblest race on earth will not mate, or, at least, not mate monogamously, unless bought and bribed through the common animal necessities of food and shelter, and chained by law and custom.

What do we think of this?

Furtive – “The Cottagette”

Furtive – done in a quiet and secret way to avoid being noticed.

Used In “The Cottagette” on page 47, the fifth paragraph.

“Not a two minutes walk”, he assured her, and showed us a little furtive path between the trees to the place where meals were furnished.”

The word is meant to describe a secretive and quick path to a place near the cottagette to get their meals.