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The Yellow Wallpaper

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kassie wheatley

on 5 October 2012

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Transcript of The Yellow Wallpaper

by: Kassie, Eddy, Iain, Amir The Yellow Wallpaper The Mask protects the ego from negative images, it is a face that one puts on so the world doesn't see the person's true self. This is shown in the story when John, the narrator's husband, tells their friends and family that the narrator isn't sick, just slightly depressed. What connections can we make between elements of the text and the archetypes? (Mask, Shadow, Anima, Animus) The Great Mother is double sided. On one side you have the caring, sympathetic person and on the other side you have devouring, poisonous person. This is shown in the story when the narrator talks about the nursery for the first time and how horrible it is that the windows are barred. Directly after that she says how the room is horrible in general in all its aspects. How do the characters in the text mirror the archetypal figures? (Great Mother or nurturing Mother, Destroying Crone, Lover, Destroying Angel) How does the protagonist reflect the hero of myth? Is there a journey to an underworld or land of the dead? The Shadow represents the traits that are hidden within ourselves, that are hidden from day to day. It is the opposite of the mask. This is shown in the story when the narrator doesn't fully understand how sick she is, she only knows what John is telling her and he keeps telling her it's a nervous condition and nothing else. The Anima is beyond generalization of society's views and stereotypes. It commonly represents the interaction between men and women to help the relationship between them improve. This is shown in the story only a little when John takes care of the narrator at the beginning. He tells her he wants to be close to her and he keeps her on the right path without taking any sudden turns. The Animus is basically the same as the Anima except for the fact that the woman understand and communicates with the male to help the relationship between them improve. This is shown in the story more near the beginning when the narrator talks about how ungrateful she is about everything John does for her but she doesn't actually tell him that she just does what he wants her to do and goes where he wants her to go. The Lover is a sensual person who is tuned into the physical environment and the energy of the universe. It emphasizes the people that surround the main person. A lover usually has more than one boyfriend/girlfriend. This is also not really emphasized in the story. The narrator only has John who only locks her up in the nursery. "If a physician of high standing, and one's own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really
nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression-a slight hysterical tendency-what is one to
do?" "I get unreasonably angry with John sometimes. I'm sure I never used to be so sensitive. I think it is due to this nervous condition." "He said there was only one window and not room for two beds, and no near room for him if he took another. He is very careful and loving, and hardly lets me stir without special direction." "I have a schedule prescription for each hour in the day; he takes all care from me, and so I feel basely ungrateful not to value it more." "It was nursery first and then playroom and gymnasium, I should judge; for the windows are barred for little children, and there are rings and things in the walls." How does the text mirror the archetypal narrative patterns? (Quest, Night-Sea-Journey) The Call: The narrator is called to her journey when she notices the patterns within the wallpaper. "But in the places where it isn't faded and where the sun is just so-I can see a strange, provoking, formless sort of figure, that seems to skulk about behind that silly and conspicuous front design." New Territory: The narrator enters new territory when she comes to like the wallpaper and the hidden images she can see within it. "I start, we'll say, at the bottom, down in the corner over there where it has not been touched, and I determine for the thousandth time that I will follow that pointless pattern to some sort of a conclusion." Road of Trials: The narrator goes through a series of trials so get to the final result of being free of the room. This includes her slowly losing her mind trying to understand the wallpaper. It also includes how she lives day to day, unable to do anything at all. "Half the time now I am awfully lazy, and lie down ever so much. John says I mustn't lose my strength." Great Battle: The narrator's battle is when she hides a rope from Jennie and is prepared to capture the woman behind the wallpaper when she makes her escape into the room. She wants to prove to John that she actually is not crazy. "I've got a rope up here that even Jennie did not find. If that woman does get out, and tries to get away, I can tie her!" The Return: There is no real "return" because we as readers realize that the narrator is also the woman behind the wallpaper. She does not realize she has become this "creeping" woman. The Reward: There is no reward in the story. The narrator fully loses her mind and John collapses and dies when he walks in the room and realizes what has happened. In the beginning of the story the narrator reflect the hero of myth a little but not strongly. She wants to get better and not be as she is but being locked in the nursery gets into her mind having the opposite affect than John wanted. In the end of the story, however, the narrator become more of antihero and stays that way until the very end. Does the "hero" embark on a journey in either a physical or spiritual sense? The narrator is not really a hero but she does embark on a spiritual journey. She slowly starts to lose her mind in the wallpapered nursery, she can see people and evil images within it. She thinks she is crazy because sees the woman everywhere even outside when she looks. She tells Jennie about this and Jennie just got angry and told her there is nothing out there or behind the wallpaper. In the end she fully loses her mind and becomes the woman escaping from the wallpaper and this alternate personality that she made in her mind. The narrator does venture to the underworld when she is deciding to capture the woman behind the wallpaper. The only problem with this though, was that she never actually got back. She stayed in the underworld, becoming the woman and losing herself in the process. She was unable to find herself again and stayed as the "creeping" woman in the wallpaper. " I kept on creeping just the same, but I looked at him over my shoulder. '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!" What trials or ordeals does the protagonist face? What is the reward for overcoming them? The narrator battles with her sanity. This is the main ordeal that she faces. All the other smaller trials branch off her sanity. There is no reward because she does not with the battle, she gives in to her imagination and allows the woman behind the wallpaper to take over her mind and body and she relinquishes all self control. "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!" Who benefits if the work or effort is accepted/successful/believed, etc.? For those with ideas to solve medical issues. What is the social class of the author? She was of more middle class and wrote the story as if in a higher end of middle class. Which class does the work claim to represent? What values does the work reinforce? What values does the work subvert? What social classes do the characters represent? It showing higher middle class as the line at the beginning, the opening line *quote there*. The idea of isolation being a bad idea. The doctor's word is absolute and it was dismissed just like at the end and throughout the doctor's suggestions and such. The narrator is of a more middle to low, being manipulated by both her emotions thoughts and of john, wile others like john being the higher end controlling and doing as he sees fit. How do the operations of repression structure or inform the work? Are there any Oedipal dynamics - or any other family dynamics - at work here? What does the work suggest about the psychological being of its author? In the Yellow Wallpaper the protagonist represses her feelings and thoughts because she is afraid that John and Jennie will continue to think she is ill and she does not want to worry them. Her continued act of repressing her thoughts is what ultimately leads to her mental breakdown in the end of the story. She does not tell anyone her true feelings and it causes them to build up inside her. "John does not know how much I really suffer. (Gilman, 14)" When she tries to tell John that she is not gaining anything from being in the house, John tells her to trust his judgements because he is a physician. She stops trying to persuade John and represses her feelings. "So of course I said no more on that score... (Gilman, 24)" She confines her thoughts onto paper. She writes down her true feelings and thoughts but is never able to tell anyone how she truly fears in fear that she would be made fun of or be made to leave. "I had no intention of telling him it was because of the wall-paper he would make fun of me. He might even want to take me away. (Gilman, 28)" Writing is a way for her to outlet her frustrations and thoughts yet she is denied this. This contributes to her having to repress her thoughts and leads to her illness getting worse. “I did write for a while in spite of them; but it does exhaust me a good deal - having to sly about it, or else meet with heavy opposition. (Gilman, 10)" " I think sometimes that if I were only well enough to write a little it would relieve the press of ideas and rest me" (Gilman, 16) She does not agree with John's rest-cure, “if I had less opposition and more society and stimulus” She is only able to convey these thoughts in her writing, she does not dare tell John in fear the she would be met with resistance. She suffers in a marriage where she is repressed by her husband. He does not allow her to live her own life. He is very controlling and she knows that she is not able to get out. She represses her anger with him. “You see, he does not believe I am sick! (Gilman, 10); “I get unreasonably angry with John sometimes" Oedipal dynamics are not really portrayed to any extent in the Yellow Wallpaper. If anything her husband John seems to be more of a father in their relationship than a husband. He holds power over what she does and she really has no say in it. He fits more into the role of her father than her husband. "He is very careful and loving, and hardly lets me stir without special direction. (Gilman, 12)" John has more of a paternal attitude toward her, treating her more like a little girl, not like an adult woman. "What is it, little girl?" he said. "Don't go walking about like that -- you'll get cold. (Gilman, 23)" How can characters' behaviour, narrative events, and/or images be explained in terms of psychoanalytic concepts of any kind. Id- The protagonist represses her Id throughout the story, until the point where it forces its way free. Her Id is what makes her want to work and write despite her husband not allowing her to go out outside or write anything. By repressing her Id she slowly succumbs to madness. "I did write for a while in spite of them. (Gilman, 10)" Ego- Her ego is her ability to repress the urges of her Id. She knows that she should not be writing or going outside and walking about and her Ego prevents her from succumbing to her Id. She satisfies her Id while still maintaining control by writing. John represents the ego. He represses his wife completely casting her away in the nursery. Super Ego- Her superego is that she wants to do what is socially and morally acceptable for a women with her condition during that time period, as well trying to please her husband. She wants to get better. She knows that she shouldn't be going outside and she knows that she must try to please her husband. Her Id and superego battle throughout the story to maintain control. "I meant to be such a help to John, such a real rest and comfort, and here I am a comparative burden already! (Gilman, 14)" The author Charlotte Gilman suffered from a mental illness similar to the one her main character suffers through. As well she was also prescribed the rest-cure by a physician. The cure is not effective and she suffers from depression and separation issues. Many of her life experiences are relayed in her story. The story is more or less a biographical representation of her life and her troubles dealing with her mental illness. Are there prominent words in the piece that could have different or hidden meanings? Could there be a reason for the author using these "problem words"? "I've got out at last. (Gilman, 36)" The word Escape resonates throughout the whole story. It is not just evident that the protagonist escapes from the wallpaper. She is repressed by her husband throughout the story. Her entire life is controlled by her husband and she has no say in what she can and cannot do. She describes the wallpaper as "But nobody could climb through that pattern-it strangles so. (Gilman, 30)" The way she describes the wallpaper here symbolizes the way her husband treats her. She is not able to escape her imprisonment of her marriage controlled by her husband. She is treated like a child by her husband and is never given the chance to grow into a mature adult. Her marriage is completely dominated by her husband and he has full control over what she does. The figure trapped behind the wallpaper resembles how she is trapped by her husband. So when she finally escapes it is not just from the wallpaper but from her imprisonment by her husband.
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