Tuesday, September 10, 2013

"Yellow Wallpaper": Devices to Theme

How do specific devices create complex theme in "The Yellow Wallpaper"?  Enunciate a complex theme and describe how syntax, diction, point of view, imagery, structure, juxtaposition, irony, or other devices convey it.  Conversation style, so if you are building on someone's point, acknowledge them and then add new dimensions to the ideas.

27 comments:

  1. In her short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Charlotte Perkins Gilman employs irony to reveal how depression masks itself under denial as those afflicted live in refusal to recognize its presence. Consequently, this allows the illness to worsen undetected. Introducing her husband, the narrator explains that he is a physician and away most days and some nights treating serious cases. She exclaims, “I am glad my case is not serious! But these nervous troubles are dreadfully depressing” (Gilman 438). Here, irony surfaces as the narrator claims her case “is not serious,” and yet finds her situation “dreadfully depressing.” As she is already depressed, the adjective “depressing” here implies much stronger feelings than simply those from a bad day. Hence, Gilman implies that the narrator’s “case” is in fact quite serious, even though she so lightly, without thought, dismisses and denies her state.

    Later in the short story, the narrator provides updates concerning her mental state and speaks of the yellow wallpaper of her room, which both fascinates and repulses her, “I’m feeling so much better! I don’t sleep much at night, for it is so intersting to watch developments; but I sleep a good deal during the daytime. In the daytime it is tiresome and perplexing” (Gilman 444). This contains irony since even though the narrator so enthusiastically uses an exclamation point to illustrate just how “much better” she is and then proceeds to describe activities and behaviors that are associated with severe depression. Firstly, to not “sleep much at night” implies that restless thoughts repeat in her mind, preventing her from sleeping. It is common for depressed people to find sleep impossible as all their emotions descend to suffocate them. Hence not surprisingly, she explains that during the night she observes “developments” in the wallpaper, a complicated and mentally challenging design whose disturbing pattern seems to reflect the narrator’s emotional distress. Furthermore, as a depressed person would, the narrator sleeps “a good deal during the daytime,” which indicates that she lacks the energy to perform everyday duties and instead, recluses into her room. Accordingly, this abnormal pattern of sleep and living disconnects the narrator from regular human interaction, isolating her with her thoughts and this tends to worsen depression. As a result, she feels tired and perplexed. Therefore, we can see that as the narrator further denies her problem and claims she is recovering, her symptoms and detachment from life intensify.

    At the end of the short story the Gilman indicates that the narrator decides to kill herself in detailing the use of a rope and a box upon which to stand (this is consistent with hanging oneself). Upon committing the act, the narrator describes how her husband finds her when she begins to creep around the room, “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!” (447). Here, irony surfaces again as the narrator is perplexed that her husband faints due to her implied suicide; she cannot possibly fathom why he would faint at her post-mortem “creep.” Therefore, her denial has progressed to the point where suicide itself does not register as a disturbing act that reveals deep illness to her. Furthermore, she becomes so disconnected by this denial that normal human behavior such as John’s is alien to her. Therefore, the narrator’s depression worsens the more she claims to be better, and through this use of irony Gilman reveals that such mental illness fuels itself under the guise of improvement, and underneath synthetic progress it simply continues to fester.

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  2. In “The Yellow Wallpaper”, Gilman uses symbolism to convey her idea of how a person’s perspective changes when the thoughts behind their perspective changes also even though that may not always have the best effect. In her short story, the main character narrates, “It was moonlight. The moon shines in all around just as the sun does. I hate to see it sometimes, it creeps so slowly, and always comes in by one window or another,” (442) and that “By moonlight- the moon shines in all night when there is a moon- I wouldn’t know it was the same paper,” (443). The moon symbolizes the people in her life who take away her vivacity and block her thoughts from entering into her mind. These ideas that people try to push into her head “creeps sp slowly” that one never realizes what is happening. They come “in by one window or another”- the windows of her mind- and take over, just like how the moon takes over all of the sun’s light at night. Her thoughts and the thoughts influenced by society, like the sun and the moon, both get to shine, or come out, throughout the day. There is no stopping the other from taking over, and that’s why the main character hates to see the “moonlight”. When the moonlight shines in through her window, one “wouldn’t know it was the same paper”. The reason for this is because when it is night, there will only be light in certain spots where the moonlight chooses to shine and other parts will always stay in the dark, hidden away from view at least for the night, and the moon gets to decide what is to be shone and what is to be kept secret just like how powerful people usually get to decide what they want to ingrain in the minds of others and what they want to keep away from the light of day. Things in moonlight don’t look the same as they do in the daylight because in the daylight, nothing can hide for very long from the brightness of the sun’s rays. She hates the moonlight also because she loses her perspective on what she sees in the wallpaper in the daylight when the darkness of night comes in to take over. Then the ideas people in her society try to carve into her mind creep in and change the way she sees the wallpaper, and she doesn’t like it. This also connects to how in the beginning, she didn’t think she was crazy because the thoughts behind that idea belongs John and the society she lives in, but later on, when she realizes what is really happening, she changes her mind and knows for a fact that she isn’t getting any better and isn’t afraid of anyone anymore because her perspective on her husband and society changes. Although in the end, even when she does break free after her whole view changes, she ends up committing suicide because she sees that as the only escape from the darkness that has become her life.

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  3. In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper”. Juxtaposition is used to portray the different effects that the narrator’s relationship with her husband and the wallpaper have on her. The narrator isn’t aware of how her relationship with her husband opposes they way she describes him, “It is so hard to talk with John about my case, because he is so wise, and because he loves me so” (442). The narrator sees her husband as a loving and caring person but at the same time she says how it is difficult for her to talk to him, because she feels that he has more knowledge of her condition than she, herself does so she doesn’t even bother asking him for more help because she knows that he will not listen to her. John isn’t an understanding husband, which shows that their relationship isn’t like one a regular married couple would have because when a person loves another person, they are supposed to listen to their problems and their feelings. Not having someone that understands her deepens her depression.

    The narrator’s relationship with the wallpaper is similar to the one she has with her husband. She describes them one way but their relationship is different. She always describes the wallpaper as something horrible and ugly. When something is horrible you are expected to fear it but the narrator shows how she doesn’t actually fears the wallpaper, “The faint figure behind seemed to shake the pattern, just as if she wanted to get out. I got up softly and went to feel and see if the paper did move…”(442). When the narrator gets up to see what is happening to the paper it shows that she isn’t afraid of it, like she is of John, despite of the negative ways she had previously described the wallpaper. In a way this shows that she has a better relationship with the wallpaper than the one she has with her husband because at night, she doesn’t seek for John’s help, she approaches the wallpaper instead. She goes to the wallpaper because she can relate to it since she sees a woman trapped behind it and that is the way she feels due to John so in a way she is like the woman behind the wallpaper and this helps her understand and see deeper into herself about what she is feeling because she feels like there is someone that can listen to her and understand her.

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  4. In the short story, The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman exemplifies how depression is ignored and transformed into mixed feelings that ultimately result in a much deeper suffering through irony. The narrator it’s made out to believe that something is wrong with her, and is told that she suffers from some illness by her own husband John. As we come to find out John, manipulates the narrator and she, with her kindness and love that she has for John believes whatever he tells her. Throughout the beginning of the story, it is evident that the narrator wishes to speak, however something holds her back and this eats away at her because she has no one to talk to. The narrator says, “It is so hard to talk with John about my case, because he is so wise, and because he loves me so” (442). The irony of this quote and of the whole story is that, this is a marriage, and yet the relationship between John and the narrator is depressing by itself, its sad. As a husband, one would think John is reachable, yet “it is so hard to talk to John” suggests the loneliness for the narrator even when involved in an engagement. Furthermore the narrator blindly says “because he loves me so”, which hints at the fact that she doesn’t even realize the big scam she lives in, which then eventually leads to her eventual demise.

    As her relationship with the wallpaper increases, she find truth and enlightenment within the paper more than she ever did in John. However her inner truth is much different from the one portrayed to the outside world, the narrator says, “I’m feeling much better”, yet ironically enough she doesn’t talk or has any type of relationship with John. This not having of a relationship causes an enormous ditch for the narrator, a ditch where she falls into, depression. The wallpaper helps her accept her condition, but the life she lives in doesn’t allow her to break free and escape. Eventually this struggle catches up, as she says, “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” (446). The anguish of not being able to liberate herself, causes emotional distress, and sadly she begins to realize that the only way to escape most likely would be death. These “bars” are too strong, John is too strong. We can see the irony because she goes from “feeling better” too “desperate”. Gilman portrays this idea of depression through the use of irony, as a way to hint at the fact that we live trapped within ourselves, that we get accustomed to what society tells us; that when indeed we realize it’s wrong we fall into a struggle or worse depression. The narrator invites us to break free from whatever traps us, from the bars set upon by society and our own lives, and to also take control of our feelings because we might think we feel, realize then that the feeling was never there, which thus results in believing something is wrong. The only wrong we commit is when we listen to everything but ourselves.


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  5. Keira Atkins

    In “The Yellow Wallpaper”, Gilman uses irony and point of view to convince the reader the theme of being trapped in expressing how one feels. Gilman’s choice of words when expressing the protagonist relationship with her husband John, Gilman writes, “It is so hard to talk with John about my case, because he is so wise and because he loves me so. But I tried last night.” (Gilman pg. 442) This is an example of irony, because her character shows deep and passionate thoughts about her husband and says, ‘he loves me so’ but it contradict with her saying that it is hard to talk to him. The irony in this statement is how she is suppose to be so close and have this well built relationship with her husband yet she can’t even talk to him about how she feels. Another example irony of their relationship is when Gilman writes, “John does not know how much I really suffer. He knows there is no reason to suffer and that satisfies him.” (Gilman pg. 438) This clearly shows that John doesn’t care about how she feels, and even though she just stated how much she suffered, he doesn’t care and that he is happier thinking that there’s nothing wrong with her. Gilman also uses point of view to influence the readers that this woman is uncertain what is really happening to her and that she thinks that everything is wrong with her, but doesn’t know how to sway others of her imprisonment. Gilman writes, “I sometimes fancy that in my condition, if I had less opposition and more society and stimulus-but John says the very worse thing I can do is to think about my condition, and I confess it always make me feel bad.” (Gilman pg. 437) Her point of view of herself reveals how she isn’t confident about whom she is and that she lets John kind of control who she is and how she acts. Even though she thinks that she is wise and that she has a mind of her own, she undercuts herself by thinking if John would approve or is this something John would frown upon. It really shows how she thinks of herself.

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  6. In The Yellow Wallpaper, the author uses juxtaposition in order to represent her ideas regarding our control over our own lives.
    The juxtaposition of the woman’s relationships allow her to speak her true feelings about John without feeling as though she is betraying her husband. When the narrator says, “He thought I was asleep first, but I wasn’t, and lay there for hours trying to decide whether that front pattern and the back pattern really did move together or separately.” (139) it serves to show how she externalizes her feelings towards her husband onto the wallpaper and tries to identify whether the front pattern, the parts of her marriage that society sees, is in line with the back pattern which lives within her mind. This juxtaposition of the wallpaper and her marriage intensifies as she begins to shed her self doubt. As she starts to realize that they will soon be leaving the house to return to society, she takes her fate into her own hands. She declares, “That awful pattern began to laugh at me, I declared I would finish it today! We go away tomorrow, and they are moving all my furniture down again to leave things as they were before. Jennie looked at the wall in amazement, but I told her merrily that I did it out of pure spite at the vicious thing” (220). This quote demonstrates the juxtaposition of the narrator’s relationships because she find it within herself to find her own way to rid herself of both oppressors as shown through the words “I declared I would finish it today!”. She goes on to say, “they are moving all my furniture down again to leave things as they were before” this quote shows her animosity towards her husband because she does not want things to be as they were. She does not want to return to the world where she is facing constant oppression. By tearing down the wallpaper she also tears down John’s reign over her. She tells Jennie merrily that “[she] did it out of pure spite for the vicious thing”. Because John forced her to remain in the room with the appalling wallpaper that he very well knew she detested, her tearing of the paper also signifies her ripping their relationship to tatters.
    The juxtaposition of the narrator’s two relationship in The Yellow Wallpaper is used to emphasize to the reader the author’s ideas about controlling one’s own life. In the beginning she is afraid to even speak of the idea of crossing John, and externalizes all her fears onto the wallpaper. But at the end of the story, she vanquishes her self doubt and is relinquished from the hold of her depression when she wrenches the putrid paper from the walls and subsequently takes control, liberating herself from their holds.

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  7. Hi class. I'm seeing excellent comments here; I'm also seeing folks struggle with limiting their analysis to devices, which is quite reasonable. I'm going to open up the assignment a bit.

    To get an A, you need to complete the original assignment (a complex theme, and how device(s) convey it). To get a B, you need to enunciate a complex theme (or refer to one that has already been stated) and give a new quote/analysis to prove it, but it doesn't have to be using a particular device (or it can use it a little, but mostly be general analysis).

    Either way, you don't get credit for ideas that have already been stated on the thread, unless you add new dimensions to them.

    Hope this is helpful.

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  8. Dina Kharag

    Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story, “Yellow Wallpaper”, describes the main character’s want to break free from society by focusing on diction and repetition. However, with not knowing how to be able to do this, she then makes the decision to kill herself. It occurs in the beginning of the short story when the narrator is observing the wallpaper, “It is dull enough to confuse the eye in following, pronounced enough constantly to irritate and provoke study, and when you follow the lame uncertain curves for a little distance they suddenly commit suicide-plunge off at outrageous angles, destroy themselves in unheard-of contradictions" (Gilman, pg 438). With the wallpaper presenting itself as “dull enough to confuse the eye”, it represents society’s rules and people like her husband who follow them. Society’s power on her husband is so strong that it makes her husband think that her depression needs to be fixed. Even though the husband clearly has good intentions, the way he pounds on her to be a person like everyone else contradicts his kind intentions. This only causes her to be “irritated” by his morals. This irritation is shown repeatedly throughout the story whenever she goes to look at the yellow wallpaper. This is suppose to present her conflicted feelings on finding her self truth of wanting to follow her own morals. This results her to “provoke study” of society’s morals and tries to focus more on her morals. She starts this process by following “the lame uncertain curves” which is herself. The reason why they are “uncertain” is because she technically never tried to do anything without her husband’s support. Not knowing where to go results her depression to become worse because she knows she wants to define herself by not using society’s morals. The problem of not knowing how to define herself is then solved under her terms. She makes a huge effect to “suddenly commit suicide” as she felt proud that she guided herself to do this. She wanted to prove to her husband that her death was her choice, not society’s.

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  9. In the short story "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the author uses syntax as a device to demonstrate how other peoples ideas influences ones life creating an internal conflict that results in a state of depression. Gilman is able to show how important it is for one to follow what they believe without being influenced by another person or their ideas, such as she is by her husband John. His influence on her begins to affect her thought process, she feels insecure about what she is to do. For example, "There comes John, and I must put this away- he hates to have me write a word" (438). The break in between the sentence demonstrates the doubt that she has, she is not able to do what she feels is right; in other words she is not able to express herself in a way that she feels is right. She has to hold back who she is because of this constant fear that John has instilled in her mind. This has caused a lack of confidence caused by this fear and doubt of doing something wrong that goes against what others in society have enforced. She now only believes what she has been told to do is the only right thing, fearing the consequences. Gilman throughout the story constantly uses this type of sentence structure to demonstrate what occurs to those who do not follow or express themselves in a way that they feel confident about without a doubt or fear.

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  10. Agreeing and expanding on Dina's description of the authors use of diction, Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses vivid imagery in "The Yellow Wallpaper" to set a rich scene for the story. The Imagery used throughout the story foreshadows the inevitable madness of the narrator. The reader progresses along the narrators’ life where she is confronted with the intensity of her isolation through the pattern and smell of the sickly yellow wallpaper. The author influences the foreshadowing to a lack of freedom and isolation that often ends in despair with descriptive writing.
    When the narrator first details the house in which she is staying she describes it as "beautiful...quite alone, standing well back from the road, quite three miles from the village". While some readers may argue this description offers that of a peaceful enclosure, to the narrator, the location of the house itself seems to prefigure isolation and despair. The majority of the narrators time is spent in a nursery with "barred windows for little children" and wallpaper with "flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin...the color is repellent...a smoldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight. It is a dull yet lurid orange in some places, a sickly sulphur tint in others." The room itself feels to the young woman as a prison where she will be isolated from the world.
    Outside the bared windows the narrator see’s a garden with "a view of the bay and a little private wharf... a beautiful shaded lane that runs down there from the house." The descriptions given of the narrators’ scenery portray her living condition in that she is secluded in a hideous room with no freedom by the constraint of her husband.
    As the narrator continues to grow in isolation, her descriptions of the wallpaper ooze with livelier qualities, such as the "recurrent spot where the pattern lolls like a broken neck and two bulbous eyes stare at you upside down...up and down and sideways they crawl...those absurd unblinking eyes everywhere." From this descriptive imagery, a feeling of discomfort and eeriness may wash over the reader from the husbands constant
    Monitoring of the woman’s’ every movement much like that of a haunted house with peep-holes in the walls. As the young woman begins seeing shapes from behind the wallpaper her madness becomes more apparent, "sort of figure that seems to skulk about behind that silly and conspicuous front design." The narrator's isolation in her room is much like the figure behind the paper skulking about and trying to free herself.
    The narrators desperation to free herself from the restraints of her husband become more apparent from the authors use of description of her need to free the “creeping” woman from behind the wall. The imagery in this short story aids the movement the reader’s journey through the woman’s madness. The Diction of the house and the surrounding scenery propel the desperation and isolation of the young woman’s state and emphasize her confinement much like that of the woman she sees creeping around in the wallpaper.

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  11. In "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Gilman uses irony and syntax to convey how females are restricted through domestic ties. The main character describes her relationship with her husband, "It is so hard to talk with John about my case, because he is so wise, and because he loves me so” (442). This is highly sarcastic because in a relationship, especially in marriage, your partner is supposed to be there for you and support you in any way you need. She implies it is so hard for her to talk to him because 'he loves her so', but shouldn't it be easier for her to talk to him if he loved her? In addition she says, "I sometimes fancy that in my condition, if I had less opposition and more society and stimulus-but John says the very worse thing I can do is to think about my condition, and I confess it always make me feel bad" (437). This further implies the disconnect she feels with her husband and how her mood is greatly impacted by him. She want to go out and do things because she believes that is the right thing to do for her to get better. But John is opposed to that and he is even more opposed to her thinking about her mental state. By making her feel guilty for her feelings, it in turn also lowers her self esteem which makes her even more under John's power. The choice of the hyphen also shows how abrupt she is to stop her thinking about what is right for her, even in her journal John infiltrates her thoughts. in conclusion, Gilman's writing style portrays how even though relationships are supposed to be equal, females can feel a sense of confinement due to their partners thinking they know what's best. It's important to rely on yourself rather than others.

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  12. Through her short story, "The Yellow Wallpaper", Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses syntax and symbolism to illustrate how trapped the narrator, and women in general, feel within their society. John, the only male character throughout the story, has a strong influence over the narrator's life and thoughts. He has placed her into an asylum covered with bars and surrounded by a grotesque wallpaper. The bars serve as a symbol of the cage many women find themselves in. Towards the end of the story, the narrator is trying to escape - "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 to even try" (446). In a society where men are still deemed as inferior, many women struggle with trying to express themselves and find themselves trapped. Escaping isn't easy and it doesn't seem possible. Gilman writes, "Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change would do me good...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 opposition, and I confess it always makes me feel bad. So I will let it alone and talk about the house" (437). The narrator is not happy with her life and knows what she needs to do in order to change it. John's control over her has taken over everything in her life - including her thoughts. Gilman uses the hyphen to illustrate how John's ideas have so much control over the narrator. However, the narrator refuses to see how, rather than helping her heal, John is worsening her condition. Through this, Gilman illustrates the oppression women face within their society and how such oppression is mentally damaging.

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  13. "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" (436). From the start of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's short story "The Yellow Wallpaper", the narrator exhibits her self doubt by the device of repetition. The repetition of the word "perhaps" suggests that she is unsure of herself. Her husband provides her with remedies and actions that will supposedly heal her of depression but it sounds as if she does not believe it. She communicates to her diary, not even a close friend, revealing her self doubt. Even while sharing to the diary, she uses the word "perhaps" twice, surfacing her inability to express her true emotions. She holds all of her emotions inside. According to Cheri Huber's The Depression Book, allowing ones emotions to store inside will only make the state of depression worse. The narrator is in fact getting worse by hiding her emotions to herself, unable to release them, not even to her diary. Another device used to provoke meaning in "The Yellow Wallpaper" is diction. Gilman's word choice for John portrays that he is superior to his wife. He uses the term "little girl" and "you'll get cold" towards her which would sound appropriate if she were his daughter. Her not being his daughter makes his choice of words sound arrogant and disrespectful. As a woman, the narrator is capable of taking care of herself. John makes her depression even worse by not allowing her to express her feelings and making her feel as if she was hopeless.

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  14. I agree with Keira in her argument that irony and point of view illustrate the theme in which Charlotte Perkins Gilman is trying to convey in her short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper”. I believe Gilman uses point of view and irony to emphasize that one must follow their own feelings rather than allow others to dominate their choices and emotions. The short story is written in the first person, a perspective that allows the reader to gain a greater understanding of the control the narrator allows others to have upon her, mainly of her husband, John. “I don’t like our room a bit. I wanted one downstairs… But John would not hear of it.. He is careful and loving…” (Gilman 437). It is evident through this quote that Gilman uses both irony and point of view to exemplify the power in which John has upon the narrator. The narrator, though she does not realize it, exposes the reader to the control in which John has. As the narrator states, she wishes to move to a different room, however John does not allow her to do so… Through this control, John ceases the narrator’s ability to make choices for herself. Believing that John is loving and caring, the narrator is unable to see the domination that her husband holds over her life. As the novel progresses, Gilman continues to write in the first person, allowing the reader to gain a greater perspective on how the narrator is affected by John’s control. The reader watches as the narrator slowly unravels… trapped under the domination of John.

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  15. I agree with Keira and Olivia that irony and point of view convey Mrs. Gilmans goal in her story, "The Yellow Wallpaper". Because of the nature of a first person point of view, everything that is happening in the story is filtered through the eyes of the narrator. An atrocity may seem not so bad and the most plain thing can be made interesting and full of action. "It is so hard to talk to John about my case, because he is wise, and because he loves me so" (Gilman 442) Here we see that her husband isn't quite approachable. This may be because he is dismissive or brash, but the narrator gives a more ludicrous reason, "because he loves me so". When you truly love someone you should be able to express anything that is on your mind, and willing to listen to anything they have to say. The narrator feels unable to express herself, trapped. Controlled. Oppressed. She is forced to be in a room she doesn't like. Doing activities she doesn't like. Married to a person who, by all logic, she shouldn't like. The narrator is a prisoner within her own life. Eventually the narrator is just beating you over the head with irony. Showing that John is not someone she should be married to, but still acting like everything is fine.
    The first person view also allows for a better use of syntax. At first the short story flows together with long eloquent sentences. As the story progresses and the narrator begins to lose sight of reality and sanity the sentences become much. More. Choppy. And. Excited! Almost Fight Club esque. The shorter and more exclaimed the sentences are the more insane the narrator seems, "How those children did tear about here! This bedstead is fairly gnawed!" (Gilman 446) As her mental stability falls her almost hysteric tone shines through. Everything she writes is exclaimed and almost nonsensical. However this also shows that she has broken free form Johns control. With John she would feel the need to explain everything that she does, rationalize it. Show that what John is doing is actually very nice and loving. Now she just says things the way she sees them. She is unapologetic about her statements. The narrator escapes Johns oppressiveness, but by doing so she waltzes into a state of dementia.

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  16. In The Yellow Wallpaper Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses the literary device of irony to demonstrate that though accepting one’s emotions is a necessary step in recovering from depression, one must focus on the origin of the feelings, standing adamant while breaking down the doors to understand the distress within. In the case of The Yellow Wallpaper, the main protagonist gradually and eventually veers towards the acceptance and influence of her feelings, but her sense of reality is consumed and surrendered in her inability to confront the source of her emotions, in the end blindly following their temptations until reaching the point of insanity. For example, in the final moments of the short story, the narrator locks herself in the bedroom in what seems to be a nervous breakdown. As John, the husband, attempts to smash in, she exclaims, “It would be a shame to break down that beautiful door” (446). The door stands as a symbol for the narrator’s mental state of depression and wellbeing. As the narrator encloses herself in the bedroom, she is actually afraid of “breaking” herself “beautiful” self “down” and discovering who her personal worth as an individual in society. Her comment in this scene displays irony as her refrain from breaking down the door to her heart blocks her only route to recovery. Also literally speaking, the opening of the door in this scene will also allow her to face John, who stands as the oppressor and a root of anguish in her life. The narrator’s fear of accepting reality and searching for the solution to her problems contributes to her capitulation in following the peculiar obsession with the wallpaper she has developed, and eventually leading to her mental instability and ultimate demise. Gilman uses this account to demonstrate that though the narrator acknowledged and followed her emotions during a period of depression, her failure to realistically confront the source of her distress, or John, leads to her loss of sensibility or realism, bringing her closer to the point of submission and leading to an unfortunate death.

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  17. In “The Yellow Wallpaper”, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, it is shown using point of view that though it is important to listen to others when it comes to finding ways to help with depression, it is necessary to analyze your depression on your own. However, such isolation, especially in certain conditions, can cause some people to fully isolate themselves and ignore those that are close, forcing them to believe that they are the only ones who are able to understand their situation. In this story, the main character’s condition causes them to believe that they’re loved one, John, is a controlling person. As a result of her point of view, we believe that her life is being controlled by John, which it very well may be, yet because she is mentally unstable, her recollection of what happens is not as trustworthy as perhaps John’s point of view, thus showing that John could really be doing everything in his power to help her. Throughout the story we slowly see her descent into madness which is not only shown in her use of language and description, but also her growing disconnection from John: “I have found out another thing, but I shan’t tell it this time! It does not do to trust people too much. There are only two more days to get this paper off, and I believe John is beginning to notice. I don’t like the look in his eyes” (Gilman 445). This not only shows her growing disconnection from John but her growing distrust in him, which is seen, by many people, as a symbol of her growth and independence. But she’s really just...crazy, because of her condition her increase in isolation and disconnection is becoming unhealthy and causing her to hallucinate and be more comfortable with her sense of sanity. This change in comfortness is shown through the wallpaper itself, where in the beginning she sees the wallpaper and pattern as horrendous and out of order, and then she later began loving the wallpaper and said that she was healing as a result of the wallpaper. The wallpaper is a symbol that represent her mind, thus showing that her reaction to the wallpaper is similar to her reaction to herself. This all shows that though it is important to seek help from others for depression, it is necessary to go deeper into your depression on your own. Though some time alone is a fundamental human need, in some cases, such as this character’s, too much isolation can cause disconnections from those you love.

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  18. In the short story the Yellow Wallpaper, the author utilizes irony to emphasize how condescending actions lead to an internalized inferiority within the victim, driving their depression into a deeper state of misery. During this period of time, depression wasn't taken seriously, nor was it considered an actual “disease”. John, the protagonist's husband, dismisses the wife's depression and sees it as a temporary thing. However, the protagonist is in a deep state of misery, and seeks help from her husband. As John refuses to accept her depression as a legitimate issue that should be confronted and dealt with, the protagonist replies: “'Better in body perhaps-' I began, and stopped short, for he sat up straight. . . Can you trust me as a physician when I tell you so?'” (Gilman 442). John's role as a physician is to diagnose and help the protagonist endure her depression. He acts patronizingly instead, with his demeaning attitude when he “looked at [her] with such a stern, reproachful look that [she] could not say another world”. Though John promises the protagonist that he loves her, John clearly does not demonstrate so. Ironic that he's her husband, it his in his interest to serve and take care of his wife, but his role as a physician makes him think that he's superior to her. This is proven when he asks her, “can [she] trust [him] as a physician when [he] tells [her] so?”. John believe that his occupation as a physician grants him the dominance over his wife, which results in the protagonist falling into deeper misery because the only person that she's capable of expressing her feelings to doesn't accept the fact that she is in a heavy state of depression. Thus, John's condescending attitude towards the protagonist forces her into a deeper state of depression because John attempts to impose a “dominance” over her that leads to an internalized inferiority within the protagonist.

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  19. In The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, juxtaposition is used numerous times. It gets used in order to portray how people get controlled by their loved ones and do not realize it. For example, the main character in the short story is talking about how she and her husband were picking a room and she picked one, but the husband ignored her decision and, "said there was only one window and not room for two beds, and no near room for him if he took another" (Gilman 437).later, on the same page, she says, "He is careful and loving, and hardly lets me stir without special direction" (Gilman 437). The first quote shows how he doesn't really care for her as much. He doesn't let her pick, even though she is "sick", and he needs a room in case he moves out. Why would a husband need to move rooms? Why do they need two beds if couples usually sleep together? All these factors demonstrate how John is not really caring for her. But, she doesn't realize that, because she still calls him "careful and loving". She still thinks that r husband is caring for her and everything he does is for her good. She cannot comprehend that John doesn’t really admire her and only cares for himself. If he was caring for her, he would listen and let her pick the room, but here, he controls her choices and gets what he wants. This kind of sentence placement, or juxtaposition, demonstrates the theme of being over attached to your loved ones, that you do not notice that he/ she is controlling you and the negative in him or her. This can apply to daily life, where people are so in love with someone or something, they forget where they are and do not notice that they are being controlled and there are a lot of wrongs with their loved ones or things.

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  20. Fedor's post is very closely related to my thesis, so I agree with his argument. In Charlotte Gilman’s short novel, The Yellow Wallpaper, irony is used to display the importance of acknowledging oneself, however one can mislead their feelings if unaware of what causes the effects on oneself. For example, the author writes, “It is hard to talk with John about my case, because he is so wise, and he loves me so.” (Gilman, 442) Irony is shown when she complains about John, yet her reasoning for it is of positive connotations. She has acknowledged that she struggles with communicating about her case, so she realizes something of herself. However, John has done more to cause her difficulty with communicating with him. Her not being aware of the true reason for her feelings leads her to being vulnerable with him being ‘wise’ and ‘loving’ and leaving herself vulnerable to further ridicule and him condescending her. In addition, Gilman writes, “It is getting to be a great effort for me to think straight. Just this nervous weakness, I suppose.” (441) This is ironic because she is clearly affected by John and the power that he has over her. Since she doesn’t assume the worst of John, she is immediately criticizing herself and her own weakness. Although the weakness may be true, it shows that she doesn’t understand how John affects her and because of this, she is looking down on herself. This is one reason why her not understanding what John does to her feelings leaves her vulnerable to more discomfort.

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  21. In Charlotte Perkins Gilman's short story, "The Yellow Wallpaper," the protagonist's diction changes throughout the story which influences the changes she feels inside. As she goes deeper and deeper into her feelings, she figures more out about herself. She notices many things that she hasn't before. She says, "There is one marked peculiarity about this paper, a thing nobody seems to notice but myself." (443). As she starts to build a realization about herself, she talks more about herself. She uses 'but myself' because she wants to be the one to figure out what she is thinking, feeling, and seeing. She wants to be able to realize something on her own without the influence and input of others. She's also very determined that she makes the most of what she sees and feels rather than what others tell her to see and feel. This is a very important message that the authors conveys because without the ability to determine what we are truly feeling and how we feel about our thoughts, we will go crazy. She says, "If those heads were covered or taken off it would not be half so bad. I think that woman gets out in the daytime! And I'll tell you why - privately - I've seen her!" (444). The author chooses creepy and mysterious words to convey the message that the protagonist has gone mad. She has not been able to discover her true self and who she is outside of her marriage to John and her life in the asylum. She is not able to grasp that piece of light in her life which drives her insane and she sees herself in the wallpaper as a way to project who she wants to see in herself. This is a good and also bad point in her life because she is, in a way, able to see who she truly is. Although, this quite insane because she has gone mad. Therefore, there is always going to be a part of you that you want to project into the world but there's always that part of you that keeps you sane and from showing who you truly are. The most successful people are those who project themselves to the world without going insane. Like the protagonist, she dug deep into her feelings, but she was not able to keep herself from going mad.

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  22. In the Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the author uses both imagery and syntax to warn the readers that although it is necessary to have boundaries and order in life, complete suppression can lead to insanity. Throughout the short story, the main character is both physically and mentally suppressed. She is not allowed to walk about the house and is confined to her bed for long periods of time.

    Gilman uses the imagery of the wallpapers’ pattern to indicate the complexity of the main characters’ mind. “The front patter does move- no wonder! The woman behind shakes it! ... 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;” (Gilman 444) In this passage, the main character is acknowledging her predicament and is aware of being trapped. However, because she is not in the right state of mind, she is not completely aware of it. Instead, she projects her emotions and problems onto the wall. The “women behind” the pattern represents her physical body being trapped and confined to her room. The “bars” of the pattern that the women shakes represents the barred windows. She describes the women as “all the time trying to climb through” meaning she has tried to escape before. However she now knows it’s useless for she then follows up with “nobody could climb though that pattern it strangles so.”

    Gilman uses syntax to show how much John has an effect on the main characters’ mind. “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.” (Gilman 437) Throughout the story, it is understood that the reader is reading her words through her the main characters’ own personal diary. In it, she is able to write down everything and anything she wants to say because no one knows about it. However, we see in this passage that although she has the power to write anything she wants, John still manages to suppress her in her thoughts. Gilman uses the hyphen to add extra emphasis on the abrupt change of thinking. Halfway through her thought process, she cuts herself off and states what John says. This shows that John has such a strong influence on the main character; he is able to dictate her way of thinking without physically being there.

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  23. In her short story The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses structure to show the theme of how internalizing other’s opinions on yourself leads to feeling invalidated, which is highly damaging to mental health. In the beginning she has very low faith in her own opinions. She says, “I don’t like our room a bit. I wanted one downstairs that opened into the piazza and had roses all over the window, and such old-fashioned chintz hangings! But John would not hear of it.” (Gilman 437). This goes to show two things. First off it proves that near the beginning of the story she is still capable of being excited about things, indicating that she begins in a more healthy state of mind than the end when she hallucinates, showing the gradient of her state of mind. More importantly though is the way she dismisses the idea. The short, decisive way that her husband’s opinion is stated shows that she takes his word as law when clearly her desires are different. She does not refute this invalidation of her desires at all, indicating that on at least some level she does not believe she is worthy of having them. This constant state of worthlessness was instrumental to her later insanity because she had to find value where she could, and this ended up being in watching the woman creep.

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  24. In The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Gilman, the author exercises juxtaposition through her use of syntax to show the disconnection we have with ourselves, if not treated with compassion and care either by themselves or by others. Gilman writes, “You see, he doesn’t believe I am sick! And what can one do?” (436) Gilman uses exclamation points many, many times throughout her story, yet in NONE of these times, they are never used in the way most commonly known to readers. Instead her exclamation points are juxtaposed to the usual expressions of happiness or excitement. Here, the main character exclaims, ‘he doesn’t believe I am sick.’ This exclamation is not of happiness, but the lack of, she feels uncared and unheard. Her husband doesn’t listen to her and doesn’t feel she is what she thinks she feels about herself. This makes her uncertain and doubtful towards herself, as she says, ‘..and what can one do?’ Her uncertainty, made through John’s actions, make her doubt the way she feels, causing a distance between herself and her inner self. The author uses this juxtaposition with her syntax with a different character and writes, “I verily believe she thinks it is the writing which made me sick!” (439) Once again this is not a claim of excitement or joy, but instead one of indignance to the thought of writing could make someone sick. Juxtaposed to the common use of this type of punctuation, the author tries to emphasize the importance of staying in tune with oneself. If your thoughts pretend to show extreme feeling then it should reflect so with punctuation, and not try to take on another feeling; as her feelings do in this case. The protagonist uses the ways of excitement, yet speaks of sadness. Her uncaringness for truly expressing her own feelings creates a bigger rift within herself, which eventually leads to the characters demise. Through the use of juxtaposition and syntax, the author expresses her feelings on the way we should treat ourselves in order to succeed in life, otherwise meet the same fate as those who aren't able to.

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  25. I had a majority of this done and then my computer shut down and I lost all my work. Here's try number two with a blank slate, hopefully I can remember the idea that I had:


    In “Yellow Wallpaper”, author Charlotte Perkins Gillman uses the image of yellow wallpaper to argue that when the human need of self-understanding is neglected, humans project their feelings upon physical objects in an attempt to find the meaning of their feelings.

    The narrator has nobody to talk with about her depression because her husband suppresses her freedom to leave the house, so she uses the yellow wallpaper as a canvas on which she can splatter her raw emotion and obtain a better understanding of herself. The author shows the reader how the wallpaper embodies the narrator’s feelings through imagery. She writes, “The color is repellant, almost revolting: a smouldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight” (438). The dirty, unwanted image that the narrator evokes in describing the wallpaper not only shows that she is projecting her depression on a physical object, but that she sees depression as something that is wrong. Imagery is again used to show how the narrator projects her depression when the author writes, “You think you have mastered it, but just as you get well under way in following, it turns a back-somersault and there you are. It slaps you in the face, knocks you down, and tramples upon you” (442). Out of context, one could easily be led to believe that the narrator is describing depression itself, rather than yellow wallpaper. It should be noted that the narrator’s imagery when describing the wallpaper has gone from “feeling words” such as repellant, revolting, and unclean, to a more formulated view of what depression is. This change in image description is important because it shows that the wallpaper is helping her develop an understanding of her depression.

    As the story moves forward, the narrator’s depression worsens, and she feels increasingly trapped in her depression. This is projected onto the wallpaper, and because her state of neglect has been intensified, her push to find meaning in the projections becomes obsessive. Gillman again uses imagery to prove her argument when she writes, “It creeps all over the house” (444). She has become so obsessed with cracking the code of her depression through the projection on the wall that it is consuming her life.

    Finally, the narrator is able to “solve” her depression through the image of the wallpaper, but doesn’t realize her accomplishment. In the wallpaper, she sees her depression as it truly is: a result of being locked up and suppressed by society for so long. But what she fails to do, and what ultimately drives her insane, is that she cannot connect the projected image of the woman locked inside the wallpaper to herself.

    Thus, the misadventures of the narrator allow the reader to see how humans look for self-understanding in physical objects when they can’t get it from anywhere else.

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  26. In the short story, Yellow Wallpaper, by author Charlotte Perkins Gilman, she emphasizes usages of phrases and words to achieve the effects of juxtaposition. She embraces the meaning of juxtaposition by expressing her emotions and empathy towards the wallpaper in relation towards John. "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." (Gilman 442). This part of the quote conveys how Gilman is incorporating series of inconsistencies in her mind of how she's expressing her emotions indirectly towards John. She uses the phrase of "defiance of law" to accentuate how John isn't an orderly person and how he represents an unethical individual. A law is usually a principle that signifies an orderly manner within society, but the narrator uses the description of "law" to insinuate how John doesn't represent that "orderly manner." This exudes how the juxtaposition with the details of the wallpaper,renders her with distrusting feelings towards John. To draw more insight on how the narrator juxtaposes phrases towards John,she says, "The color is hideous enough, and unreliable enough, and infuriating enough, but the pattern is torturing." (Gilman 442). As apparent to how the wall is suppose to agitate and disgust her own self being , she juxtaposes those several phrases and releases those feelings towards John. This quote displays several words such as "hideous," "unreliable," and "infuriating" to highlight the feelings she wants to exude towards John. She begins to "torture" herself to come to a conclusion that John isn't a husband that she can rely on and particularly, it "infuriates" her knowing that her husband is isolating herself within the wall that she curiously disdains. This overall indicates how juxtaposition of how the narrators feelings of the wall, concludes to how she mirrors those engaging feelings she's developed to her own husband.
    Realistically, concluding that the person she is suppose to love is actually just undermining her as the narrator is sheltering her feelings of her husband as she mirrors those feelings towards him.As a result, Gilman's perception of the narrator's emotions are strongly emphasized as she is using certain terms and phrases to ridicule how John is in her own worldly society.

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  27. The book “Yellow Wallpaper reveals a few patterns which help reveal the theme. Jane keeps on saying that she is in a normal relationship and lives a normal life. “It is very seldom that mere ordinary people like John and myself secure ancestral halls for the summer (pg 436)”. Jane keeps on saying that either she is normal or that nothing is wrong with her relationship with her husband. This pattern of lying to herself about her situation is a way the author shows the reader the theme of the book. How someone can be manipulated because they are so blind with loyalty and passion for a person who doesn’t or no longer reciprocates the same feelings. It makes the reader feel sorry for Jane’s sour disposition. A reader might think how she could get into such a state of mind or how John could be getting away with this. “It is so hard to talk with John about my case, because he is so wise, and because he loves me so (pg 442)”.
    (Just a thought)
    This novel is said to also be a part of a bigger pattern that has changed the American society. It follows a chain of other books like Uncle Tom’s cabin or On Liberty. How books with such impact on society then and now, they create characters that an everyday person can relate to which creates a strong bond with them.

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