Term Paper Presubmission Report

The Separation of a Condemned Reality: Mind and Soul

1) Thesis paragraph:


  • Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper presents issues of insanity, masculinity, and religion. A critical reader may question how the narrator's sickness overtakes her, but when using psychological and post-structural criticism we can study what causes the psyche to perform with madness. On one hand, the wallpaper causes distress and displays extraterrestrial life; however, the narrator searches for an escape route, but fear and a two-sided reality interrupt.

1A) A supporting paragraph:


  • An underlying cause to the narrator’s sickness is the wallpaper and how it responds to her. Suess stated that there “are two conditions for full responsibility of the subject: social similitude and personal identity” (83). These common literary themes are seen in the narrator because she uses the wallpaper as a means for self-preservation. Since John is constantly on the move, his wife must use the wallpaper as a pivotal object in her life. The wallpaper not only gives her something to think about, but it allows her to view herself with some freedom.

2A) Quotations that support your thesis (from the text):


  • "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" (Gilman 531).

  • "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 535).


2B) Quotations that refute your thesis (from the text):


  • "The most beautiful place! It is quite alone, standing well back from the road, quite three miles from the village" (Gilman 531).

  • "Hurrah! This is the last day, but it is enough. John to stay in town over night, and won't be out until this evening" (Gilman 537).

3A) Quotations that support your thesis (from academic articles):

  • "Similarly, evoking the Foucaultian perspective, John S. Bak sees the narrator as almost literally bound and gagged by what he calls the oppressive structures of “her male-imposed shackles, he Panopticon'" (Suess 80).
  • "However, because the perceiving self can never achieve identity with its specular image—its ego-ideal, as Lacan calls it—its desire will always pursue a phantasy" (King 26).

3B) Quotations that refute your thesis (from academic articles):

  • "Early feminist readings provided a valuable corrective to this tendency to enclose the heroine’s problem within her own abnormal psychological state" (King 24).
  • "However, some, including Hume and King and Morris also fault the narrator for her illness, seeing her not as disobedient but submissive to the demands of her doctor/husband" (Suess 87).

4) A Preliminary conclusion:

  • Overall, as a literary critic and reader, this text shows the need for critical review and study by means of psychological and post-structural criticism. The narrator in The Yellow Wallpaper presents psychological issues that are derived from Gilman’s intent and the literary structure. John, that narrator’s husband, presents the text with a medical background that introduces and instructs how the narrator’s consciousness will work through his informed decisions. This short story makes the reader question their own perception of the text through a two-sided reality that the narrator displays.

5) MLA-style Works Cited list:

Derrida, Jacques. “Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences.” for Criticism. Ed. Donald Keesey. New York: McGraw, 2003. 353-63.

Gilbert, Sandra M., and Susan Gubar. “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Contexts for Criticism. Ed. Donald Keesey. New York: McGraw, 2003. 259-263.

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. The Yellow Wallpaper. Contexts for Criticism. Ed. Donald Keesey. New York: McGraw, 2003. 531-538.

King, Jeannette, and Pam Morris. “ON NOT READING BETWEEN THE LINES: MODELS OF READING IN ‘THE YELLOW WALLPAPER.’” Studies in Short Fiction 26.1 (Winter89 1989): 22. Academic Search Elite. Seton Hill University, Greensburg, Pa. 13 Apr. 2009 .

Suess, Barbara A. “The Writing's on the Wall” Symbolic Orders in ‘The Yellow Wallpaper.’” Women's Studies 32.1 (Jan. 2003): 79. Academic Search Elite. Seton Hill University, Greensburg, Pa. 13 Apr. 2009 .

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This page contains a single entry by Derek Tickle published on April 13, 2009 6:49 PM.

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