November 02, 2004

Thoughts on "The Yellow Wall-paper"

I'm not really sure about my feelings towards this story. I thought "The Yellow Wall-paper" was going to be a sort of mystery; at the beginning, it reminded me of "An Occurance at Owl Creek Bridge"; I kept expecting there to be a big twist and a surpirse ending- she lost her baby in childbirth, but believes the baby to still be alive, or she has really died and is haunting the house. I don't know, I was looking for a little bit more romanticism. The ending wasn't all that bad, but a little disappointing.

I searched for some information on this story, hoping it would clear some things up and here are some good sites.

A Guide to Research Materials:
Charlotte Perkins Gilman
-This is an essay that breaks down the story and simplifies things. I really enjoyed reading the writer's view; through this person's eyes, I was able to get a clearer picture.

About Charlotte Perkins Gilman-This is a short biography on Gilman, the author of "The Yellow Wall-paper." I can now see the inspiration for this story.

"The Yellow Wall-Paper": A Twist on Conventional Symbols
by Liselle Sant
-This takes on the use and importance of symbolism within the tale. May not be a huge help to understanding, but still an interesting read.

From my little bit a research, here's my view on the story: this woman is so repressed and sheltered, she's forced to use her imagination to keep her sanity; ironically, her mind and imagination fail her and she ends up losing her mind, anyway. I understand what is going on up until she's ripping the wallpaper down. Was she hoping to discover the woman? To set the woman free? To free herself? As I was reading it, all these ideas floated through my head (hey, I thought they made sense), but then the husband came in and fainted. From what? Did she look so crazy that he was scared? Hmmm...just some of my random thoughts. Maybe someone can clear things up in class.

Posted by KatherineLambert at November 2, 2004 02:37 PM


I really liked how in depth you went with your research on "The Yellow Wall-Paper." I really liked reading it because it helped for me to piece together details that were still questions of mine.

I also found in reading the story that I had the same questions come up when reading the text. I believe that was the purpose of the story. It is technically just how you read into the context. I believe that I lean more towards her freeing the women from the wall-paper that was essentially herself. However, I also feel that my opinion is a little altered because of my psychology background and the releasing of the inner self. But, I also questioned why the husband fainted as well and could not truly piece together enough information to explain that happening.

I know that you have several questions about how it ended, but is there one specific ending that you might be feeling a little stronger towards? I really enjoyed reading your entry and would love to here your response to this question!


Posted by: Melissa Hagg at November 3, 2004 10:24 AM


I liked your link about the biography of Gilman. It provided me with more insight of just what kind of woman she was and what her goals and ambitions in life were. You can check out my blog and I have two links about Gilman and how tough life was for her. It was interesting how Gilman's story reflected on her life. I didn't read about Gilman's biography first, but after I read the story and went back to her biography, then I understood and it was more clearer to me. What are your thoughts about John's actions toward his wife? I thought it was acceptable behavior just because it was taken place in the late 1800's. Nowadays, this behavior is not acceptable, but back then it was. What do you think led the woman to be depressed? Was it John's behavior or the yellow wallpaper? I thought both contributed to her illness.

-Nabila :)

Posted by: NabilaUddin at November 3, 2004 06:19 PM

After our class discussion, things are a lot clearer, but now my mind has been introduced to so many other "answers." We know that this story was a response to Gilman's own life and treatment, but as for the actual story, I feel that the woman in the story was so confined and confused that her only outlet was the release the other women in the wallpaper.
In her mind, she saw their imprisonment and released them to experience the freedom should would never have. I believe she really was sick (in the mind) and the yellow wall-paper was only an attribute to sickness; the wall-paper was not the cause of her insanity, but a trigger that enhanced her pain and caused the thoughts and feelings in her mind to take shape in the outside world.
Thanks for your comment and I hope you enjoyed my answer!!


Posted by: Katie Lambert at November 4, 2004 02:39 PM

Like I said to Melissa, I don't believe the wall-paper was the cause of her depression/illness, but it just enhanced it. She apparently was sick before (whether physically or mentally), but her confinement combined with the obsession the wall-paper forced her mind to open to the world.
She was locked away, both in her mind and literally, and she would never be free. She saw the women in the paper as an oppurtunity to live; by setting them free (even if they were not real) she herself could be free. The women trapped in the wall-paper were a representation of herself and she could only free them and taste their freedom and not her own.


Posted by: Katie Lambert at November 4, 2004 02:44 PM
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