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April 23, 2007

Oh no, not journalism again!

Dock, '''But One Expects That': Charlotte Perkins Gilman's 'The Yellow Wallpaper' and the Shifting Light of Scholarship'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

"Since her story seems designed to criticize common medical practices towards women and the mentally ill, Gilman may have anticipated an angry response from offended doctors and husbands and seen only what she expected to see when she read the letter" (479).

I was so outraged as I read this article. How could people be so careless in the way they reprint versions of the story? I had no idea how different the versions were. It really makes a huge difference. And when critics and biographers be so inaccurate in their information? Doesn't anyone have any pride in the work they do? Why can people be more honest? GRRRR! And since people often look at "The Yellow Wallpaper" as somewhat autobiographical for Gilman, why on earth would critics trust what she wrote and said in her own biography and what she said about her work's publication? Obviously she was losing it somewhat and she even seemed to know it.

Anyway, the above quotation reminded me of good old news writing, EL227 freshman year. What was that book we read? About statistics being misconstrued in the media, like when they talk about the number of rapes going up, but really there are just more rapes being reported, so it is actually a good thing. Gilman could have easily had an idea already preconceived in her mind, so she wrote to portray that idea regardless of how accurate it really was. People do this all the time, and I know I am just as guilty even though I can't see it...because I can't see it. I think everyone does, but they don't mean to, as Gilman didn't necessarily do it on purpose. But, we still must realize that we can't just take her word for everything. We have to investigate, as Dave points out using the quotation on his blog. "'The Yellow Wallpaper' indicates what happens when critics stop looking for evidence after they find 'facts' that validate their interpretations" (478). We can never stop asking questions in order to be accurate.

Posted by LorinSchumacher at April 23, 2007 1:53 AM


I was really bogged down and frustrurated by this article at first and after reading your blog, I have so much more respect as to what these critics were explaining. If we didn't ask questions, we would still be cavewomen, I think :)

Posted by: Erin at April 23, 2007 10:01 PM

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