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April 16, 2007

The Wall-Paper (Or Wall Paper, or Wallpaper or what it is) - it is MINE!

Feldstein, ''Reader, Text, and Ambiguous Referentiality in 'The Yellow Wallpaper''' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

"Critics generally agree that the narrator's condition deteriorates after she stops writing in her journal and becomes obsessed with the wall-paper. After the narrator substitues a fixation with the wall-paper for her previous interests, she becomes protective toward the paper and the fantasized double(s) who inhabit it, eventually going so far as to threaten that 'no person touches this paper but me, - not alive'" (403).

First of all, I thought one of the debates of literary critics was whether or not she did actually cease writing, or if she was ever writing at all and even if the narrator is in fact the protagonist in the story or perhaps instead Gilman herself? But, assuming that the woman is writing, and that she does in fact stop and perhaps the text transforms from her writing to just us being privy to her thoughts through whatever means, I think this is a very valid assertion and something that I didn't ever think to focus on before. She really does seem to become strangely possessive of the wallpaper, as if she is attempting to control it because she feel so out of control in every other way and she is stuck on bed rest all the time. I would probably do some really odd things too, (to me idleness really is the world's greatest evil...don't tell Hamlet!) and regardless of whether or not you think the woman is losing it because of the patriarchy that she is a victim of either directly or indirectly (and she is really losing it directly as a result of her "cure") I think this observation is an important one to make because it really shows how the wall-paper becomes a sign signifying her mental deterioration, or something like that. I don't know, but it sounds good.

Posted by LorinSchumacher at April 16, 2007 11:38 PM

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