The Purpose of Research

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I am researching "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman because I have already read this story and am very interested in it.

My first article is called "Marking her Territory: Feline Behavior in 'The Yellow Wall-Paper'" and it was written in 2007.  I found thsi article extremely intesting because it linked Gilman's love for cats into the the story's heroine.  The thesis is "Gilman's use of feline imagery to portray the narrator makes a valuable framework for understanding the feminist politics of her story."  I found this quote to be informational: 

"Gilman's advocacy of euthanasia, which placed her at the forefront of the humane movement, reveals her desire to spare animals a painful death and was quite progressive at the time even though today, in light of the no-kill movement, Gilman might be seen as unsympathetic toward animals, which was certainly not the case" (Golden). 

Earlier in the article the author explains Gilmans attempts throughout her life to put cats to death.  At first this idea was appalling because not only do I love cats and have 4 of my own, but putting animals to death is a big problem.  After reading further I learned that Gilman does this out of sympathy.  She wants cats to be put out of their misery if they are ill or dying.  This shows how much she really cares about cats, and by her relating her character to a cat, she must really care for her character.

Golden, Catherine J. "Marking her territory: feline behavior in 'The Yellow Wall-Paper'." American Literary Realism 40.1 (2007): 16+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 25 Oct. 2010.



My second article is called "The Yellow Wallpaper and Joseph Henry Hatfield's original magazine illustrations", written in 2005, and by the same author as the previous article.  I am struggling to identify the thesis for some reason, but the article is mainly getting at the fact that this story is a feminist text.  The incoorporation of the illustrations in the essay is throwing me off.  

I found this quote to bring forth a question:

"The Yellow Wall-Paper" projects mental derangement onto a middle-class wife and mother. Conventional Victorian ideology aligns hysteria with the female gender, but Gilman places the source of madness in the sacrosanct sphere for dutiful women" (Golden). 

This quotation raises many questions.  Why might Gilman choose to create mental problems within women?  Why would she choose wives and mothers in particular? Why does she often give mental illness to women who seem to lead a perfectly normal life?  A possible answer to this question could be that Gilman wants to show that many things are influential and detrimental (men could be one of those things because feminism is a theme in her works) and that they could turn a perfectly healthy woman ill.

Golden, Catherine. "'The Yellow Wall-Paper' and Joseph Henry Hatfield's original magazine illustrations." ANQ 18.2 (2005): 53+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 25 Oct. 2010.



My third article titled "Gilman's Arabesque Wallpaper" is written by Marty Roth.  While this article was written in 2001 and is not considered to be recent enough, I still chose to use it because I find it really informational.  The paper is devoted to uncovering all of the elements of the arabesque aka Oriental art in this story.  I just did a research paper on Poe where one of my articles went into great detail with Oriental art so I am somewhat familiar with this.  I found this quote to evoke an interesting idea:

"In the course of the tale, the wallpaper is transformed from a two- to a three-dimensional form: the figure of a creeping woman emerges from behind the florid arabesque" (Roth).

This quotation brings up the idea that the wallpaper is actually a lot more than just imagery.  It is as though the wallpaper is a functioning character because of the conflict it causes to the characters. 


Roth, Marty. "Gilman's Arabesque Wallpaper." Mosaic [Winnipeg] 34.4 (2001): 145+. Literature Resource Center. Web. 25 Oct. 2010.
There are many purposes of academic research.  One purpose is to make your claims more debatable.  You can find a critic that you can argue with or against, which proves that your claim is argumentative.  Academic research can be used to support you ideas or raise new ones as well. Academic articles are much better than using something like sparknotes because sparknotes typically states the obvious.  One cannot make a debatable claim through ideas that are common and typically what one should take away from reading a story or book.  Personally, I don't enjoy the process of researching and reading lenthy articles to sometimes only find small amounts of usable info, but I enjoy coming across the really important articles loaded with information.  These articles are great for papers because they can be used to argue or even bring up a new point and run with it.  Research in your paper makes it seem really educational, well-planned, and though out.  I also really enjoy learning new things within articles, even if the info isn't all that related to my topic. 


1 Comment

Yes, it is always most rewarding to find a nice, meaty article, but for thise articles that aren't that much on topic, sometimes raiding the author's Works Cuted list is more valuable than any particular quote.

ANQ specializes in very short articles, as does The Explicator. I would not rely too much on those very short articles, because they use few sources and are often "things that make you go, 'huh!'" but otherwise aren't all that involving. (That may be why you couldn't pinpoint the thesis.).

Good work, Stefanie.

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This page contains a single entry by StefanieWiegand published on October 25, 2010 7:27 PM.

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