January 17, 2004

A Yellowed Paper

Television, reading, sipping a hot brew, and even sleeping, get old. The only thing left is to obsess about the crumb on the floor, the chipped paint, and the wallpaper. The number of pink stripes. The blue flowers in my wallpaper. Thank God it is not ugly. I have spent too much time in bed. "The Yellow Wallpaper" woman's situation is one that I have discovered in my own sicknesses (I am not sick now, nor have I ever been for long...how much worse her condition must have been).

Though I have not reached the depths of depression as post-partum mommy in the short story, I can commiserate with her state. Sometimes my mind wanders and I don't really know if it is I or someone else speaking. I know this probably isn't a kosher thing to talk about on my blog, but I truly understand the woman's progress. Something happens, however, that enables most people to let it go.

She did not. She grabbed at IT with her teeth and hands--and ripped. Was "IT" the paper or sanity? I cannot differentiate the two. Neither could she.

Though many interpretations of the ending exist, I take the story at face value. I do not want to say it is the only answer, because, as most of us freshmen learned at the reading discussion of The Secret Life of Bees, picking one answer is not the best way to promote thought (Thank you Puff, was that you--for that wonderful lesson).

She was tearing down the paper, and her husband, awestruck and revolted, faints. No one dies, though a hanging is implied through metaphors, such as, " But I am securely fastened now by my well hidden rope" (15). Then I think, she may die. As Karissa said, however, "Short stories are to have life before and after the story ends." But then I thought, couldn't she die and the story go on with her husband and other minor characters as survivors?

Hmm. As one can notice from my changed position four times in the last paragraph, I have not made up my mind yet.

Whether she dies really does not matter. At least that is what I keep telling myself (maybe this is a test of our own sanity as readers--the question of character mortality in a story that could go either way is enough to spark a flame of debate and inner conflict, comparable to a fungal paper).

The IMPORTANT thing to remember is that this story not only documents a slow slip into madness, but that in some measure, we all have the possiblility of reaching her level--but something stops us from scratching down the wallpaper. Is it activity that stops us from imploding? Is it us or our surroundings that make us sick...or something else?

I will stop the pshycoanalytical babble now, because I am generalizing about the psychosis of man instead of the literature itself. The literature, though, does ask many questions about our minds--and that is what is portrayed.

Gilman's short and over-punctuated paragraphs indicate a slipping sanity, which is progressively lost as much with the reader as in the woman herself.

I now stop myself when I count the threads in my sheets. A very fine line exists between being passionate and obsessive. Something writers are prone to do.

Posted by Amanda Cochran at January 17, 2004 9:23 PM

Hmm... we are presumably reading the text of the journal that the woman wrote. While there are certainly plenty of deadly metaphors, what did you see in the text that made you consider that the narrator actually dies?

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at January 19, 2004 3:03 PM

I guess that I am kind of an SHU jock. My top five favorite things in life are:

1. Women
2. Sports
3. Great Food (Notice that I did not say Seton Hill food!)
4. Family
5. Friends

Posted by: Jay Pugh at January 19, 2004 4:15 PM

Just one more thing...what's up with the cat...it looks like it died! BAM!

Posted by: Jay Pugh at January 19, 2004 4:17 PM

No, the cat is not dead--it is hugging the "wrong mouse".

Glad to know your favorite five things in life; I must be one of your favorite things (though I do not like being called a "thing") because I fall into two of those categories: friend and woman. However, you did not put "overbearing and tenacious" on that list, so I am questioning my favoritism in your eyes :-D

Posted by: Amanda at January 19, 2004 5:41 PM

YEAH AMANDA!! I see you finally put some color into your drab blog! Congrats!


Posted by: Tiffany at January 19, 2004 6:01 PM

Just one more thing. What's up with the BAM?

Posted by: Amanda at January 19, 2004 6:18 PM

Yes, I finally enlisted some color to my drab blog, but I resist a background color...I have been thinking about putting a picture back there. Can we do that? I have seen it on other blogs, and I am really interested in trying it myself.

Posted by: Amanda at January 19, 2004 6:20 PM

Hey Amanda,
Did I miss something? I swear, I think I'm the only person that didn't think she died at the end of the story, lol. I figured that she was somehow showing herself as the wallpaper lady, being trapped and all, and then found a way of escape at the end, which totally shocked her husband. Oh well, guess that's just me. Me and my crazy ideas :-)
Oh yeah, I like your posts, very interesting. So far I am having way to much reading everyone's blogs and saying my hellos.

Posted by: SueMyers at January 19, 2004 8:32 PM

Very nice to meet you, Sue. As I said in my entry, I am still at an impasse...I really don't know if she killed herself or not.

Posted by: Amanda at January 19, 2004 8:58 PM

I am convinced that she kills herself. I just am. I just think that everything pointed to her suicide. Read a little on my blog for more of my opinions.

Posted by: Karissa at January 20, 2004 9:11 PM
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