Suprises

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From Julie Bares Dock's essay with Daphne Ryan Allen, Jennifer Palais, and Kristen Tracy " 'But One Expects That': Charlotte Perkins Gilman's 'The Yellow Wallpaper' and the Shifting Light of Scholarship" in Donald Keesey's Contexts for Criticism:

“Indeed, it has become the Feminist Press’s ‘all-time best-seller,’ with over 2000,000 copies sold (Feminist Press 16)” (471-472). 

In this essay, I was pleasantly surprised by many of the author’s comments, the first of which is the one given above.  I have never actually heard of "The Yellow Wallpaper" before this class, but I have heard of many other feminist authors and their works.  Aside from this simple surprise, it was interesting to find an essay on “The Yellow Wallpaper” that I enjoyed, mainly because this one seemed to bring up so many ideas that the feminist critics did not address in the essays we have read so far.  Dock discusses issues in the transfer of text (printing mistakes) that coud have affected feminist reading (just like the hyphens in the word "wallpaper" that we discussed in class), double meanings or interpretations within the text that, if read a certain way, could lead to a feminist reading, she questions prior discrepancies within academic criticism and how these have now been aligned under a general scholarly idea rather than a traditional feminist one, she discusses the genre and differences in interpretation that could result from genre placement, she identifies possible purposes for the story, and, in general, warns modern critics against following the critical conventions of past critics.  This is, of course, where new historicism and the study of culture come into play.  I found this essay to be really fascinating in that it was able to prove a point while still offering many sides of the critical issues surrounding "The Yellow Wallpaper."  It seems that by continually looking at the prior critical ideas and working with new schools, we can gain new insight into these over-read texts.

 

See what others have to say about this essay.   

2 Comments

Bethany Merryman said:

Agreed! Every time I read this story, and I have read it a lot at this point, I feel like I have gotten something new out of the text. I also enjoyed this article, and enjoyed learning about the history of its success.

Derek Tickle said:

I think that your explaniation lends way to how many ways a text can be understood. I am, for example, writing my term paper on "The Yellow Wallpaper" because I found it to be such a great text. Each time I read the text, I seem to get another idea or critical comment because of how in-depth the text can be even though it is such a short story. I think that the text gives reader an insight into how literature can be used to represent a part of history that was not so good towards females. Literature, in relation to history and politics, and give the good ideas and help to put the bad ideas behind society and to focus on the future of a culture.

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Derek Tickle on Suprises: I think that your explaniation
Bethany Merryman on Suprises: Agreed! Every time I read this