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January 20, 2004

Stumbling to Conclusions


Yes, I believe that I could sum up my reaction to The Yellow Wallpaper in just that one word.

Having begun to read the story in class and finishing it later that evening, I grew eager to learn the outcome of what had appeared to be a tale of ill-perceived illness and perhaps a bit of scandal. I was not disappointed in the ending, but in order to believe what I read, I read it over. And over. And then one more time just to make sure I hadn't missed anything.

Like always, I take notes when I read for a class; however with short stories I have come to the habit of creating a character list (which is beneficial especially if there are numerous characters in the story), and writing down, or circling, highlighting, and underlining things that I feel may be of importance to character development, plot, theme, or (my favorite) time period, but only if it's my own text : )

I had about three pages of notes after reading The Yellow Wallpaper a grand total of seven times. I feared that I had missed something, that I was interpreting things wrongly, that perhaps I was analyzing a bit too much (which I have a tendency to do...).

What bothered me the most? The fact that I was still getting the same strong feelings from the text after having read it as many times as I did startled me. I saw a sense of a deeper, more important problem in the narrator's life--one that was too touchy to elaborate upon blatently. Instead, the author decided to use various literary devices such as personification of the wallpaper and allusion to point towards, what appeared to be to me, an imminent suicide.

How perplexing! That's such a delicate topic for an author to address. In my opinion, it was well hidden. It was only softly nudged into the perspective of the reader. So softly, that had not I visualized the story while reading it, I may not have stumbled to that conclusion. And thus I rest disturbed.

Posted by KarissaKilgore at January 20, 2004 1:42 PM


I reread the parts that linked her death to a hanging, and though I am hesitant, I must say that it does seem like a way to end it. And as you said--the minor characters' lives will go on without her.

Posted by: Amanda at January 20, 2004 8:06 PM

No matter what happens in a short story, the thing that makes it a short story is the fact that it is only a fragment of the characters' lives--things happened before we are introduced to their lives, and certainly the most important part is that we are convinced that life goes on after the last sentence. It's like peeking in someone's window--you walk away and know that those people are still there.

Posted by: Karissa at January 20, 2004 8:51 PM

Does that mean the minor characters or major? Or doesn't it matter, as long as life, or someone goes on?

Posted by: Amanda at January 21, 2004 10:47 AM

Hey, what is going on with you and those time periods? It baffles me how the time period can relate to any story that has ever been read. Hey, did you read my short story? If you did, find how the time period fits into that one!:')

Posted by: Jay Pugh at January 21, 2004 12:48 PM

Amanda, it's just so long as we, the readers, know that life continues after having read the story.

Jay, I don't think I got to reading yours, if you mean the one from CWW last semester. The thing is, the author has to want a time period to prevail in a story for it to be evident. The time in the stories we've read in Lit. so far are noticeable because that's important to the plot and theme.

Posted by: Karissa at January 21, 2004 1:04 PM

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