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February 6, 2007

EL312: [Any Color but Yellow] Wallpaper

Well, now this will be the third time studying this story for me. (First in Intro. to Lit. freshman year, second in American Lit. 1800-1915 last fall, third now in Lit. Crit.)

I do enjoy how I get chills each time I read this. I'm excited to know what my classmates have to say about this story.

I found an old blog entry from Intro. to Lit. that I wrote about this story... While it's not terribly insightful, I thought I'd post a link to it anyway (to show growth if nothing more).

As for what I'd like to talk about in context of the story? I think focusing on a few words that Gilman uses over and over might help reveal what's going on in the story. Smooch, for instance, refers to the yellow marks made on the clothing by the wallpaper that Jennie mentions (536) and also to the area into which the narrator's shoulder fits as she creeps around on the floor (538). Creep is another word worth looking at, too. It's used a number of times in a variety of ways. I would be curious to see what anyone else thinks of Gilman's word choice and its effect on the story as a whole as well as the individual meanings of the words in context.

No particular quote here, just an interest in the words. :)

Gilman, ''The Yellow Wallpaper'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

Posted by KarissaKilgore at February 6, 2007 11:10 PM


I am still trying to figure out the purpose behind the word "creep."

Posted by: Dave Moio at February 7, 2007 2:11 PM

Both "creep" and "smooch" are very interesting word choices and I am puzzled by them as well. For one, visualizing what the woman who is always "creeping" in the wallpaper and out the window is difficult for me. What exactly would that look like? Could someone demonstrate during class maybe? ;) And when I hear the word smooch, I actually think of a kiss...but not the good kind...the obnoxious, wet kind you get from your mom or grandma on your cheek that makes you sure that their sole reason for existing is to embarrass you. So, for one thing I would at least say that it seems important that both of these words have a negative connotations, but beyond that I think further thought needs to be put into it.

Posted by: Lorin at February 8, 2007 8:54 AM

Honestly, I believe that the influence of the word creep is really that she committed suicide and creeped over John's fainted body. The context clues are there with the rope, and the fact that John couldn't hear her behind the door. Weird... But the key component that really makes me believe that she did kill herself, was because of the Gilman's life. She was clinically depressed, struggled with all aspects of life, and finally committed suicide when she was 75 years old. The words are interesting, but in this case, I am glad that we learned about authorial intent, because I really feel that there is a personal connection between Charlotte Perkins Gilman and her main character in "The Yellow Wallpaper."

Posted by: Jason Pugh at February 8, 2007 11:55 AM

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