Can't Trust Her

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"If we read 'The Yellow Wall-paper ironically and not simply as a case history of one woman's mental derangement, the narrator's madness becomes questionable, and the question of madness itself, an issue raised as a means of problematizing such a reading." (Feldstein 403).

I remember going over this is class, and it just seems like most of our criticism on this story has to be based around this fact: that the narrator is unreliable, therefore we can't completely trust what she is saying, especially as a historical document. I think I wrote one of my earlier casebooks on how "The Yellow Wall-paper" was all about women and post-partum depression, and I remember thinking how I thought I actually was doing something right. Well, that all ended when I arrived in class and my thesis, along with about half the class's, got shot down when it was determined that the narrator was definately unreliable and couldn't be trusted. I think that aspect of it is what makes it hard for me to write about it. Alot of the criticism I tried to apply to it didn't work when I had to remember that the narrator couldn't be trusted. This characteristic didn't really give me a problem for reading the short story, but it definately gave me some fits when trying to write about it.



Jenna said:

Katie, I know what you mean about the narrator's unreliability being frustrating. I was also concerned whether the narrator was really the narrator throughout the entire story. If she was going crazy, she wrote pretty coherently for it. However, I guess many great authors who went crazy did that too.

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