February 18, 2007


"While neither the Gilman nor Gaspell story necessarily exludes the male as the reader- indeed both are directed specifically at educating him to become the better reader- they do, nonetheless, insist that, however inadvertently, he is a different kind of reader and that, where women are concerned, he is often an inadequate reader" (Kolodny 201).

We all know that guys and girls are different in numerous ways but, now, we even read differently and take different meanings from literature? I guess there is a reason we have "chiclit".

While the majority of Kolodny's "A Map for Rereading: Or, Gender and the Interpretation of Literary Texts" recounts Bloom's texts practically word for word, her overall arguement is that women's literature at the time of "The Yellow Wallpaper" was not only written by women, for women, but also to show men they have no idea what girls are talking about most of the time (which is true). Yet another divide among the sexes.

"The Yellow Wallpaper", according to Kolodny, is not only a text about the descent into madness, but a woman's response to the misunderstanding of our thoughts and lives during the era in which it was written. John does not understand his wife, eventually causing an even greater slip into insantiy, just as men could not understand women's literature. Really? Is a woman's writing so different from a man's? Are our themes so strange that men simply cannot grasp the meaning? I'm pretty sure that some ideas are universal, regardless of gender.

However, this is looking at the text during the time of the text, when a woman's writing truly was radically different. "...women were expected to write specifically for their own sex and within the tradition of woman's culture rather than within the Great Tradition. They never presented themselves in the footsteps of Milton or Spencer" (Baym qtd. in Kolodny 196). Men were confused to see a woman writing, especially about troubling subjects such as sexuality, insanity, and the treatment by men. Their loving wives really didn't think this way, right? It was a time of shock for male readers, who didn't really know how to "take" this emerging genre of women writers. The male is not unable to understand the writing of women, he just must adjust his thinking in order to better understand the meaning and realize women have thoughts too, and they don't all involve the kitchen.

Kolodny, '"A Map for Rereading: Or, Gender and the Interpretation of Literary Texts'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

Posted by VanessaKolberg at February 18, 2007 2:18 PM | TrackBack

Thank you, Nessa. I'm kind of ashamed of my blog now. I just kind of went off on how she was treating men like the enemy, but you reminded me that we should look at the time period and how women were expected just to stick with their desperate housewife roles and Kolodny was just paying homage to the women stepping out and inwardly laughing at the men who repress them.

Posted by: Erin at February 19, 2007 10:03 AM

Haha Erin, don't be ashamed! I just call them as I see them...haha

Posted by: Nessa at February 19, 2007 3:45 PM

I also ranted on this essay in my blog.
Vanessa, you opened my eyes to see the time period and the oppression of the women. The women were stepping out of their boundaries and I do see now that Kolodny was just paying respect to the women who took the chance to do something out of the ordinary and basically show men they are capable of more than they think.

Posted by: Denamarie at February 21, 2007 9:06 AM

There are those who would argue that the downfall of civilization is directly linked to the empowerment of women and their increased involvement in professional endeavors. Some feel better people were raised in households that included a male breadwinner and female homemaker.

I am currently student teaching seventh graders who have so little respect for authority that it would make you sick.

My children are being raised in a household with a working mother. From what I have seen, they are just fine.

If it were not for a working wife, I would not be typing this comment right now. I would not have had the luxury of quitting my job and returning to school to pursue a teaching career. For me, empowered, professional women are needed in society, but to others, they are the problem with America's youth.

Maybe this is why so many men hold a grudge against female authors.

Posted by: Dave Moio at February 21, 2007 9:49 PM
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