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 The Yellow Wallpaper (once you've read it)

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PostSubject: The Yellow Wallpaper (once you've read it)   Thu Sep 07, 2006 2:40 pm

Now that you have read "The Yellow Wallpaper," share a thought about this strange story. What caught your attention? What sticks with you? Does this remind you of any other literature you've read.
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JohnN

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PostSubject: Re: The Yellow Wallpaper (once you've read it)   Thu Sep 07, 2006 8:14 pm

As strange as the story may be, I believe that it is not too different from a few of the dystopian novels I have read. Considering that The Yellow Wallpaper was written in the early 1900's (before women could vote, as Mr. Kelso mentioned), it was noticable that the main character's insanity continues to emerge as her husband, John, continues to grasp more control over her life. Compare this to a novel such as Orwell's 1984, where a group of people control all aspects of society, which led to an anti-authoritan movement. In both stories, the characters are driven into insanity due to overpowering control. In The Yellow Wallpaper, John attempts to remedy his wife by keeping her in solitude and fails. However, in 1984, Winston is tortured into a conforming citizen once again.

The stories seem to share the same major idea, but to what success that the character removed the controlling power is different.
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PostSubject: The Yellow Wallpaper   Thu Sep 07, 2006 9:54 pm

The thing I noticed first is that the story begins with the lady already sick, so the narrator's story is hardly reliable. I believe she was already crazy to begin with. She keeps thinking that her husband is lying to her about her sickness and restricting her freedom. I believe the first half is wrong. John her husband is a physician so he knows what is best for her. Even her own brother says that resting helps. The second half is true. However, her freedom is being restricted for a good reason. It is only natural that a sick person rest. If a person has a flu, they don't go run a mile. No, they stay in bed.

Sadly to inform you Mr. Kelso, this story do not remind me of any other literature I read in the past.
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PostSubject: Re: The Yellow Wallpaper (once you've read it)   Fri Sep 08, 2006 7:43 am

First and foremost, i wanted to say this lady is a total cooke and scares the hell out of me. I found myself gazing at my own, beautiful, wallpaper while reading the story, trying to find something wrong with it.

I believe her husband has everything to do with keeping her sick...but it makes me think...he must be doing it for some important reason. She must be even more screwed up when shes not medicated.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

A man's got to do what a man's got to do.
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PostSubject: Re: The Yellow Wallpaper (once you've read it)   Fri Sep 08, 2006 3:59 pm

I do believe that John had involvement in her illness. That was obvious. But her reactions when exploring the wallpaper and becoming almost obsessive with it's detail made me think that she was indeed insane without the medications. This might have resulted from being locked in the nursery room, or she might have been locked in the room because of her mental state.
Really, I have to agree with Drew that she's creepy.
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PostSubject: Re: The Yellow Wallpaper (once you've read it)   Fri Sep 08, 2006 5:53 pm

At the end - my first thought was "Was she possessed?" because I thought that maybe there was a ghost - even though it said 'ghostliess' - but still. I'm simple minede - what can i say - but i honestly thought maybe the lady in thw wallpaper got out and switched plces w/ the lady (like in Skeleton Key) and took over. And the main character lady can't switch back because all the wallpaper is gone. So - i thought maybe she was possessed...

But after hearing everyone's thoughts - i don't know - haha. But - that was my first thought. I pictured her having this twisted smile on her face when she said to John:

"I've got out at last" ... "in spite of you and Jane. And I've pulled off most of the paper, so you can't put me back!"

so that is what lead me to belive she was possessed also. =D I really liked the story - such a twist - heart it!
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PostSubject: Re: The Yellow Wallpaper (once you've read it)   Fri Sep 08, 2006 7:49 pm

I made my mom read it @_@ haha - and she thinks the "eyes" she sees are the buttons like in a padded room~~ you know??? I didn't think of that - yeah - my mom also thinks she is in an insanesilum
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PostSubject: Re: The Yellow Wallpaper (once you've read it)   Sat Sep 09, 2006 1:58 am

We had such a great discussion in class today about the yellow wallpaper, that it got the wheels in my mind turning moreso than when I first originally read it. I'm still of an unpopular opinion that the husband is actually doing what's correct morally, while the lady is actually quite insane. Here are some of the arguments that I found counterarguments to very quickly:
"He and the rest of the family kept her locked up." This may be true, but I have no recollection of them actually locking it, but rather it was her own decision to stay up there. The one time it did mention it was when the lady herself actually locked the door to keep the maid and everyone out, not herself in, and threw the key out of the window.

"He has evil intentions because he doesn't want her to write." Now this one I thought I figured out pretty well. Now, my opinion is that her case gets worse the more she writes. She's seeing things, she's acknowledging them, but when she affirms it within her entire being in the creation process of writing, she confirms her insane plots that are more permanent to her mind than if she did not. The more time passed by, the more she described the wallpaper in more detail. Writing put her further into her own little world, farther away from her husband, who in her writing started to look suspicious or more cruel by the setting he put her in. I think he recognizes that the writing may have in the past made her nervous condition worse, and so keeps her from doing it.

"He was having an affair, he was gone so much." You would think so. They're on vacation, they're renting this house in a place where they probably haven't been before, and she's supposed to be recovering. Why would a husband leave the home instead of tending to his wife, or at least absorbing all of his intentions to her. Is it possible that he found new friends in this new place so quickly, or would invite old friends without letting them see her? Well, I see it as this. It reminds me enormously of Jane Eyre, of the character Mr. Rochester. He had an insane wife (who progressively got that way I'm sure, no man in his right mind would marry an insane woman if he could truly help it) who he had to start keeping in a safe room for her own interests as well as his. It wasn't that he was evil or had evil intentions towards her. It was because he had a reputation, and a life he wanted to live, and she ceased to be a human being and was quite disruptive to any way of normal living that could be held in that mansion of theirs. I think The Yellow Wallpaper is the stage right before Mr. Rochester. The lady isn't quite completely insane until the end, when her husband faints at the realization that her condition was more than mere nerves. I have no doubt that he will probably do like Mr. Rochester has done and lock her up for her and his and the world's own good until she can get better.

And also, if he was going to have an affair, he would have probably hide his child away as well, unless of course his mistress loved to see his insane wife's child around. He's a doctor, if he was making his wife go crazy by medication, couldn't he kill his own child. I suppose divorce and custody were just not worth going through the trouble back then. If you wanted a new fling, you'd have to get rid of all previous ties to do so. The quickest way is insanity and death. But I don't think he'd do that, I expect the highest from him as a doctor, and that any slant on him would only be because it is of the opinionated of a crazy woman.

Now I have other opinions on the book that quite interested me. There was the idea that the maid was watching the wallpaper, nose touching practically which is a sign of insanity. This is my theory of what I think of that scene: I think her husband noticed her wife staring at the wallpaper during the night and wonders what she sees in it. He investigates it by passing moments, but doesn't have the time as he's usually out doing work or calling on friends or newly made acquaintances, and taking care of the child. How I see it is that he talks with the maid to look at the wallpaper to discover what it is that is triggering the illness for his wife. As a doctor he probably figured that maybe there was something to the smell, the print or the feel of it that caused something in his wife's nerves to go haywire. The maid would have to go close to smell its smell, and just as the lady comes in, tells her a lie to keep the investigation a secret for the sake of her nerves, and merely tells her a fact that is probably true. A maid would notice the stains and would find ways to prevent it, one of which is stopping the source, or informing her masters where the culprit lies. It makes her job easier.
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PostSubject: Re: The Yellow Wallpaper (once you've read it)   Sat Sep 09, 2006 4:54 pm

I found this story to be really intriguing and it left me with a lot of unanswered questions. I personally believe that the husband was trying to make her nervous habits into something worse. I asked myself why the husband chose the freaky, horror-movie nursery room for her to spend three months in, when there were other, brighter rooms in the house. I first immediately began to think that the husband was trying to kill her or at least make her condition worse. I thought the yellow on the walls were a fungus or something of that nature, that if left exposed to, you will slowly become insane until you die. I thought the husband, being a doctor would know this and would want to stay as far away as possible, which can explain why he was gone all the time (except for when he had to sleep in the room). I think that the possible reasons for why he would want to kill his wife might be that he was embarrassed of her socially unacceptable behavior, or maybe she really was crazy and he preferred her dead rather than submitted to an insane asylum. The only people who saw his wife was family, people who he could trust with her unstable mental health.
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PostSubject: A Fable about Post-Partem Depression?   Sat Sep 09, 2006 5:34 pm

Some critics have said that "The Yellow Wallpaper" is a morality story about the effects of postpartem depression. We do know that the protagonist has a child, so perhaps she has been put in the room because of her depression. If this is the case, it causes the reader to see the husband in an entirely different light.

What do you think?
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PostSubject: Re: The Yellow Wallpaper (once you've read it)   Sun Sep 10, 2006 10:45 am

Postpartum depression.... I knew it was the evil, devil child's fault the entire time! We have found the villain!

No, honestly, I knew the husband had isolated her for a good reason. It would hurt his reputation more if people found he wasn't doing it, and afraid that the postpartum depression would cause her to ruin herself in society, and let her condition get worse. That’s too bad for her, if we really look at the evidence, the husband “caused it”, but maybe he didn’t plan the sickness (but babies aren’t on accident, Razz)

After a little research I found that most cases last from a month to a year, so it would make sense that she would be kept from the one-year old child because of the dangerous mood swings, depression, restlessness and anxiety.

But I truly think she has postpartum psychosis, the one that causes the patient to "refuse to eat, have frantic energy, sleep disturbance, paranoia and irrational thoughts" (1). These cases are usually hospitalized, so I would think it would be very sensible to take her out into the country to air out a little bit, isolated in her room. Her husband was probably afraid of her, but didn't abandon her all together. But it can be treated, whether they had the medication or therapies for postpartum back then are out of my knowledge, but I definitely think she has all the symptoms for postpartum psychosis.

(1) http://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2005/December/docs/01features_02.htm
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PostSubject: Re: The Yellow Wallpaper (once you've read it)   Sun Sep 10, 2006 10:48 am

After reading The Yellow Wallpaper I was a little creeped out by the ending. The way the narrator descibed herself having to creep over her husband made me think of the little girl from the ring for some reason. I could see her with this crazy hair everywhere slowly making her way towards the entrance of the nursery or something. However, my interpretation of the story was that this woman's husband John was keeping her locked up in this room all day because he thought she was slightly off the edge already and keeping her away would benefit their family and their reputation, or maybe he was having affairs with other women in town and didn't want her to find out. Either way, I feel that her husband John just wanted to keep her away from the world around her and the isolation led her to create her own crazy world.
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PostSubject: Re: The Yellow Wallpaper (once you've read it)   Sun Sep 10, 2006 11:44 am

It seems like this whole episode may have already happened in the past with other people. The wallpaper has some mystic power to suck anyone that sees it in. The woman writing was already insecure in ways, and also spent the most time in the room with the wallpaper, so she was brought along the furthest. It said the paper was torn in spots already, but she just assumed it was kids. It seems like other people might have freaked out just like the woman did. There was even a groove in the wall that her shoulder fit right in to.

The house was probably as cheap and empty because it had the reputation to drive people insane.
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PostSubject: Re: The Yellow Wallpaper (once you've read it)   Sun Sep 10, 2006 1:25 pm

Well personally, as far as a feminist viewpoint is concerned regarding the beginning of the 20th century, the character at fault here is the husband. Even in class we were discussing the high rate of women who were sent to insane assylums at this time, and it all revolves around the demands made of them by the society at the time. If men hadn't created such an ideal that required woman to look only one way to be beautiful and act one way to be desireable, it isn't doubtful that those rates would have plummeted. How would you like being couped up which no way to express yourself to another human being? Those emotions boil up and eventually have to come out in some form or another...and that usually implies going insane.
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PostSubject: The Yellow Wallpaper   Sun Sep 10, 2006 2:56 pm

Personally, I really enjoyed this story. Ever since I was young, I've always liked reading mystery and suspense stories over romantic love stories. The first time I read it was after school on the day the assignment was made, and my first impression of the main character was that she was completely insane! I took AP Psychology last year so I knew there had to be something mentally wrong with her. As I continued to read, I began to feel that her the main character's husband was the main reason for her insanity, because he would always keep her cooped up in her bedroom, did not allow her to socialize with anyone outside of her family, and left her to be by herself for long periods of time. As a doctor, he should have diagnosed her for being mentally unstable, or done something to cure her, but he never did.

I thought it was clever how the wallpaper in the nursery room symbolized the impressionment of the woman, and as the story progessed and her insanity grew stronger, the woman became apart of the wallpaper. I actually read this story three times over, and the first time I read it I thought that at the end of the story she committed suicide, due to her husband's reaction when he walked into her room. But then I realized that the mere idea of finding the woman you love "creeping" around her room with tattered wallpaper and scrapes on the wall would cause just about anyone to faint.

I was also wondering whether or not she was actually staying in an abandoned house, or if she was brought to a mental institute by her husband. That would explain why there were bars on the window, and the bed was nailed to the floor. Perhaps the women creeping outside were other women from the institute, out for their afternoon walk, and the main character was just so paranoid about life that she thought that the women came out of the wallpaper.

As I mentioned in class, the Yellow Wallpaper reminded me of the book Sybil which is about a young woman who suffers from multiple personality disorder. In the beginning of the book, Sybil has a mild condition where she believes that she is a couple different people. As the story enhances, Sybil's condition grows considerably worse and comes to the point where her different personalities are causing her to do harmful things to others and herself. The woman from Sybil and the woman from the Yellow Wallpaper remind me of one another because they both start out as semi-normal people, but then become paranoid, frightening, destructive individuals.

All around I found this story to be suspensful and exciting!
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PostSubject: Re: The Yellow Wallpaper (once you've read it)   Sun Sep 10, 2006 5:26 pm

The Yellow Wallpaper certainly is a one-of-a-kind short story, although I found it to be quite reminiscent of several of Shirley Jackson's short stories, most specifically, Charles. The Yellow Wallpaper exploits a specific point of view to throw a spin on the simplistic plot. The same is true in Charles. If the author were to switch the point of view, then the story would be completely altered, and would lose the sense of creepiness and mystery.
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PostSubject: Re: The Yellow Wallpaper (once you've read it)   Sun Sep 10, 2006 5:39 pm

I really enjoyed reading "The Yellow Wallpaper" and it was kindof spooky reading it late at night. To me, the first thing I thought it reminded me of was the crazy wife in Jane Eyre, in that she was also locked up, and not allowed to see anyone else, and her psychological condition probably worsened because of it. What I thought was really great was the development of the character through the book and how the reader could really visualize what was going on in her mind, how her thoughts sortof transitioned from paranoia and anger to almost a dependence on the wallpaper for her mental health. It sortof struck me that by the end of the story, the wallpaper for her was practically her vehicle for sanity, even though it made her even more insane, becuase of how she started to follow the moves and images of the wallpaper. I really enjoyed this short story the imagery made it very compelling and it was a lot of fun.
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PostSubject: Re: The Yellow Wallpaper (once you've read it)   Sun Sep 10, 2006 6:58 pm

In class a lot of people thought that the woman's husband was encouraging her insanity, but I didn't see it that way at all. I think the real villain in the story is the society, as Elana F. said earlier.

If we keep in mind the society they lived in, would the husband's role seem strange? I don't think so. A lot of people said that he didn't treat her as an equal, but women weren't supposed to be treated as equals then. In terms of the time period in which the story takes place, I think the relationship between the husband and wife is very normal.

I have wondered since reading it what would have happened if she didn't stay in that room. Do you think she still would have gone crazy? Did the wall paper make her crazy or did it just provide an outlet for her insanity?
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PostSubject: Re: The Yellow Wallpaper (once you've read it)   Sun Sep 10, 2006 7:37 pm

julie_m1 wrote:
I have wondered since reading it what would have happened if she didn't stay in that room. Do you think she still would have gone crazy? Did the wall paper make her crazy or did it just provide an outlet for her insanity?
I saw the wallpaper as more of a mirror of her own path to insanity. Something was definately wrong with her before she started, yet she claimed to be getting better. Perhaps she just doesn't want to admit that she was going crazy, and the wallpaper acted as a medium to explain herself. I'm sure that most people would go crazy from the solitude of the nursery, but she had already started before her arrival.
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PostSubject: Re: The Yellow Wallpaper (once you've read it)   Mon Sep 11, 2006 4:13 pm

Personally, I found this story hard to decipher, and a little disturbing. The role of the "Yellow Wallpaper" confused me, and I wasn't sure if the woman was hallucinating or if there really was a woman that came out of the paper. The "creeping" was also strange, and I could safely ay that I have not read anything like this in all of my years as a student of literature. However, I cannot be sure of anything about the story, as I wasn't present for the discussion on Friday.
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PostSubject: The yellow wallpaper   Mon Sep 11, 2006 8:43 pm

This story is amazing! The way it is written is really interesting and the story as a whole is very unexpected - something I love about stories because they keep you really interested. What really gets me is the question if she was really sick. I think she was just a little crazy, but Jhon's decision in puitng her in that room just made it even worse; after being there for so long, her whole train of thought changed and the way she adapted to the room is crazy.
It's funny, In my room there are little black marks in my wall because when I am on the phone I put my feet up so it happens to be the dirt from my feet - yucky...anyways, I was just looking at it a few days ago and it was so wierd! The first thing that came to my mind was definitely this story.
if there is anyone who did not read it...you missed out! It is goooood! Shocked
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PostSubject: Re: The Yellow Wallpaper (once you've read it)   Mon Sep 11, 2006 9:37 pm

I think that the yellow wallpaper is an abstract reflection of the main character’s life, the woman in the wallpaper is trapped inside a place that usually doesn’t attract much attention, just like how the wife is being kept down and contained under her husband’s “care”. Their situation may seem neutral to an outsider, the compassionate physician husband taking care of his sick wife, but she is creeping closely to the ground, slowly obtaining more understanding of herself and seeing things more clearly. When she finally frees herself from the wallpaper, she freed herself of the oppression of her husband. When the husband and his sister also stared at the wallpaper, they noticed that something is wrong too, but they don’t really know what it is; I think that is when the woman is starting to rise up. The wallpaper is trying to cover up something, the real problem the woman has, and simply by covering up the problem it doesn’t go away, the wallpaper still stink of that yellow smell-the problem. So when she finally tore away the fake coverings, she is able to deal with her own issues.
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PostSubject: reply   Tue Sep 12, 2006 4:15 pm

The first thing I noticed was how the lady was relating this horrible room to a nursery. I knew she had to have something wrong with her mentally because of her description. Next came the setting. Of course the wall paper, the nailed down & gnawed at bed legs, etc. Her mental awareness was slowly slipping away from being in this room. I'm not too sure that it was the room that was making her crazy or if she was crazy before she went in the room. Her husband seems like a mysterious character & its hard to determine whether or not he was locking her up there for the safety of their child, for his reputation not to be ruined because he had a mentally disabled wife, or because he was having an afffair. There's all sorts of things going on in this story.
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PostSubject: Re: The Yellow Wallpaper (once you've read it)   Tue Sep 12, 2006 8:08 pm

I believe someone said during class that the woman in the paper was her reflection, and that would make alot of sense. It was rather convenient that the woman appeared in the windows and then at the end she became the woman. I think the wallpaper represented her entrapment either in the sense that she was entrapped by society, as julie suggested or by her husband, or something else. I like to think that her mental insability was trapped by her rational thought and at the end she gave up on trying to subdue her impulses. In the beginning she was always saying how she knew she shouldnt be doing things and she tried not to give into her "fancies". She said at one point that she "always locks the door when she creeps about by daylight." It seems like her subconscious used the wallpaper to to let her insanity break free. Im not sure exactly how to phrase it, but I hope that made some sense.
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PostSubject: narrative   Tue Sep 12, 2006 8:18 pm

This might be a bit silly... I just want to point out that, at the beginning of the story, it seems like the reader are reading her diary. You read about events that have already happened. Then as the story progresses, her thoughts take over. The reader are no longer reading what she has written down, but is given the firsthand narrative as the event takes place right there in that moment.
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