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Example research essay topic: Charlotte Perkins Gilman Gilman The Yellow Wallpaper - 1,165 words

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... with the wallpaper she becomes. In her mind, the wallpaper becomes more than just wallpaper. It takes on human characteristics. This paper looks to me as if it knew what a vicious influence it had (107)!

When the story begins, the narrator refers to the house as haunted. This theme is again brought to the forefront when she begins to describe the wallpaper. There is a recurrent spot where the pattern lolls like a broken neck and two bulbous eyes stare at you upside down (107). Gilman's sensory descriptions are intense and detailed.

They make the reader a part of the story, increase suspense, and help the readers perception of the particular kind of insanity that afflicts the narrator (Cunningham par. 1). The story not only provides detailed visual images, but vivid olfactory descriptions as well. Such descriptions are: But there is something else about the paper- the smell! I noticed it the moment we came into the room, ... It gets into my hair... most enduring odor I ever met...

The only thing I can think of that it is like is the color of the paper! A yellow smell. (q. in The combination of Gilman's words, and the short choppy sentence structure, combine to allow the reader to grasp the depths of the narrators insanity. In addition to the sense of smell, the reader is also captured by the sense of touch. The narrator tells us: The faint figure behind seemed to shake the pattern, Just as if she wanted to get out.

I got up softly and went to feel and see if the paper did move and when I came back John was awake (Gilman 110). She further tells us: The front pattern does move and no wonder! The woman behind shakes it! (113). It is through these compelling descriptions, utilizing the readers senses, that Gilman is pulling the reader into the narrators world... these descriptions nearly perfectly encapsulate what we might all imagine it is like to be insane (Cunningham par. 5). It is as if the haunting images of the wallpaper mirror the haunting feelings inside the narrators mind.

The heroine, unable to openly express her feelings to anyone, begins to see herself through the wallpaper. She imagines a woman trapped behind the wallpaper, just as she is trapped in the room and in her mind (Coffey). The wallpaper, and the barrier it poses to the woman behind it, as imagined by the narrator, mirror the narrators own thoughts about being confined in a room with barred windows. At night in any kind of light, in twilight, candlelight, lamplight, and worst of all by moonlight, it becomes bars! The outside pattern, I mean, and the woman behind it is as plain as can be (Gilman, The Yellow 111). The heroine is also behind bars.

I am getting angry... but the bars are too strong... (115). The behavior of the woman behind the wallpaper mirrors the narrators behavior. By daylight she is subdued, quiet. I fancy it is the pattern that keeps her so still. It is so puzzling.

It keeps me quiet by the hour (111). The narrator is also subdued in the daytime. I dont sleep much at night, for it is so interesting to watch developments; but I sleep a good deal during the daytime (112). Another parallel between the actions of the narrator and the woman behind the wallpaper is reflected when the narrator looks out the window and sees her in that long shaded lane, creeping up and down... creeping around the garden... I see her on that long road under the trees, creeping along, and when a carriage comes she hides...

I dont blame her a bit. It must be very humiliating to be caught creeping by daylight (113)! The narrator is expressing her own humiliation in having to sneak around. I always lock the door when I creep by daylight. I cant do it at night, for I know John would suspect something at once (113). Similarly, while her husband is away, the narrator sometimes will walk a little in the garden or down the lovely lane, sit on the porch under the roses, ... (109).

As the narrator realizes the meaning of the wallpaper, her life begins to change. Life is much more exciting now than it used to be. You see, I have something more to expect, to look forward to, to watch. I really do eat better, and am more quiet than I was (112). It is apparent that she is still feeling imprisoned by her husband. I suppose I shall have to get back behind the pattern when it comes night, and that is hard (115)!

However, she has decided to rebel and break free. Ive got out at last, said I, in spite of you and Jane. And Ive pulled off most of the paper so you cant put me back (115)! Because the story is somewhat autobiographical, Gilman is able to vividly portray a womans descent into madness. She wrote the story to effect change in the treatment of depressive women (Gilman, Why I wrote 2). She once stated It was not intended to drive people crazy, but to save people for being driven crazy (2).

The story brilliantly depicts a woman in the nineteenth century whose opinions and feelings have never been acknowledged or recognized as valid in the real world her voice. The narrator of the story realizes that the woman in the wallpaper is herself, and she is finally able to break free. Perhaps it can all be summed up in this exchange: John is so pleased to see me improve! He laughed a little the other day, and said I seemed to be flourishing in spite of my wallpaper.

I turned it off with a laugh. I had not intention of telling him it was because of the wallpaper... (Gilman, The Yellow 112). Bak, John S. Escaping the Jaundiced Eye: Foucauldian Panopticism in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper. Studies in Short Fiction 31. 1 (Winter 1994): Coffey, Sandra. Class Lecture.

English 102. Vincennes University: Fort Benning, GA. Cunningham, Iain and Holmes, Douglass. "Sensory Descriptions in The Yellow Wallpaper. " (1977): 6 pars. 23 Aug. 2000. web Dock, Julie Bates. But One Expects That: Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper and the Shifting Light of Scholarship.

Publications of the Modern Language Association of America 111. 1 (Jan. 1996): 52 - 65. Gadarowski, Brenda A. The Yellow Wallpaper: How We Perceive the Husband. 2 pp. 23 Aug. 2000. web connect / brenda . htm Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. The Yellow Wallpaper.

Literature and the Writing Process. Eds. Elizabeth McMahan, Susan X. Day, and Robert Funk. 4 th ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 1996. 105 - 115.

Why I Wrote The Yellow Wallpaper. The Forerunner (Oct. 1913): 2 pp. 19 Aug. 2000. web Kasmer, Lisa. Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper: A Symptomatic Reading.

Literature and Psychology 36. 3 (1990): 1 - 15. Bibliography:


Free research essays on topics related to: gilman the yellow wallpaper, charlotte perkins gilman, aug 2000, break free, 2 pp

Research essay sample on Charlotte Perkins Gilman Gilman The Yellow Wallpaper

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