Currently listening to:-
Had my first lecture on American Literature today, was very briefly introduced to american author Charlotte Perkins Gilman who specialized in short stories. Other notable names in this semester’s study of american literature include Edgar Allen Poe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emily Dickson, Joyce Carol Oates and of course the hallmark of literary genius, Ernest Hemmingway. Following this, a synopsis of The Yellow Wallpaper from Wikipedia (yes i know its very un-literature-ish to wiki something but whatever), its a text i think is in our syllabus:
Told in the first-person perspective as a series of journal entries, the story details the unreliable narrator’s descent into madness. The protagonist’s husband, John, believes that it is in the narrator’s best interest to go on a rest cure, since he only credits what is observable and scientific. He serves as his wife’s physician, treating her like a powerless patient. The story hints that part of the woman’s problem is that she recently gave birth to a child, insinuating she may be suffering from what would now be called postpartum psychosis.
While on vacation for the summer at a colonial mansion, the narrator senses “something queer about it.” Confined to an upstairs room, she devotes many journal entries to obsessively describing the wallpaper—its “yellow” smell, its “breakneck” scrawling pattern, the various patches that it is missing, and the fact that it leaves yellow smears on the skin and clothing of anyone who touches it. Obsessing over the hatred that she believes radiates from the room, she supposes that it must once have been a nursery, and that the children who lived in it hated the wallpaper as much as she does. She notes that a patch of wallpaper has been rubbed off at her shoulder height early in the book, and after lapsing into insanity confirms that she was the one who had done all the damage to the room, although she is oblivious to this fact herself. She describes how the longer that one stays in the bedroom, the more that the wallpaper appears to mutate and change, especially in the moonlight. With no other stimuli other than the wallpaper, the pattern and designs on the wallpaper become increasingly intriguing, and a figure soon appears in the design. She eventually reaches the conclusion that the figure is a woman creeping on all fours behind the pattern, trying to escape the bars from the shadows.
After “realizing” that she must try to free the woman in the wallpaper, she begins to strip the remaining designs off the wall. While working on peeling away the wallpaper, she tries to hide her obsession with it due to her paranoia and fear that John may re-diagnose her, and his sister will remain with them. On the last day of summer, she locks herself in her room in order to strip the remains of the wallpaper. When John arrives home, the woman refuses to unlock the door and tells him to go fetch the key from outside her window where she threw it earlier. Once he returns with the key and opens the door, however, he finds her creeping around the room, circling the walls and touching the wallpaper. She exclaims, “I’ve got out at last,” her husband faints, as she continues to circle the room, stepping over his inert body each “lap” around.
She exclaims, “I’ve got out at last,”.
This course is going to be interesting, I can tell.