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The Hidden Meaning of Charlotte Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper

Charlotte Gilman’s work The Yellow Wallpaper is an incredible scheme that keeps the whole story the author wants to present behind the outer one the story of a demented woman kept in a nursing house. The fundamental idea about the outer surface and the inner essence covered by it is both implemented into the structure and expressed by the message of the story. The recount of the psychological metamorphosis that the character undergoes is hidden behind the matter-of-a-fact story about a mad woman and her visions in a gloomy room with yellow paper on the walls. The understanding of the mental recovery the character experiences is contingent on the reader s ability to distinguish between the cover and the essence below it as applied in the structure of the story.

The Yellow Wallpaper revolves as a monologue on behalf of the main character a woman suffering from a nervous breakdown and at times it looks like a journal. Fro many readers the character s condition seems to be deteriorating as she retells her visions in the nursing house. This initial impression, however, is misleading because the story in its entirety is a perceptive analysis of one s own process of mental recovery, in which the character traces the stages through which she goes to restore her lost identity. Starting with the true-to-life depiction of a woman, staying in a nursing home, under the care of her seemingly loving and highly competent husband-physician, the story more and more looses its concreteness of action and plunges into the abstract pictures that are being born in the character s mind. The information about the family relations between the woman and her husband, John, are interwoven …

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…ilar nervous breakdown. As she declares, however, this wallpaper actually saved her from her illness. In her visions from the wallpaper she discerned her own imprisoned mind trying to escape the bars that her husband has imposed on her. No matter how disconnected and how irrational this plot may seem after the first reading, it is a perfectly constructed symbolic recount of the unnoticed changes that take place in people s minds rather in their explicit actions. Thus through a system of symbols with constant connotations, the author conveys a detailed description of her recovery from the realization of her state to the open act of opposition against her husband. Gilman s work is unique not only because of its complex subject such as a deranged person is but mostly because of the subtle inner structure of the plot that reveals the essence of the story.

Attempts to Connect in Joyce Carol Oates’ Shopping

Attempts to Connect in Shopping

Although Shopping, written by Joyce Carol Oates, is fiction, the story portrays a relationship that represents many parents and children have in real life. The child is growing up and wants to spread her wings. However, the parent usually does not want to let go. Arguments and the awkward silences are frequent. The seemingly useless attempts to connect with the son or daughter are also frequent. Yet, what the child does not realize is that no matter how old she may get, she is still the parent s child. The mother is not going to forget how precious her little baby is, yet that is what the mother does in this story. Oates uses references to pregnancy to portray the relationship between mother and daughter. Mrs. Dietrich remembers what it was like to have her little baby. Through shopping, she tries to relate to her teenage daughter in the same cherished way.

The story is quickly introduced with the line, An old ritual. Saturdaymorning shopping (833). The story takes place when Nola, 17, visits home during spring break to see friends and to shop with her mother, Mrs. Dietrich, 47. Though 40 years separate the two, Mrs. Dietrich strives to connect with her daughter through this shopping trip. Nola does not complain because to her, shopping is like coming home (835). However, a connection does not happen because of a lack of communication. During the trip, Mrs. Dietrich tries to bring up a topic to talk about but when she tries, she stops and says, They ve been through that before . This happens several times during the story. For example, when Mrs. Dietrich is tempted to ask what Nola is thinking she stops and has to resist the temptation to do so. Mrs. …

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…versation. Instead, she did not say anything because she knows not to argue (836). Another opportunity is when Nola lets her mother know about her intention to go to Paris for a semester. Instead of asking why Nola wants to go or what she plans on doing there, Mrs. Dietrich seems to dismiss the subject. Mrs. Dietrich would rather talk about it some other time (840). Again, an opportunity to relieve the tension is lost.

The story shows a relationship between a mother and a daughter through the event of shopping. Mrs. Dietrich, a middle aged mother, longs to have that intimate relationship with her daughter, just as she did when she was pregnant. Nola, a young teenager wanting to spread her wings, just wants her mother to let her go. This time of their relationship is awkward for both of them but is typical for many parents and children.

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