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"The Yellow Wallpaper" - Charlotte Perkins Gilman

I just need help with a few questions. What elements justify its place in the gothic literature genre? I am beginning to understand that the story can also be viewed as an early feminist piece that examines the role of women in the late nineteenth century and also serves to highlight Gilman's own unhappy experience of being medically treated with a "resting cure" following a severe bout of post-partum depression. However, how does the "resting cure" compare with today's more advanced (and more sympathetic) treatments of post-partum depression?

Reference:
Perkins Gilman, Charlotte. "The yellow wallpaper." The Yellow Wall-Paper and (1973).

Solution Preview

Dear student:

This site will help you understand the Gothic genre. http://www.usask.ca/english/frank/gothtrad.htm

Read the section where the indented paragraph begins and a couple of paragraphs down. This should give a good sense of the Gothic tradition in literature

"The Yellow Wall Paper" is one of my favorite stories and I have taught it many times. It still intrigues me.

The elements you want to note in the story are those created by the SETTING, which is very important to the overall "atmosphere" of the story and its Gothic nature. Examine the descriptions, especially the nursery, to see how they fit the definition from the site listed above.

The house is isolated, much like the House of Usher in Poe's story, "Fall of the House of Usher." That's important because the character must be isolated from the outside world in order to be controlled.

Everything in the garden and the house is in ...

Solution Summary

How to recognize "Gothic" themes in the "Yellow Wallpaper" -- the Gothic mode in literature combines elements of horror and romance, which are evident through Gilman's story. The questions are designed to help the student focus on this area of analysis.

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