· In “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Charlotte Perkins Gilman clearly owes a lot to Edgar Allan Poe with her use of an unreliable narrator. But how is the insanity of Gilman’s narrator different from that of Poe’s? To put it another way, what do we get to see happen with Gilman’s narrator that we never get to see with Poe’s?
· In many essays and books written about the Gothic in literature, “The Yellow Wallpaper” is very often mentioned as a prime example of the “female Gothic.” This term presumes that, from the dominant male perspective, there is something inherently unsettling and frightening about WOMEN. Indeed, Gilman succeeds in making her female narrator quite scary. HOWEVER, a big point which the female Gothic makes (especially examples written by female authors such as Gilman) is that these “scary” or “monstrous” women don’t just come from out of nowhere; they are MADE or DRIVEN by certain forces toward monstrosity and fearsomeness. So what forces might be at work in the case of this narrator?
· Who is this woman in the wallpaper that the narrator is seeing? There are two answers to this. I want them both. Think in terms of symbolism (in this case, which is almost always the case with the Gothic, psychological symbolism), remembering the progression of what she sees in the wallpaper.
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