“The Yellow Wallpaper”
An opinion on the critical essay “Haunted House/Haunted Heroine: Female Gothic Closets in “The Yellow Wallpaper”” by Carol Margaret Davison
April 2nd, 2009
“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a short story written in the late 1800’s about a woman with post-partum depression who becomes increasingly mad because of society’s, as well as her husband’s, repression. The critical essay “Haunted House/Haunted Heroine: Female Gothic Closets in “The Yellow Wallpaper”” by Carol Margaret Davison is an analysis of the short story, focusing on the genre of female gothic and the themes of loss of identity, self discovery, the dark side of marriage, and gender issues. In this essay I will summarize and comment on Davison’s analysis of “The Yellow Wallpaper” as well as bring in my own views on this short story. After reading Davison’s critical essay on “The Yellow Wallpaper” as well as studying and analyzing the short story myself, I agree with Davison’s analysis, and believe that reading critical essays and analysis substantially helps one to gain insight and broaden their outlook on pieces of literature.
The author explains that “The Yellow Wallpaper” is not merely categorized in the genre of gothic, but of the sub-genre female gothic. Davison goes on to state that the primary factor that makes female gothic different than gothic is that, firstly, the story revolves around a female character, and secondly, revolves around the foremost message “not all marriages are created equal.” Davison explains the difference between gothic and female gothic by explaining to the readers, “Drawing upon the Gothic genre in general, which explores the dark underbelly of modernity, the Female Gothic advances a gender-aware commentary on modern institutions by way of a point-blank portrait of domestic relations.” (Davison, 7).
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