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Reader Response to the Yellow Wallpaper

By dsantangelo Aug 14, 2013 471 Words
Reader Response for The Yellow Wallpaper

Darlene Santangelo

August 13, 2013

Vocabulary:

• Derision – disapproval, disgust
• Flamboyant – flashy, garish
• Interminable - unending
• Bedstead – hardware/woodenware on a bed
• Querulous – irritable, difficult to deal with

Difficult sentences:

I always fancy I see people walking in these numerous paths and arbors, but John has cautioned me not to give way to fancy in the least. He says that with my imaginative power and habit of story-making, a nervous weakness like mine is sure to lead to all manner of excited fancies, and that I ought to use my will and good sense to check the tendency. So I try. (Is the narrator being patronized here?)

John says if I don't pick up faster he shall send me to Weir Mitchell in the fall. (Who or what is Weir Mitchell? A hospital? A doctor? Is this a threat?)

At night in any kind of light, in twilight, candle light, lamplight, and worst of all by moonlight, it becomes bars! The outside pattern I mean, and the woman behind it is as plain as can be. (We begin to suspect that the narrator is insane after all)

Characters:

The narrator, whose name we do not know. We wonder if she is truly insane or if there is something supernatural afoot John – the narrator’s husband and doctor
Jennie – an assistant in the house

Summary: 

The narrator’s husband, John, has taken her to a lovely country home during the summer months. He hopes to heal her of her depression by bringing her here to rest. The narrator is impressed by the beauty of the old estate. John seems to be a loving but condescending husband. His also her doctor. While staying in an upstairs bedroom, likely chosen by John for the bars on its windows, the narrator becomes fixated on the unattractive yellow wallpaper that is on its walls. John does not want his wife to write or do anything at all that will cause any sort of mental exhaustion, so the narrator writes this diary of sorts in secret. As the months go by, the narrator becomes more and more obsessed with the yellow wallpaper, seeing ominous shapes moving and changing. As her mental illness worsens, she imagines she sees a woman trapped inside the paper, behind bars. The imaginary woman in the paper begins to “creep” around trying to escape. The narrator eventually works herself into a frenzy, ripping and tearing at the wallpaper. At the height of her insanity, she finally imagines that she herself is the trapped woman inside the wallpaper and begins creeping around the room herself. When John breaks down the door to the bedroom that she has locked from the inside, he faints with the realization of the narrator’s extreme madness, forcing the narrator to “creep over him every time”.

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