Raven Symoné

Raven Symoné

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

El Papel Pintado Amarillo (idk why i did this)

Charlotte Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper follows the deterioration of Jane, a nineteenth century middle-class woman. Many take Gilman’s story as a gripping thriller, purely for entertainment. But, as literary critics delved into the story, something much deeper and haunting was revealed. Gilman bravely shed a light on something not often discussed: the docile and domestic role of women during her era. By showing the dangers of the submission of women, and how it essentially leads to madness, Gilman was able to point out the issues in gender roles almost seamlessly. So, why did this all happen to Jane?
            There are various instances in the story that push Jane’s mental deterioration further and further, but the one occurrence that stood out the most was her husband, John’s, complete and utter infantilization of her. An example of his treatment of her follows: “I got up softly and went to feel and see if the paper did move, and when I came back John was awake. ‘What is it, little girl?’ he said. ‘Don't go walking about like that--you'll get cold’” (Gilman 4). Through many quotes just like this, calling his wife “little girl” and more, John completely disregarded Jane’s intellectual capacity as an adult (which we knew was present as she demonstrated knowledge of advanced architecture various times throughout the story) and dumbed her down to the level of a child. Gilman represented the woman during this time as nothing but a baby, placing Jane in a nursery and giving her no control whatsoever. By doing this, Gilman was able to emphasize the absolute lack of independence and power women had, pushing on the obvious fact of the underestimation of women, perhaps her goal in writing The Yellow Wallpaper.
            This story fits right in to the context of the nineteenth century. With women as nothing more than a tool, a domestic slave used for elementary tasks, Gilman does a fantastic job in emphasizing not only the reality of life for women during her time, but the unbelievable dangers of their treatment. The Yellow Wallpaper is an amazing story that was years beyond its time in regards to gender roles. Gilman touched on the issues relating to women in a subtle yet thrilling way that causes the reader to contemplate the larger issues and assumptions of men’s superiority in our society. Technically, this story could be extrapolated to society today. Although we are amazingly close to gender equality, women continue to fight for their rights to equal pay and more each day. Gilman’s lesson on the dangers of gender roles not only applicable today, but encourage women to continue their fight against their age-old assumptions of domestication.

Works Cited
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. The Yellow Wallpaper. N.p., n.d. United States Library of

Medicine. Web. 11 Mar. 2015.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Heart of Darkness

            Many literary critics have argued over time about the nature of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness: is it a work of Gothicism or not? According to Campbell, Gothic novels are made to create terror and to “open fiction to the realm of the irrational – perverse impulses, nightmarish terrors, obsessions – lying beneath the surface of the civilized mind,” (Campbell). With these points in mind, it’s clear that readers can assume Conrad’s famous novel is a work of Gothicism, specifically, a gothic horror.
            One of the major gothic aspects visible in Heart of Darkness is the clear gothic atmosphere. One of the most prominent examples of the darkness of the atmosphere is in the opening of the novel: “The air was dark above Gravesend, and farther back still seemed condensed into a mournful gloom, brooding motionless over the biggest, and the greatest, town on earth” (Conrad 2). Here, Conrad contrasts the neutral sea with the tainted land, now dark due to the inherent evilness of man. The atmosphere touches on the perverse impulses that man has, which are actually evil, initially creating an aura of Gothicism. The forest shown in the novel is also a major representation of the Gothic movement, explaining it as “motionless in the moonlight was like a rioting-invasion of soundless life…to sweep every little man of us out of his little existence” (Conrad 79). The forest, in a sense, holds the secrets of Kurtz and his weaknesses in regards to his “perverse impulses,” one of the main Gothic characteristics explained previously. Other examples of Gothic elements in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness are the fact that Kurtz sees a ghost, a “nightmarish terror” Campbell discussed in her explanation of Gothic novels.
            Although only a few examples of the Gothicism of Heart of Darkness were touched on, Gothic elements are extremely visible many more times throughout the novel, making Conrad’s famous work a clear piece of Gothic horror. 

Works Cited 
Campbell, Donna M. " Gothic, Novel, and Romance: Brief Definitions." Washington State University. N.p., 3 July 2014. Web. 8 Mar. 2015. 

Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness.NY, NY: W.W. Norton and Company, Inc., 1988.

Lipka, Jennifer. "The Horror! The Horror!: Joseph Conrad's Heart Of Darkness as a Gothic     Novel."Web. 8 Mar. 2015.