Aspects of American Novels
Symbol in “Bell Jar” Novel by Sylvia Plath Essay
Updated: Jun 29th, 2021
The titular bell jar In Sylvia Plath’s eponymous novel is symbolic of Esther’s condition because it serves as a metaphor for her depression. This symbolism is especially evident when the heroine reminiscences on her past experiences and reflects whether a “bell jar” would not descend upon her and distort her perception once again. The bell jar becomes a fitting symbol for depression because it is a barrier that, despite being fully transparent, is always there. Depression itself is a medical condition that does not manifest in evident physical symptoms, such as a rash or cough but is, nevertheless, completely real. Thus, the bell jar becomes a metaphor for a grave state of mind that oppresses and isolates Esther while staying mostly unnoticeable for those around her.
Another reason why the belle jar is symbolic of the heroine’s condition is also related to its transparency. One of the functions of the bell jar is decorative: it is meant to shield the objects from dust and other external impacts while also preserving their visibility – in other words, to display things safely. Esther, just as if she were under a bell jar, lives through her depressive experiences while being on display. For instance, one of the earliest manifestations of her depression comes during a photo-shoot, when she proves unable to hold a smile and bursts into tears instead. Thus, Esther’s depression begins when the heroine is on display, and anyone can see her. The heroine remains visible for everyone but grows increasingly lonely and depressed as she cannot make a human connection – just as an object under a bell jar, which one can look upon, but not touch.
This essay on Symbol in “Bell Jar” Novel by Sylvia Plath was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Character Arc in Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” Essay
Updated: Jun 5th, 2021
The main character of the story is Louise Mallard, who undergoes a series of traumatic and life-changing events, which end up killing her. The main weakness of Mrs. Mallard is her weak heart condition, which is one of the most significant pieces of information for the character arc development and culmination. The story manifests the main character’s high vulnerability to traumatic occurrences. However, it is clear that the given story must be analyzed and overviewed from the perspective of grief, which made a precise landmark on Louise Mallard’s character arc.
Of all aspects of human existence, Chopin was most interested in the inner, spiritual life of a woman and how it could be correlated with the role that society imposed on women. Without a doubt, the era and the family, where the foundations of gender identity are laid, greatly influenced the formation of the writer’s artistic world. It seems advisable to take a short excursion into the biography of Kate Chopin, where, perhaps, there are reasons explaining her unusual for the XIX century view of a woman as an independent, thinking person.
Mrs. Mallard experiences a severe amount of grief, even though she later realizes that the given loss possesses a number of benefits. The reaction of damage to the death of a loved one can be manifested by emotional shock with numbness or anxiety, crying, impaired sleep, appetite, constriction of consciousness on traumatic experiences, constant memories of the deceased, mental anguish (Stroebe 81). The main character had a dual emotional battle inside her because her husband passed away, but the story tells the readers that she did not like him very much. Mrs. Mallard says: “free, free, free!”, which clearly emphasizes the fact that there was a certain amount of dislike towards Mr. Mallard (Chopin 3). The reaction to the loss of a significant object is a specific mental process that develops according to its laws. This period of Mrs. Mallard’s life, accompanied by mourning, special attributes, and rituals, has an essential task – the adaptation of the subject who suffered the loss to a “new” life, life without a dead person. To date, there are no theories of grief that adequately explain how people cope with losses, why they experience different degrees of distress and types of pain, how and after what time they adapt to life without significant dead people. However, the case of Mrs. Mallard shows that a person can feel both joy and grief regarding a close person passing away. The main character undergoes a serious emotional and mental transformation when she had to cope with the loss.
It’s almost impossible to prepare for the death of a loved one, as Mrs. Mallard’s character arc shows. Even when death is expected, for example, a fatal diagnosis and a short time forecast from doctors. People, such as Mrs. Mallard, who find themselves in a similar situation and possessing complete information, all the same, cannot prepare themselves for the death of a loved one, they hope for a miracle, that everything will be fine. They do not want to believe in the approaching death of a relative or friend. What then to speak of sudden death when a person, for example, gets into a car accident. Thus, death situations can be divided into expected and unforeseen. Despite the fact that experiencing grief is a challenging process, the suddenness factor interferes with the scenario of sudden pain, which complicates the work of mourning. It consists of more unresolved issues, in the impossibility to somehow prepare for death, in the inability to say the last time “I love you,” “thank you” or “I really appreciate everything you did.”
As readers can observe from Mrs. Mallard’s character arc, losing a loved one is a situation anyone can face. Each person defines this event in his/her way, putting his/her unique meaning into it. At the same time, Mrs. Mallard who has suffered the death of a loved one accepts that this loss has characteristics such as irreversibility and significance. However, in most cases, not the event itself, but the situation of loss determines a person’s reaction to the death of a loved one. The way Mrs. Mallard reacts to loss is affected by a whole set of various factors, such as the situation of loss of a loved one; the significance of the figure of the deceased, the place that he/she occupied in the life of the “grieving.” It is also critical to take into account the presence or absence of a person in a situation of the death of a loved one, and the very personality of the survivor.
After the end of a loved one, Mrs. Mallard realizes that he/she will not be the same as before. He/she will feel confused, at a dead-end, a maze. Although Mrs. Mallard felt a certain amount of relief and joy, the overall sadness was still present throughout the story. A sufficiently large amount of time will have to pass so that the grieving person can fully understand and feel “who he or she is now” and see a new, that is, completely different, perspective in life. Before the death of a loved one, his/her life was arranged in a certain way. After such a serious loss, it completely and completely changed. His/her life “schedule,” environment, and other circumstances – everything has undergone enormous changes. For instance, the story explains that: “now her bosom rose and fell tumultuously” (Chopin 2). Accordingly, and therefore also he/she is no longer the same person as he/she was before. He/she lost the man who was part of him, his/her essence.
The main character undergoes a serious stage of contemplation, where she reevaluates her past sacrifices and prospects. Especially when considering this aspect, such a parameter as a social role is significant. The survivor had to be someone’s mom, sister, someone’s dad, cousin, grandfather. After the death of a loved one, of course, he/she remains a mother, sister, or grandfather, but only at the level of memories, in memory. In a real new life, this person is no longer there, and accordingly, the grieving person no longer fulfills that significant social role. It is not so easy to come to terms with such changes. Sometimes personality traits can undergo such strong changes that it may seem to a person as if he/she had completely lost himself. In this case, the survivor asks the question: “Do I really exist?” Somewhere far, far inside himself, he/she realizes that he/she is alive, but simply cannot accept the changes that have occurred to him/her so quickly, he/she does not understand how he/she can live on.
A particular difficulty lies in the fact that a person who finds himself in such a situation will have to re-understand and build his/her structure. More precisely, to answer the questions: “who am I?” “What do I want?” And “by what methods will I achieve my goals?” Often in the life of a person who is faced with the loss of a loved one, dramatic changes occur – from the place of work or the sphere of professional interests to the way of life as a whole. Most people, after the death of someone close to them, begin to value interpersonal relationships more, put a deeper meaning in the concepts of love, friendship, and care, and also pay less attention to the financial situation.
In conclusion, the elimination of cultural stereotypes in the prose of the writer occurs not only thanks to the original interpretation of the “female theme,” but also with the help of certain artistic techniques, such as mimicking literary clichés, and plot variability. The position of the two variants of the character’s fate within the same text, in a sense, anticipates the aesthetic experiments of postmodernism. In the work of Kate Chopin, many of the characteristic features of an entire era converged, but she managed to maintain her unique voice and, as time has shown, she became a truly great writer. The “interrupted flight” by Kate Chopin, the tragic break of her fate, the almost complete oblivion that followed her death, have now been replaced by widespread fame and deserved fame. Her works are an integral part of American literature at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries – turned out to be extremely consonant with the modern era with its revision of gender stereotypes and the active aesthetic development of the depths of female self-awareness.
Chopin, Kate. The Story of an Hour. Vogue, 1894.
Stroebe, Margaret. “The Poetry of Grief: Beyond Scientific Portrayal.” OMEGA – Journal of Death and Dying, vol. 78, no. 1, 2018, pp. 67-96.
This essay on Character Arc in Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Oates’ “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” Essay (Critical Writing)
Updated: Feb 1st, 2021
Oates’ “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” in relation to Bob Dylan’s song “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”
The end of Oates’ story is ambiguous as there is no specific answer to what will happen. Connie has just left her front porch. This is the information we can consider. Arnold Friend’s final words were said in a half-sung sigh “My sweet little blue-eyed girl” (Oates n.p.). These words are taken from the song by Bob Dylan. The whole story was written under the influence of this song. One of the main ideas of the song is security, as a girl in the song is offered to take what she needs and walk away, being sure that everything is going to be good.
The same feeling of security and better opportunities Arnold Friend wants to deliver to Connie, to make her understand that by being with him she is going to be protected. These words from the song made me understood that the author of the story wanted to show that Connie and Arnold were created for each other and they had to be together even though Arnold Friend had to frighten a girl and make her return to him.
The new morality of the ’60s as the setting of Oates’ story
The time when the story was written coincides with the change of morals people had. Youths’ behavior became unbearable, they did not want to listen to their parents, all that elder people believed in was ruined. This attitude to life is reflected in Connie’s behavior, “Connie’s mother kept picking at her until Connie wished her mother was dead” (Oates n.p.). The sexual revolution in the ’60s and the desire to go against society were also influential facts. Now parents are more tolerant of their children, they offer teens more freedom, so if the story were written now, the attitude to parents would be more respectful, teens would listen to their parents more. Thus, the attitude of boys to girls is different. Tank’s It Ain’t Worth might be the lyrics a story can be dedicated to.
Connie’s social reality and perception of Friend’s charm
Considering the social morals and Connie’s attitude to her life, it may be predicted that she wanted to have more new feelings and emotions. Taking an example of a boy Connie liked and who whispered to her “Gonna get you, baby” (Oates n.p.). The feeling of something new seemed exciting, which might be attractive for a girl. The desire to get more emotions could be one of the reasons why Connie liked a thirty-year-old. Her age and innocence played an important role as girls in 15-year-old age want to feel protection they might experience only with older men.
Connie as an innocent victim
Connie’s is shallow as “She was fifteen and she had a quick, nervous giggling habit of craning her neck to glance into mirrors or checking other people’s faces to make sure her own was all right” (Oates n.p.). She is vain as “right away someone leaned out a car window and invited them over, but it was just a boy from high school they didn’t like. It made them feel good to be able to ignore him” (Oates n.p.).
She is silly as she and her friend “went across the highway, ducking fast across the busy road, to a drive-in restaurant where older kids hung out… they sat at the counter and crossed their legs at the ankles” (Oates n.p.). She is hopeful as she dreams about a boy who whispered to her “Gonna get you, baby” (Oates n.p.) and doomed as she wished not only her mother was dead but “she was dead and it was all over” (Oates n.p.). “Unexpected gesture of heroism” is Connie’s behavior at the end of the story when she decides to go with Arnold Friend.
Religious aspects of the story
The religious passages in the story are necessary as they show Connie’s dual attitude to the religion. It seems that the youth of the ’60s have refused from God, but at the moments of higher excitement or emotional splash, parental stories about God appear in mind. This shows that the behavior of youth is just the desire to show something which does not appear to be the truth.
Oates, Joyce Carol. Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? Web.
This critical writing on Oates’ “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
“Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned” by Mosley Essay (Book Review)
Updated: Jan 30th, 2021
Is Socrates Fortlow a hero?
Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned focuses on a fictitious hero, Socrates Fortlow. He is an ex-convict living in Watts, a black neighborhood in Los Angeles following his release from prison for killing two people. Having learnt from prison life, he makes a living by collecting cans and later in a Supermarket. He is legitimately trying to live life better and an advocate for his community.
Instances making Socrates a hero are numerous. However, one notable one is when he encounters a ‘businessman’ who is boasting of his wealth in a neighborhood dinner. As he interrogates the businessman to find out how he makes his wealth, the man proudly declares he does not rob his fellow ‘blacks’ but dresses funky and snatches purses in “white” neighborhood parking area. He later dresses in suit to wade off suspicion and drive imported fancy cars.
He aggrieves Socrates after noting that he was robbing fellow ‘blacks’. “…when you are done, people going to look at me like am dirt. They fear me because you were pretending to be me, stealing from them” (Mosley 49). In the Marvane Street, Socrates exposes police racist mentality on the way they handle ‘blacks’. He notes, “they worried ‘bout them young Negroes. They fear they could be making bombs. Even worse, they will get other blacks to vote… black police spying black college kids… this is not law” (Mosley 88-89). It takes police fifteen minutes to respond to calls in the black community. For whites, they do not keep a peep.
Socrates offers street justice that the area never got the police. He reasons that the incidences are because of racial prejudice. However, he rises above this belief that ‘blacks’ are inferior. He does not let it stand in the way of his survival. Despite of criminal past, he is a hero. He solves a number of disputes of life in his community. Socrates is a logic thinker and analyses situation beyond clear consequences of conduct.
How is the theme of redemption played out in this story?
The theme of redemption is evident in the entire story. The main character, Socrates, was a criminal in the past. However, he is currently advocating for integrity in his community. He earns a living by doing a real job not using criminal means. He was able to achieve his job success because he was patient, persistent and true to his resolutions and newly adopted irreproachable morals.
Socrates managed to get a job under conditions as bizarre as those of Bounty Supermarket did. He notes ‘if I do not work, cannot afford a phone’. On the other hand, he claims ‘If I don’t have a phone then I cannot work’ (Mosley 76). He insisted on going to Bounty until when he got a job there. He says if he did come to check on his would be bosses they would not consider him because probably they threw out his application already… ‘am not a kid, am fifty-eight years on and unemployed and, therefore, not hear old age benefits, if I don’t get a job I will starve’ (Mosley 58). Socrates later encourages Darryl “to take control of his life and stand up for himself against oppression and the harsh world” (Mosley 59). This is a way of redeeming himself from getting into criminal life or succumbing to harassment from others.
In the incident where Darryl fights Phillip, Socrates thinks that was brave when Darryl took Phillip’s gun to defend him. … ‘You stood for yourself, Darryl’ (Mosley 131). He insisted that what a black person was supposed to do, fight for him. As Darryl cries that the boys he fought would still get him, Socrates encourages him that the principal part was that Darryl stood for himself and the rest he would handle it.
How does Socrates seek an alternate path in the story?
Socrates is extraordinarily smart, confident and experienced having gone through serious trouble in life. He spent time behind bars and knows too well, how the system can be dangerous. He also understands the law and uses it in his defense whenever confronted with challenging situations.
At the beginning of the story, Socrates meets Darryl at six in the daybreak. He is on his way out of the alley to see Billy, his rooster, because he did not hear him crow. He saw a boy at the fence. The boy was barely twelve years but Socrates knew convicts well, he saw a convict stare in him. The boy turns away. Socrates grabs him only to find Billy dead. He drags the boy to his house where he makes him cook the rooster he killed. This is not ideal for an ex-convict.
He could have gotten angry with Darryl for killing his rooster and probably beating him up thoroughly. However, his experience from prison, he knew a better way of dealing with the case and later in the chapter Darryl admits killing a retarded brother.
At Bounty supermarket, the conversation with Anton Crier is an enthralling -‘I came for an application’. He begins. The phrase he practiced the entire day so that he would be polite to his would be boss, who was merely a boy according to him. Anton Crier asks him of his age. Realizing that Socrates was supremely confident, Crier dismisses him asking him to come back later when school are open. He then wanted to leave Socrates standing. However, Socrates grabs him and repeats ‘I came for an application’.
Socrates exercises a fantastic deal of self-control to be polite to other people because he understands that they best way of fighting for his rights was just to speak out. He had travelled a long distance to that place. He hoped to get the application and that someone would stand up for him. As much as he felt Crier did not like him because he was older, he did not get violent with him. He strongly showed his determination to get an application.
Mosley, Walter. Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned. New York: Washington Square Press, 1998. Print.
This book review on “Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned” by Mosley was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Immigrants in “The Tortilla Curtain” by Boyle Essay (Book Review)
Updated: Jan 30th, 2021
Tensions related to illegal workers and their role in southern Californian society as depicted in the novel
When the author Delaney Mossbacher (a columnist) knocks Candido Rincon (an illegal immigrant) on Los Angeles highway, a platform is developed for addressing conflicts between the rich and the poor, prejudice of culture, as well as social responsibility. Delaney, Candido and their wives live in Topanga Canyon in Southern California. However, they are always on the opposing ends of the Tortilla Curtain.
The immigrant and illegal workers are theorized as trying to live the American dream. The elite Americans live in the gated community, while the immigrants live in congested camps. In fact, white people consider themselves superior, being in upper middle class like Delaney. Immigrants stand out as irresponsible and exploit America. They wage war on them, which is an irony because the same workers are the ones who provide cheap labor to people like Delaney.
Instead of appreciating them, they view immigrants as “immigrant blight’ infecting America” (Boyle 209). Just like Candido, many immigrants from Mexico want to move to the US to work viewing it as a land of opportunities where they will be free from filth and sickness, free from la chota and immigration (Boyle 27). Because of lack of access to low income housing, Candido and other immigrants are forced to live in makeshift houses in the on “street corner labor markets and bush encampments” (Boyle 209).
Arroyo Blanco residents’ view overlooks the fact that the immigrant offer cheap labor. They want to stay separated from them completely. They feel that the immigrant are polluting the environment and just invading. Delaney feels that the Homeless Candido was living in ‘his’ adored canyon. “He made Topanga state park his, trashing the place and polluting the stream. That place was supposed to be state property’’ (Boyle 11).
Portrayal of the Rincóns and the Mossbachers families in the novel
The novel is fair in terms of portrayal of the viewpoints of the two couples though it can be contentious based on different readers’ interpretations. Many Americans would like the immigrants to leave. However, it is true that the American economy depends on these immigrants. The immigrants also depend on America for jobs and survival.
The immigrants do not demand a minimum wage as American would do. In fact, if American would pay minimum wages to every worker, then inflation would ruin the country. Moreover, the notion of citizenship started by immigrants who fought the Native Americans and then settled to claim the land, hundreds of years later they are afraid of immigrants! Candido understood remarkably well that he was not to enter the gates of Arroyo Blancho.
However, he did not resent to it and neither did it bother him. He was not envious since he did not need million dollars (Boyle 166). He believed that was fate. If he were meant to have that money, he would have won a lottery. All he needed was to work hard, mixing concrete, digging holes and hustling the best he could with plastic and metals to build houses that stood beautifully (Boyle 166).
From this passage, Candido does not suffer entitlement problem like Americans. For instance, Delaney was a liberal humanist, a club member (Sierra club). He also worked for Save the Children where he was a democrat and an activist for National wildlife federation and everyone to Arroyo Blancho read his column (Boyle 43). Definitely, the immigrants helped build the estate. Therefore, determining who is at fault was difficult. Was it Americans for keeping minimal wage too low for a decent life, or immigrants for accepting the meager wages?
Satire in the novel
Their social problems are addressed in a distorted and racist manner by both couples in the novel. At thanksgiving thrown by Homeowner’s association, Jack and Delaney think that the more they provide for immigrants the more they want. Jack posses a question about how they “continue giving them yet California has an unemployment rate of 10%” (Boyle 192). Delaney raises concerns of capitalism dynamics – the floods cleaned up labor exchange. Then, where were immigrants supposed to go? (Boyle 193). Delaney doubted the possibility of returning to Mexico, using a metaphor of how animals reacted to displacement. They would fight. This was a sad fact but true (Boyle 193).
Delaney notes that the fires like the one caused by Candido were normal in the area. It could still have happened without the turkey. Satirically, the rich are safe and are insured. They only watched it on television. “They hoped for reprieve, and hoped they were watching an old footage of the Dresden Bombing” (Boyle 271). Candido wanders before defecating in the stream, “much septic fields from the mountains [Arroyo Blacho]…how many houses packed up were leaching wastes into streams that were used by creeks” (Boyle 53).
He terms a hip of garbage as refuse of the rich. Delaney conversely refers to it as dump in Tijuana. He jokes that Candido would escape disaster by climbing on that trashmore! However, they would not escape flooding of culvert, which would flush them like a waste in a toilet (Boyle 329).
The ordinary taxpayers foot these costs in the aftermath of fires to take care of reconstruction and insurance. This shames both couples to coexist and work together to better Canyon. Pollution shames them against that destroying the environment; rather take it as a joint responsibility to care for it since consequences would affect everyone.
Boyle, Coraghessan. The Tortilla Curtain. New York: Penguin, 1996. Print.
This book review on Immigrants in “The Tortilla Curtain” by Boyle was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” as a Gothic Horror Tale Essay
Updated: Jan 29th, 2021
In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s epistolary Gothic horror tale, the monster’s part is played by family, medicine and society. Gilman uses setting, character and irony to demonstrate the damage to women from oppressive marriage, medical paternalism, and societal expectations. Over the course of intermittent diary entries, the narrator chronicles her descent from mere postpartum depression (Merced, A Case of Postpartum Depression in “The Yellow Wallpaper”, Part 1 ) into madness, hastened along her downward plunge by a putatively solicitous family, assiduous but misguided medical care, and an enviable seaside setting for recuperation.
She responds with the only weapons she possesses: writing in her secret journal, weeping, whimsy, apparent submission, dissimulation, withdrawal, and eventually, dissociation. Gilman, regards women as deserving of greater consideration than was accorded to this “little girl” (Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper 553). Gilman’s story also advocates indirectly for all mentally ill individuals: for their humane, thoughtful, and personalized treatment (Gilman, Why I Wrote “The Yellow Wallpaper”).
The narrator is characterized as sympathetic and self-deprecating character, rather than a self-indulgent malingerer. She laments, “I wish I could get well faster.” She regrets feeling “ basely ungrateful” for her husband’s care (Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper 548). She is acutely perceptive, sensing, early on, jarring dissonances in the situation, for example, the availability of a “colonial mansion” for short-term rental (Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper 547). She does not, however, trust her own judgment, since,
“If a physician of high standing, and one’s own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter…what is one to do?
My brother is also a physician…and he says the same thing. “ (Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper 547)
John dismisses the vapors of his “blessed little goose” (Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper 549). (This is almost a tease for ‘gaslighting’ (Dirks) but is not confirmed). She cannot communicate her distress because “he is so wise, and because he loves me so” (Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper 553). This is a deeply ironic statement, since love should make us more sensitive to the needs of a loved one, not less. When she expresses anger or frustration at his medical choices or attitude, his patronizing response stifles her.
She tells us, “But John says if I feel so, I shall neglect proper self-control; so I take pains to control myself – before him, at least, and that makes me very tired” (Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper 548). Anyone who has dealt with depression knows that unexpressed anger is exhausting and destructive. This is a double dose of blindness on his part: paternalistic sexism and medical arrogance, and is ultimately devastating to her recovery.
We are also cued that this character is an intelligent, accomplished writer who misses her “congenial work”, “society” and “stimulus” (Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper 548) “advice and companionship” (Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper 550). John notes her “imaginative power and habit of story-making” (Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper 550). Instead of pursuing her beloved avocation, she can now merely “dress and entertain, and order things” (Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper 549), take “journeys, and air, and exercise” (Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper 547) and be, “absolutely forbidden to “work” (Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper 547) CITATION Gil p 552 l 1033 .
She is largely solitary, save for her “perfect and enthusiastic housekeeper” (Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper 551) sister-in-law, who blames her writing for her disorder, John is often away on call. She is isolated from her baby, since, as she says, “I cannot be with him, it makes me so nervous” (Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper 540). This deprives her of the calming and uplifting effects of oxytocin (Merced, A Case of Postpartum Depression in “The Yellow Wallpaper” , Part 2), and probably adds guilt for her inadequacy. Ironically, because sleep deprivation often exacerbates postpartum distress, she has sleep derangements anyway CITATION Gil p 552 l 1033 , since she says, “I don’t sleep much at night, for it is so interesting to watch developments; but I sleep a good deal in the daytime” (Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper 555) CITATION Gil p 552 l 1033 .
In the face of “heavy opposition” (Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper 547) to her writing, which could be the very means of processing her feelings1, she chooses to “let it alone and talk about the house” (Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper 548).
Her setting then, becomes a character in her narrative. She spends time observing the ”optic horror” (Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper 552) of the wallpaper, an exercise “as good as gymnastics“ (Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper 549) She hates if for its hideous pattern, “smouldering unclean yellow” (Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper 549) color that wipes off on clothing, and for her idiosyncratic perception of a ubiquitous “yellow smell” (Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper 556)2.
We read myriad clues to the building’s painful sanitarium past. There are rings, bars, gates, fixed bed, clawed surfaces, and an odd wall smooch, “rubbed over and over “ (Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper 556) in an endless round of obsessive, compulsive zoo behavior, and in general, “something strange”) (Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper 548).
Immured without constructive activity, she engages with this hideous wallpaper. She begins to hallucinate the prescence of a woman trapped the pattern, but sometimes perceived creeping “as fast as a cloud shadow in a high wind” from out her windows (Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper 556). This woman could symbolize her oppressed self, hiding her crawling (impaired, non-human?) identity “under the blackberry vines” (Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper 556).
She finally literally interacts with the room, pulling the wallpaper off to liberate the trapped ‘woman’, hiding a rope, gnawing her bed, considering defenestration, fitting her shoulder into the smooch and crawling), and eventually locking herself in.
Fully dissociated, she sees her husband as a stranger, creeping over his unconscious body. She identifies with the wallpaper-trapped women (plural now). However, she declares triumphantly that, “I’ve got out at last,” and “ you can’t put me back! ” (Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper 559).
The narrator thus escapes (if only mentally), the confinement of her family, doctor, and sanitarium, all of which have driven her to this point. Although John’s fundamental decency shows by his swooning (Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper 559), Gilman pleads for us to acknowledge that oppressive systems, no matter how lovingly imposed, are damaging to women, and all who suffer mental disorders.
Dirks, Tim. “Gaslight (1944).” 2010. Filmsite. Web.
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Abcarian, Richard, Marvin Klotz and Samuel Cohen. Literature: The Human Experience: Reading and Writing. Bedford: St. Martin’s Press, 1996. 547-559.
—. “Why I Wrote “The Yellow Wallpaper”.” The Forerunner (1913).
Merced, Charleen. A Case of Postpartum Depression in “The Yellow Wallpaper”, Part 1. 2004. Web.
—. A Case of Postpartum Depression in “The Yellow Wallpaper” , Part 2. 2004. Web.
CITATION Gil p 552 l 1033 This would be the ideal treatment for a serious concussion, wherein the brain must heal over time, and anything that robs glucose or blood flow from that task is to be avoided (even video games).
CITATION Gil p 552 l 1033 (even without babycare responsibilities).
CITATION Gil p 552 l 1033 She is also being treated with phosphates, a powerful source of phosphorous. Freshman Biology teaches us that while necessary for life, too much phosphorous can cause the body to excrete other minerals, like Calcium and Magnesium, both of which are important for relaxation and sleep.
- “But I must say what I think and feel – it is such a relief!” (Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper 552).
- The phenomenon of e mixture of visual and olfactory sensations is symptomatic of some mental disorders and brain injuries, and is called Synesthesia.
This essay on Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” as a Gothic Horror Tale was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” Story by J. Thurber Report (Assessment)
Updated: Dec 31st, 2020
From where do Walter Mitty’s ideas of heroism seem to come from?
The brain is the media in which the heroism of Walter Mitty’s ideas was derived. The short story takes us through a roller-coaster ride by changing at the beginning of different scenes caused by interruptions. It is impossible for one to be in a fighter jet and later be in his car, driving the wife to the beauty parlor. The scenes that portray Walter Mitty as a hero are happening in his imagination. In the first heroic scene, he is powering a navy hydroplane.
However, in the second scene, he becomes a brilliant surgeon and helps repair a broken machine. In the third scene of heroism, he is in a courtroom answering for a trial. The fourth scene presents him as he wants to volunteer, taking off a warplane so that he can fight the war against Germany. All these scenes are in his imagination, and they are triggered by his surroundings.
Why does Walter Mitty pretend?
There can be two possible reasons as to why Walter Mitty pretends. The first is because he has a mental challenge. This can be proved when the wife suggests that he sees Dr. Renshaw, and while waiting for her in the lobby, she wanted to check his temperature as soon as they got back home. Additionally, he feels he is unworthy in the real world, and the environment around him trigger his actions. Flying a hydroplane was triggered by driving. The ideology of being a brilliant surgeon was triggered by wearing gloves. The scene in which Walter is answering to a trial case was triggered by his forgetfulness of the things his wife sent him and volunteering to fight Germany is triggered by a newspaper with the headline “Can Germany Conquer the World through the Air?”
What do we expect to happen that doesn’t happen in this story?
Our expectations concerning the ending of the imaginary stories are all incomplete. As a result, they are also affected by interruptions in the real world. As he was powering the navy hydroplane, they were ready to launch out missile number 8.
As soon as they are about to launch, the scene is switched back. Another example is shown as he was about to start a surgery procedure. He had his coat on, and the nurse was about to hand him a shining tool. Another unexpected end was in the courtroom when he answered a question, and pandemonium broke in the courtroom. He was about to say something, and the scenes changed back to the store. As he was facing the firing squad, it is totally unclear whether he survived or died in the process. It is also uncertain if the last scene was also part of his imagination.
What is the dissonance that needs to be resolved in this story?
Dissonance is a discomfort that is caused by holding emotional reactions and ideas. Being in this state, a person might be feeling angry, embarrassed, or surprised. As much as Walter Mitty is living in the real world, he cannot help himself become a hero in his imagination. Circumstances and situations that make him feel inferior are counteracted by thoughts that are playing in his mind.
People that have encountered him think that his behavior is weird, but the daydreams bring fulfillment to his life. I believe there are three ways that the dissonance is resolved. The first is by the wife, always keeping him in check of his well-being. The second is when he is rudely interrupted by the policeman and the parking-lot attendant. The order makes him regain his sanity. Lastly, for his wife to suggest a doctor’s idea, it indicates that all his rationality was being restored.
This assessment on “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” Story by J. Thurber was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Psychology in Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” Essay
Updated: Jan 16th, 2021
One of the reasons why Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story The Yellow Wallpaper has traditionally been referred to as such that constitutes a high literary and philosophical value is that in it, the author succeeded in providing readers with an in-depth insight into what should be considered the emerging symptoms of one’s mental illness. Moreover, despite the fact that Gilman wrote this particular story at the time when psychology/psychiatry was remaining in an essentially embryonic state, in The Yellow Wallpaper she proved herself as a rather efficient psychologist, who never ceased being fully aware of what accounted for the conceptual deficiency of the late 19th century’s psychiatric conventions (Quawas 36). In my paper, I will aim to explore the validity of this thesis at length.
Psychological aspects of the short story
The reading of Gilman story’s few initial lines suggests that the reason why the narrator and her husband John decided to spend the summer in a secluded mansion is that this was supposed to help improving the narrator’s mental condition, as she would be spared of socialization-related distresses. According to Treichler, “Her (narrator’s) physical isolation was in part designed to remove her from the possibility of over-stimulating intellectual discussion” (61).
Nevertheless, even though that John was aware of the fact that there was a certain abnormality to his wife’s behavior, he continued denying that her mental anxieties had to be taken seriously, “You see he (John) does not believe I am sick!” (Gilman 1). Partially, the narrator herself provides an explanation as to why, despite having been an accomplished physician, John nevertheless continued referring to his wife’s pleas for help in a thoroughly arrogant manner, “John does not know how much I really suffer.
He knows there is no reason to suffer, and that satisfies him” (2). This narrator’s remark helps us to understand the essence of John’s failure to prescribe his wife with the conceptually appropriate therapy, which in turn created objective preconditions for her to keep descending into madness. Apparently, just as it used to be the case with the majority of physicians at the end of the 19th century, John believed that the reason why some people tend to act in a clearly neurotic manner is that they simply do not apply enough conscious effort, while trying to suppress their visually observable mental angst.
The explanation for this is quite apparent – during the course of a given historical period, it never occurred to physicians that it is specifically the unconscious aspects of an individual psyche’s functioning that define his or her conscious stance in life, and not vice versa. Partially, this had to do with the fact that, throughout the course of this period, the discursive influence of Christianity remained comparatively strong. And, as we are being well aware of, Christianity promotes the assumption that there is a structural unity to one’s soul (psyche), which is why it cannot consist of mutually incompatible elements.
Therefore, there is nothing particularly odd about the fact in the late 19th century, the majority of physicians still continued to regard the emanations of one’s mental instability as being of an essentially physiological nature, “(In 19th century) Psychical factors came to be regarded merely as the products of certain yet-to-be determined neuro-physiological processes” (Caplan 7). This is why, even though that throughout the course of her stay at the mansion, the narrator was exhibiting more and more indications of her mental state’s continual deterioration, John could not come up with anything better but to prescribe his wife to lead a socially withdrawn lifestyle, as it was supposed to calm her down.
Apparently, John could never bring himself to consider the possibility that the worsening of his wife’s mental condition had nothing to do with purely environmental factors, which is why he continued insisting that the key to her rehabilitation was a plenty of food and sleep, “John says I mustn’t lose my strength, and has me take cod liver oil and lots of tonics and things, to say nothing of ale and wine and rare meat” (4). It appears that it simply never occurred to John that the reason why his wife was feeling progressively more disturbed is that she has been deliberately spared of an opportunity to lead a normal life.
The reading of Gilman’s story also suggests that there was another reason why John proved himself unable to properly diagnose his wife and to intervene the process of his loved one succumbing to insanity. This is because, while acting as a physician, who should have been trying to expand of his intellectual horizons, John never made even a single attempt to reconsider the legitimacy of his male-chauvinistic prejudices towards women.
In its turn, this explains why, despite the fact that he continued observing more and more signs that there was something definitely wrong with his wife; he refused to consider these signs’ possible significance. It simply could not be otherwise – in John’s mind, the narrator’s mental anxieties were simply confirming the validity of a male-chauvinistic presumption that, just as it being the case with all women, his wife was naturally predisposed to grow hysterical from time to time, “If… one’s own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression – a slight hysterical tendency – what is one to do?” (1).
In other words, John thought of his wife having been less human, as compared to what he believed was the case with himself, because she experienced a hard time, while trying to keep her irrational impulses under control (Cutter 153).
Hence, the ‘therapy’, with which the narrator was prescribed by her husband, “He (John) says no one but myself can help me out of it (depression), that I must use my will and self-control and not let any silly fancies run away with me” (5). It is needless to say, of course, that the application of this kind of ‘therapy’ could hardly produce any positive results, because it was based on a thoroughly fallacious assumption that the unconscious workings of one’s psyche can be subjected to a conscious control. Yet, contemporary psychoanalysts know that this is far from being the case. Quite on the contrary – one’s conscious attempts to suppress the unconscious workings of his or her psyche can only result in the worsening of the concerned individual’s overall mental condition.
This is exactly the reason why, as time went on, the narrator was becoming ever more delirious – the mere fact that, in full accordance with John’s advice, she tried to disregard the symptoms of depression, caused her mental despair to continue becoming even more acute. This is because, apart from experiencing depression, on the account of her inability to lead a socially productive lifestyle, she started to grow progressively worried about her self-presumed inability to live up to John’s expectations.
Predictably enough, it created yet additional precondition for the narrator to continue losing her grip on things, because without being able to articulate her own unconscious fears, she allowed them to accumulate deep inside her sub-consciousness – hence, making it only the matter of time before they would break out of their psychic confinement into the realm of the main character’s consciousness. After it happened, the narrator’s ability to indulge in a rationale-based reasoning sustained an irreparable damage, because at the end of Gilman’s story she started to behave as a maniacally obsessed schizophrenic, endowed with the fictitious sense of self-identity (Bak 44).
Thus, it will not be much of an exaggeration to suggest that The Yellow Wallpaper can be referred to as a particularly powerful indictment of what used to account for the 19th century’s approaches to the treatment of mental illnesses in America. Apparently, besides having been scientifically illegitimate, these approaches were also perceptually arrogant. The fact that such an accomplished physician as John allowed his wife’s mild depression to develop into a full-scaled schizophrenia validates the appropriateness of this statement.
I believe that the earlier deployed line of argumentation, as to the fact that the story’s main character may be well considered a victim of the 19th century’s healthcare conventions, is being fully consistent with the paper’s initial thesis. In its turn, this explains why, despite having been written in 1892, Gilman’s story continues to emanate an undermined literary appeal. This simply could not be otherwise, because in The Yellow Wallpaper, the author succeeded in outlining the discursive principles of what will later become known as the methodology of psychoanalysis, based upon the assumption that people’s behavior reflects the essence of their unconscious anxieties.
Treichler, Paula. “Escaping the Sentence: Diagnosis and Discourse in ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’.” Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature 3.1/2 (1984): 61-77. Print.
The main idea that is being explored throughout the course of Treichler article’s entirety can be conceptualized as follows: the reason why John proved himself incapable of properly diagnosing the essence of his wife’s mental inadequateness is that, while assessing the significance of her depression-symptoms, he relied upon his rationale-driven masculine logic. Author attests that the very concept of ‘diagnosis’, in the traditional sense of this word, is by definition discursively arrogant, “(Diagnosis) is a male voice that privileges the rational, the practical, and the observable” (65).
In its turn, this has led Treichler to suggest that there is a symbolic meaning to John’s attempts to help the narrator to attain an emotional comfortableness with the room, in which she was confined – apparently, he wanted to make sure that his wife would never be in a position to challenge his patriarchal authority. Therefore, according to Treichler, John’s diagnosis of his wife’s mental condition can be discussed in terms of a ‘sentence’ – by prescribing her with the ‘therapy’ of bellyful idleness, John was unconsciously trying to deny the narrator her basic humanity.
I think that in her article, Treichler came up with a number of discursively relevant observations. The author also needs to be given a credit for making the line of her reasoning logically substantiated. At the same time, however, Treichler’s argumentation, in regards to the discussed subject matter, cannot be referred to as such that represents an undeniable truth-value. This is because in her article, the author made a deliberate point in representing herself as a hard-core feminist, which I believe undermined the extent of this article’s objectiveness.
Bak, John. “Escaping the Jaundiced Eye: Foucauldian Panopticism in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’.” Studies in Short Fiction 31.1 (1994), 39-46. Print.
Caplan, Eric. Mind Games: American Culture and the Birth of Psychotherapy, Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998. Print.
Cutter, M. “The Writer as Doctor: New Models of Medical Discourse in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Later Fiction.” Literature and Medicine 20.2 (2001): 151-182. Print.
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins 1892, The Yellow Wallpaper. Web.
Quawas, Rula. “A New Woman’s Journey into Insanity: Descent and Return in The Yellow Wallpaper.” AUMLA: Journal of the Australasian Universities Modern Language Association 105 (2006): 35-53. Print.
Treichler, Paula. “Escaping the Sentence: Diagnosis and Discourse in ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’.” Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature 3.1/2 (1984): 61-77. Print.
This essay on Psychology in Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Narrator in “The Cathedral” by Raymond Carver Essay
Updated: Dec 29th, 2020
The narrator in Carver’s “The Cathedral” is selfish and egocentric. When the blind man (Robert) arrives in the house, the narrator invites him to have a seat as they convene for dinner. Because the narrator does not want the blind man into his house, he does little to welcome the visitor or make him comfortable (Carver Para. 3). There is total silence during the dinner. The narrator is more concerned with eating than engaging his visitor in a fruitful talk. When he says that they did not talk, it shows that he was more focused on eating. Also, the narrator is a domineering man; he has never entertained his wife’s idea relating to any other man; therefore, his wife’s relationship with the blind man leaves him suspicious.
The narrator lacks compassion and has a negative personality. At the beginning of the story, he says that a blind visitor visits them; this clearly shows how he despises blind people and how unhappy he is with the visit. Conventionally, the narrator should refer to the ‘blind man’ by his name, Robert, because he knows Robert by his name. However, the narrator is not at ease with the situation, for he feels that the blind man is intruding on his life.
After the dinner, he deliberately continues to describe what he sees on the television, being aware that the blind man cannot see; this is ridiculous because one would expect people to sympathize with the likes of Robert. The narrator’s insensitivity and probably hatred for the blind man come out when he gives Robert a paper and a pen to draw a cathedral; this is very rude because he knows his condition.
The narrator is flawed. He ought to address many serious issues in his life. For example, he struggles to continue a career that he does not like just because he cannot figure out how to quit. He smokes marijuana, drinks excessively, and lacks control of whatever he says. The narrator is very antisocial, as evidenced by his failure to share his frustration with anyone, including his wife. For example, he is not able to discuss Roberts’s case with his wife.
The cathedral, their subject of conversation with Robert, is a metaphor that allows us to see the character’s spiritual weakness. In the story, the writer portrays the cathedral as beautiful and inspiring to people through its architecture, design, and purpose. Hence, the cathedral is just a way of reaching the narrator to change his perception of life and consequently change his character. Fortunately, as the story closes, the narrator changes his character.
According to Bergson’s theory, time is the determinant factor for change. This theory significantly influences the narrator’s character in this novel. Initially, the narrator’s perception of the blind man is very negative, but in the end, he gains insight, and his eyes open.
The theme of blindness in this story is very significant to the narrator’s character. For example, when Robert requests the narrator to close his eyes and continue drawing, a thought crosses the narrator’s mind, and he changes the perception of life. He experiences a possible change in life. Finally, the narrator learns the goodness in Robert and has no reason to be suspicious of their relationship with his wife. His social life changes, including his marriage life.
Carver, Raymond. “The Cathedral.” Weekend Short Story, 2009. Web.
This essay on Narrator in “The Cathedral” by Raymond Carver was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Symbols in Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” Report
Updated: Dec 28th, 2020
Hills like white elephants by Ernest Hemingway is the story under discussion. It abounds with different symbols which may be interpreted in different ways. Abortion and the relation of people to it is the central theme of the story which offers a lot of topics for discussion. The relationships between a man and a woman, the differences of attitude to pregnancy and life in general, the seriousness of relationships, and the ability to grow up and bear the responsibility for the actions.
Coming closer to the discussion of symbols in the story, the setting of the story should be referred to. A man and a woman are sitting at the café located at the railway station “between two lines of rails in the sun” (Hemingway, 1998, p. 211). Isn’t it symbolic? The points of view of the girl and her companion are different in the relation to a child and this location may symbolize their parting. What touches my attention greatly is the side of the station.
At the beginning of the story, it is understood that a man and a woman are sitting in the shady side of the station where “the warm shadow of the building and a curtain, made of strings of bamboo beads, hung across the open door into the bar” (Hemingway, 1998, p. 211).
This part of the story symbolizes hope, the girl hopes that the man is going to change his point of view about the unborn child. At the same time, the author describes another side of the station where “there was no shade and no trees” (Hemingway, 1998, p. 211). At the end of the story, a man offers to “take the bags over to the other side of the station” (Hemingway, 1998, p. 214), where no hope for childbirth and their relations is seen.
Hemingway, E. (1998). Hills like white elephants. The complete short stories of Ernest Hemingway. New York: Simon and Schuster.
This report on Symbols in Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants” was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.