Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" To Essay

Length: 2 pages Sources: 3 Subject: Literature Type: Essay Paper: #61275011 Related Topics: Devil In The White City, Yellow Wallpaper, Little Miss Sunshine, Golf
Excerpt from Essay :

¶ … Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" to F. Scott Fitzgerald's "Winter Dreams" writing styles; James Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues" compare to my own life.

Modernism vs. postmodernism

Over the course of the late 19th and early 20th century, American literature began to turn inward. Instead of looking to outer manifestations of the human character, American authors began to use interior monologues as a way of creating a narrative arc. Stories such as "The Yellow Wallpaper," "Winter Dreams," and "Sonny's Blues" manifest the characteristics of both realism and modernism in the ways that they address relatively mundane subject matter, such as failed familial and romantic relationships. They also begin to show signs of the fragmented, postmodern narrative style which is more fully realized in Baldwin's "Winter Dreams." But their main, characteristic feature is the degree to which they use mundane details in the style of realism and the psychological state of the character in the modernist style to create suspense and drama, versus more traditional exciting exterior plot turns.

In Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper," the heroine is on an enforced 'rest cure' from which she is banned from all stimulating activity, including intellectual activity. The story is narrated in a first-person, limited narrative style and the reader must carefully discern what is real from what are merely the


Realism is manifest in the rather mundane details chronicled by the main character, such as the wallpaper of her room, the fact she has just had a baby, and the frustrations of her marriage. However, the fragmented narrative style and her unreliability underline the modernism inherent to Gilman's feminist project. Ultimately the woman's madness is shown in her delusion when she believes that another woman is trapped by the dreadful yellow wallpaper of her room. The discrepancy between her perceptions of reality and the truth are shown early on in the narrative. However, it is not only her point-of-view that is warped -- other characters clearly do not see her suffering, or understand her true needs. Gilman's tale shows some gestures towards postmodernism given fact that no one knows 'the truth' -- the husband's view that a lack of stimulation will cure her causes her madness and is no less insane than the narrator's frustrations and paranoia about the imaginary woman's physical entrapment. However the story's meaning is clear, namely the evils that are done to women in the name of protecting them.

In "Winter Dreams" F. Scott Fitzgerald uses third-person, omniscient narrative to tell a realistic tale of the failed class and romantic aspirations of the main character Dexter. Dexter is financially successful but unable to marry the upper class woman he loves, Judy Jones. The realistic nature of the story is manifested, as in Gilman, with its rather mundane structure and details. The story begins at a golf course where Dexter…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Baldwin, James. Sonny's Blues. Wright University. Web. 1 Aug 2012.

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. "Winter Dreams." Electronic Text Center, University of South Carolina.

1 Aug 2012.

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. "The Yellow Wallpaper." Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library. 1 Aug 2012.

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