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A Summary and Overview of the Yellow Wallpaper
The Yellow Wallpaper is a short story authored by Charlotte Perkins and first published in 1982. The first person approach is used in the narrative to depict representatives of the gender roles and cultural practices during the Victorian era. The story is well thought-out as a convincing work of the feminist literature. The story describes a childlike obedience and submissive nature of women to men, who are considered to be the authoritative figures in the twentieth century. The storyteller is destitute because she is unable to express her own needs (Gilman 10). Her husband, named John, takes her to a country house on a vacation where she would rest during her recovery from a nervous disorder. She is confined to the third floor of the house in a room with huge yellow wallpaper. It is in this room that she is restricted like a child from the intellectual activities such as reading and writing. She is confined to the world of solitude, infantilism, and defenselessness. As a result of the deprivation of the intellectual stimulation, the narrator imagines the world behind the wallpaper, where women are forced to wait helplessly upon the mercy of the superior men. In the end, she does away with the wallpaper signifying her liberty and independence from the male domination.
Reaction to the Endings of the Film and the Story “The Yellow Wallpaper”
The narration of the short story and the film rely storyline of the Yellow Wallpaper. The film and the short story have the same ending. An exploration of the endings shows that it is strange, confusing, and odd. The narrator of the story experiences weird moments when she locks herself in a room and throws the door key out the window. In this context, she is in a fight with the wallpaper and she tears it off the wall. She tries to free up the confined women behind the wallpaper. She is scaring herself and everyone else around. When her husband, John, arrives,he tries to open the door. At this time, the narrator is worried, frustrated, and annoyed. She says, “It is no use, young man, you can’t open it” (Gilman 28). Later, she changes her mind and says, “…the key is down by the front step, under the plantain leaf!” At this moment, John is terrified when the narrator says, “I’ve got out at last…in spite of you and Jennie! And I have pulled off most of the paper, so you can’t put me back!” (Gilman 30). The ending in both the film and the short story reflects an opening and a starting point for reform for the narrator because she let go of all the things that were holding her back, and in this context this is John, her husband, who she considers to be a wallpaper. John denied her intellectual independence and limited her access to her needs. Referring to her words, she says that she felt like she was confined behind the wallpaper. The storyteller considers the woman in the wallpaper to be herself from the fact that she lacked freedom.
Contrasting the Yellow Wallpaper Story and Film
Comparing the short story and the film versions of the Yellow Wallpaper, there are various differences that emerge. First of all, this concerns the character expansion. The film, which was developed from the Yellow Wallpaper story, has more characters than the story narration. The roles, which are concentrated among few characters in the short story, are spread among many characters in the film. Secondly, in the short story, there are no pivot roles attached to the characters. Their roles are just merely mentioned and all the characters are expressed through Charlotte, which means that they are highly assumed. This is different from the film where the characters have defined roles. Thirdly, the short story is narrated from the first person perspective. However, the film is narrated from the third person perspective. This makes the short story have a more appealing aspect than the film.
Why the Message in the Yellow Wallpaper Film Is Dilutted
When the Yellow Wallpaper film and the short story are compared, the message conveyed by the film seems to be by far diluted when compared to the short story’s message. This is influenced by many factors. To start with is the mode of narration. The short story uses a first person perspective while the film uses a third person perspective. As such, the short story is narrated out of the woman’s real life experiences, while the film is narrated by the third party trying to explain the experiences of others. The short story’s first person perspective places the reader in the mind of the narrator and thus one may follow her as she descends into madness and encounters all experiences. Secondly, there is the use of many characters in the film as compared to few characters in the short story. This leads to the diluted message as a result of the roles being shared by among many characters. From this perspective, the storyline of the short story is more severe than the storyline of the film.
Gothic as a Historical Style, Woven into a Literary Genre
Gothic as a literature genre is employed in literature to encompass the elements of romance and horror in a film or narration. The overall atmosphere is that of mystery, anxiety, terror, and exoticism. Stories and films of this genre revolve around an ancient house that hides huge secrets and acts as a refuge for the threatening and frightening character (Wolfreys 17). This literary genre has been depicted in the stories such as Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-Street and the Yellow Wallpaper. In Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-Street, gothic is portrayed when the story focuses on Bartleby while In the Yellow Wallpaper, the aspect of gothic is seen in the mysterious encounters that the narrator experiences. Deriving from this stories, it can be inferred that a gothic story is characterized by a gloomy, mysterious, grotesque, and violent experiences and an atmosphere characterized by decay and degeneration.