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ENGLISH 1A03 Lecture Notes - Gaston Bachelard, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper

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Jeffery Donaldson

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March 6/2013
English 1A03
The Yellow Wallpaper Charlotte Perkins Gilman
- Repeated pattern of confinement
- Sense of entrapment / imprisonment
- The change of our psychological experiences
o The sudden glimpse of freedom and stirring of imagination
- The experience of confinement and the attempt to get better
- “dead paper” indicates that there is a certain detachment in her mind as well
o A conditioning of what the paper is before she starts to write
o “this is dead paper and a great relief to my mind” contrasting paradox
o Pattern of death and life
- Doppelganger motif
- Wallpaper
o Hides things
o Common in the Victorian era
- What she is creating in the journal is herself
o She has released herself in the journal as well, not just from the wallpaper
- Writing and wallpaper are closely linked
- The story IS the journal entries
- Poems ask questions of orientation (in space):
o What am I, where am I, how am I, what and / or who am I related to?
- Stories ask questions of destiny (movement in time):
1) “What sorts of things happen to us and what do the things that happen to us tell us about who we
2) “What sorts of things happen to us and how does how we narrate the things that happen to us tell us
about who we are?”
Short Stories give us a combination of these: stories of orientation
Gaston Bachelard: The Poetics of Space
- Makes the argument that houses are made a certain way
o There is a corresponding relationship between the stature and condition of the standing human
body and the architecture of the house
Upper space (atic) associated with mind, imagination, daydream, psychological
Middle ground (living room) social life, common living area, the world we share
Lower worlds (cellars, basement) the body, sexuality, physical functions (death, birth)
What we talk about when we talk about short stories
- Setting
o Immediate concrete details
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