Literary approaches to The Yellow Wallpaper

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					Literary approaches to The Yellow Wallpaper

Feminist approach:
       Issue of control (John’s control over his wife as both husband and doctor) and
          then how that control shifts by the end of the story
       Social issues (also under Historical): gender roles (woman’s passivity,
          relegation to the house and its interior, writing)
       Escape to freedom, need for autonomy. Contrast between freedom and
       Male attitude towards women, interrogating John.

Historical /Biographical
     History of the Test Cure, Wier Mitchell and contemporary medicine’s attitude
        towards women (Elaine Showalter, FEMALE MALADY (19th century term for
        depression, post partum depression not recognized yet)

Psychological Approach
     How is mental illness portrayed?
     How is this an accurate, useful description of the descent into madness, t he
       process of going mad?
     How does this story employ and reveal the idea of the unconscious, especially
       considering that Freud didn’t start to publish until 1900? What is the definition of
       sanity in this story? Who is sane? Is the narrator sane or insane? (R.D. Laing
       began to ask if society y is insane, is it sane to go along?)

Literary History
     How does this story involve archetypes of images of women such as the
       “madwoman in the attic.” How does it fit into the tradition of women’s literature?
     How does this story compare/contrast with those of Poe? How does it fit into the
       tradition of “gothic” horror stories?

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