Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” Revision (beginning at start of last section): Well! The end of our wretched time in the countryside is upon us. We have been here for twelve weeks, and I shan’t show Jennie nor John any signs of absurdity. Jennie pretends to be more doting and caring than previously, but she is reproachful and false.
I privately vow to give her no reason to report to John in any manner other than my improvement. I need to reassure her to leave me the evening, so I can get behind the wall-paper. John will be in town this evening, and I want to have the room alone to finish my work.I wonder if I should begin at dark. I want to tie that woman with rope if she gets out! I try to wait, but my desperation is too much. I peel and tear at the paper, while trying to be at quiet as possible.
But, the pattern is mocking me! The faster I work, the more eyes and heads disdain me. Furiously, I tear at the ludicrous figures. I can almost reach the creeping figure closest to me-but what is that? Jennie is straight above me, looking at me as if I am hysterical! I know well enough I locked the door, but she has the key in her hand. Quietly, she retreats.
Perhaps, she wants to be as clever as I. But, I have only seconds to grab the figure and astonish everyone. I cannot lose the woman; she will be trapped in the torture forever. I secure a rope to myself and the bed, so that no one can peel me from the wall. Why there’s John stopped at my feet! “Darling! What is the matter? ” he cried. “I’ve almost got the woman out! ” said I.
“This cannot go on another minute. For our child’s sake, and mine- you must be removed. You will live with Cousin Henry and Julia. I cannot improve your condition, if you insist on being hysterical and delusional! he said in a firm, yet tired voice.
A hot sting burns my neck, and blurriness takes over. I awake the next day, in the glorious guest room of Henry and Julia’s estate. The beautiful light beckons me to arise. I feel free of the repression of the creeping woman, John and Jennie. Although a strong pulsing is through my temples, a feeling of enlightenment comes upon my chest.
I mean to try, if just for today. There is something, I believe, about this time and space that can change my condition. Downstairs, I hear voices of family that only care to understand me. Analysis of original ending:Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s original ending serves several purposes. Her style is very repetitious, with recurring themes. It highlights the narrator’s declining condition, without consciously stating it.
The realistic subtext is that the narrator is in a state of severe postpartum, with a possibility of harming herself and others. If this were consciously stated, it would take away from the building sympathy for the narrator. As a reader, we are much more sympathetic to her without the prejudice of knowing her exact diagnosis. Gilman’s ending conveys how mistreated mental illness and particularly women’s mental illness was.
In her ending, she might be trying to rally the audience to object against these mental treatments. This story is in 1st person narrative, which radically shapes our perception of the events. If it were in another narrative, the omniscience would be lost. Her unified theme seems to be to bring about change for women’s mental illness. This is explored in how she received treatment from noted specialists, to no avail and a decline in her mental state.
The cure is “worse than the disease”. Additionally, Gilman’s use of irony and satire in this story is brilliant. The narrator is self-deprecating, but intelligent.In the beginning of the story, she states “John is a physician, and perhaps-(I would not say it to a living soul, of course, but this is dead paper and a great relief to my mind)-perhaps that is one reason I do not get well faster…And what can one do? ” She displays John as well-intentioned, but failing miserably.
Gilman’s satire is probably the best I have read, such as-“John is away all day, and even some nights when his cases are serious. I am glad my case is not serious. ” Whether the narrator realizes the seriousness of her condition or not, it highlights the behavior of mental illness.Also, the final line of the story is my favorite I’ve ever read-“Now why should that man have fainted? But he did, and right across my path by the wall, so that I had to creep over him every time.
” It paints such a vivid picture in the reader’s mind of the chaos that is ensuing, and the irony of the narrator basically laughing at John for being “out of his mind”. Commentary on revision: In my ending, I tried to change the action to positive for the narrator. I wanted her to get relief from her condition and the oppression. I tried to continue Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s style, which is repetitious and often figurative.
I also maintained the 1st person narrative, and setting of the story. My changes in action may have been built less sensibly than previous events, as I am an utterly incompetent writer! It is unlikely that her husband would’ve separated from her in that time period. Also, the narrator’s motives are very clear. She wants to get better, and please everyone. I attempted to stay within this context, in that she tried to hide her “creeping”, and please John by accomplishing her goal of showing him the figures in the wallpaper to prove her mental stability.
My ending orientation did not point toward her condition improving as well as Gilman’s did. She just “woke up” feeling cured. Gilman’s ending was more consistent. The narrator completely gave into hysteria, and probably was locked up in a mental ward.
As with dialogue, I tried to continue the condescending way John spoke to the narrator. In conclusion, I would not pretend to say it is as coherent an ending as Gilman’s! She is a fantastic author, with a style I highly prefer-even if it is almost one hundred and twenty years previous!