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Analysis Of The Yellow Wallpaper, The Birthmark, And The Goose Girl

2842 words - 12 pages

There have been various analysis based on these three stories and the characters involved: “The Yellow Wallpaper,” “The Birthmark,” and “The Goose Girl”. This paper will focus on analysis based on figurative languages used either consciously or unconsciously, the passivity of the characters, motivations, role performed in the story, and the agendas used by the various authors. The point of this analysis is to show how various authors have used short stories to give the world a diverse message that can be spun in many different directions. “The Yellow Wallpaper” is a short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman who specialized in poetry, short stories and social reform. Jane in “The ...view middle of the document...

It is considered to be a secluded area with nobody but a mansion at a particular landscape. “It is quite alone, standing well back from the road, three miles from the village” (Charlotte Perkins Gilman). The description of the place by the narrator shows an exact image of what the critic calls “Foucauldian prison.” “The narrator is confined to a nursery at the top of the house that is similar to a cell in Panopticon.” “In short, it reverses the principle of the dungeon; or rather of its three functions—to enclose, to deprive of light and to hide—it preserves only the first and eliminates the other two. Full lighting and the eye of a supervisor capture better than darkness, which ultimately protected. Visibility is a trap” (Michel Foucault, 1979). The prison in which the narrator is held is unlike every other prison that is known in the outside world. Rather than iron gates being used as doors to confine all inmates to a particular cell, wallpaper is used as bars instead. The critic believes that the light from the wallpaper was so bright. This is a feature not seen in an everyday prison.
Foucault also argues the case about seeing the narrator in “The Yellow Wallpaper” as an “infant-like Feminist”. “She is also an infant-like feminist who consciously rather than unconsciously rebels against the social Panopticon. She tries her best to use ‘pen’ which symbolizes ‘penis’ to challenge the men named authority” (ZHONG Shen. 2002). Foucault mentioned that the narrator tries to do all of the things that the higher authority believes is wrong in private. “There comes John’s sister. Such a dear girl as she is, and so careful of me! I must not let her find me writing” (Charlotte Perkins Gilman). Whenever she was monitored she tried not write or remove the wallpaper bur whenever she perceived that there were no watchful eyes above her she continued with her sly behavior. Due to her catlike behavior she only finds time to pull off the wallpaper at night. This wallpapers eventually become bars for her and she becomes stock in it. She is seen as an immature lady who finds a way of seeking freedom only at night when surveillance is immensely low. “Rebellion is not avowedly but in a secret way” (Foucault). This is one instant that supports the term “Panopticon.” The narrator is seen as a person who now depends on this principle for her own freedom. This short story is one of the ways one can relate to Charlotte Gilman real life even though it is never stated directly.
On the other hand, the Grimm brothers collected several fairy tales and modified most of them to fit a universal timeline. One of their collections was “The Goose Girl” and it demonstrated the passivity of a princess who was not enlightened. The princess in “The Goose Girl” shows how one’s passivity can lead to one’s downfall. “But the king’s daughter was humble. She said nothing and mounted her horse again” (Grimm). The princess obeyed her chambermaid at all times and never objected to...

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