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Reader Response Instructions 2
IMPORTANT NOTE: Now that Units 1 and 2 are done and everyone has written one Reader
Response, we’re going to “up the ante” a bit for Unit 3 and 4 Reader Responses. The
instructions which follow explain your new requirement: in addition to the earlier guidelines, you
must now include in your Response a paragraph where you view the story from a lens other than
Reader Response (i.e. Gender, Marxist, Archetypal, Historical/Biographical, Psychological,
or Formalism). This new requirement is explained, and examples are given, below.
Please note that this new requirement must be met for all Reader Responses for the rest of the
course. Responses submitted without this new requirement will be penalized significantly when
graded.
What is a Reader Response?
You will write at least 2 Reader Responses this semester. A Reader Response for Units 3 and 4
will consist of 5-6 paragraphs plus a discussion question and should follow this basic
format:
·
A paragraph where you summarize or describe the story
·
2 or 3 paragraphs where you discuss things about the story which interested you (ideas for
this part are in the next question)
·
A paragraph where you view the story from a lens other than Reader Response (i.e.
Gender, Marxist, Archetypal, Historical/Biographical, Psychological, or Formalism)
·
A paragraph where you explain a way you related deeply to something in the story (or
perhaps, why you were unable to relate to the story)
·
A discussion question for your peers to reply to on the Discussion Board
For bullet #2 above, where do I start when trying to choose things about the story that interest
me?
Some ideas for this section are below. Choose any which appeal to you, or come up with your
own ideas for sharing interesting elements of your story. Whatever you do in this section, be
sure to use details from the text to support your ideas. This section should be a close reading of
the text, supported by textual details, not a forum for you to discuss tangentially related issues
from your own life or experiences.
·
Chose a story element (plot, characterization, setting, point of view, theme, or style) which
you think was significant in this story and explain why
·
Closely analyze a character in terms of any of the following: actions, motivations,
dominant traits, change from beginning to end, how the author seems to want us to feel about the
character, etc.
·
Identify passages which you think are important in terms of understanding the story, the
theme, or a character
·
Examine small details which might help you understand the story better, such as a
character’s name, a repeated word or phrase, an unusual word choice, etc.
·
Study the beginning or ending of the story. Why did it open or close in that way? How
does this affect your understanding of the story?
·
Consider the author’s purpose. Why was this story written? What makes it more than just
entertainment? Support this clearly with story details
·
Determine what was done especially well in the story
·
Discuss something about the text you found particularly frustrating, challenging,
delightful, or memorable
·
Identify an issue that the text addresses and explain what seems to be the author’s point of
view on it
·
Analyze the diction (word choice) in the story and how it affects the story
·
Consider possible themes which could be ascribed to the story. Support this clearly with
story details.
·
Identify any expectations you had about the story (based on knowledge of the author,
theme in which it was placed in this course, time period when it was written or in which it was
set, etc.) and discuss how these expectations were met or not
·
Consider whether this story changed your mind about anything (or strengthened your view
of something)
·
Discuss why you would/would not recommend this story to others, using passages or
details from the story as explanation
·
Identify other stories in the course (or other works of literature or films) this story reminds
you of. Use specific details to make the comparison.
Remember, the key to doing this part successfully is to support every claim you make about the
story with evidence from the story. You should point to the story itself to answer the questions,
Why do I think so? and Where do I get that from the story??
For bullet #3 above, how do I “read” a story from one of these new lenses?
Begin by reviewing the Critical Lenses Power Point lesson in Week 4. For more information on
“reading” a story through a different lens, reread Appendix 5 in your textbook, The Story and Its
Writer. To help you understand how to translate this knowledge into part of your Reader
Response, here are a couple of strong examples from former students in this course:
“A Rose for Emily” viewed through a Marxist lens:
The daughter of a wealthy upper class family is left alone with no money and only the family
name and home to sustain her. The townspeople relish in the downfall. The townspeople knew
that the family had fallen on bad times, but “The Griersons held themselves a little too high for
what they really were” (393). It is almost cruel how the townspeople just let Emily dissolve into
madness this way. Some tried to help her out of an attitude of duty but the real feelings were felt
when they all came upon the house after she died, just to look at the spectacle. The townspeople
also gossiped about her suitor, as “a Grierson would not think seriously of a Northerner, a day
laborer” (394). The townspeople are echoing what her father had thought years before, that no
one was good enough for Emily, even though she is older and poorer and her looks are fading
fast. She is still a Greirson to them. Finally, the townspeople claimed that she thought she was
better than them. She “demanded more than ever the recognition of her dignity as the last
Grierson” (394). This is the start of the descent for Emily. The townspeople are seeing the flaws
more clearly and now start to resent her. People are content to see the mighty fall no matter what
the outcome.
“Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” viewed through an Archetypal lens:
This is the classic tale of a “femme fatale” who seduces men. Connie got much
pleasure from the conquest of the boys, not from the boys themselves: “her face [was] gleaming
with the joy that had nothing to do with Eddie” (979). Like the classic femme fatale archetype,
the thrill of the hunt is all that Connie wanted. Connie did not care about any of the boys she
conquered; they all “dissolved into a single face” (979). She did not care who the boy was, just
that she got a boy and enjoyed her night. When she accosted by Arnold Friend, she initially
continued the flirty conversation, even though she should have been scared: “What’s that stuff
painted on your car?” (981), and, “Hey, how old are you?” (984). She should have shut the door
in his face and locked it, but like a good femme fatale should, she continued the conversation
(until it was too late for her). The message the author is sharing here, if the story is viewed
through an Archetypal lens, is that if you choose to behave like the classic femme fatale
archetype and treat men like objects, they will treat you like an object.
How do I create a good discussion question?
Coming up with a good discussion question is very important, since it is the starting point for the
class discussion of your story. You should ask a question that will provoke interesting, spirited,
thoughtful discussion.
Keep the following suggestions in mind:
·
Do not ask a factual question (one that can be answered definitively from quick perusal of
the story). Your question must be one which generates divergent answers so we have some ideas
to begin to talk about. If the question has only one correct answer, it is not appropriate for a
discussion question. The question must be debatable.
·
Ask a question that will require students to think deeply about the story, one which they
may not have considered yet. Thoughtful analysis of the question should lead to deeper
understanding of the story by all students.
·
Ask a question that will make for an interesting discussion. If you’d be bored responding
to the question, come up with a better one!
How will I be graded on this?
You will receive an individual grade for each of your Reader Responses. To determine your
grade, I will be looking for evidence of deep thinking. Your Reader Response should follow the
guidelines on this sheet and should make meaningful comments about the stories.
You should go beyond surface meanings and obvious conclusions to thoughtful analysis of the
stories. Your comments should all be based on close reading and analysis of the story, and you
should provide support from the story for each observation or comment you share through use of
parenthetical citations. Your discussion question should be carefully designed to elicit an
interesting discussion of the story.
For each of your Reader Responses, you will also be responsible for facilitating or moderating
the discussion about that story. As the facilitator, you should encourage the discussion of the
story and Reader Response by answering questions, responding to other people’s comments,
asking additional questions of other people and generally engaging with your classmates’ ideas
daily. Please refer to the Reader Response Rubric to see how you will be evaluated on your
Reader Responses. Everyone will be responsible for facilitating the discussions on their Reader
Responses.
You will submit this Reader Response both to Assignments (where I will grade it) and
Discussions (where you will facilitate class discussion of it). Your 2 Reader Responses together
will comprise 20% of your final grade in the course. Your moderation of class discussion of
your assigned stories, together with your replies to all of your peers’ Reader Responses, will
comprise another 20% of your final course grade (your Discussions grade).
How do I find out which story I’m assigned to write about?
Go to Reader Response Story Assignments (found in Week 1 Course Content) to see which
Reader Response you will write and which class discussion you’ll be facilitating the second half
of the semester.
“I am sitting by the Window in th is Atrocious Nursery.”
THE YELLON \TALL-PAPER.
By Cltarlotte Perkins Stetson.
T is very seldom
that mere ordi­
nary P””ople like
John and myself
secure ancestral
hall s for the
summer.
A colonial man­
sion, a hereditary
estate, I would
say a haunted
house, and reach the height of romantic
felicity- but that would be asking too
much of fate!
Still I will proudly declare that there is
something queer about it.
Else, why should it be let so cheaply?
And why have stood so long untenanted?
John laughs at me, of course, but one
expects that in marriage.
John is practical in the extreme. He
has no patience with faith, an intense
horror of superstition, and he scoffs
openly at any talk of things not to be felt
and seen and put down in figures.
John is a physician, and perltaps – (I
would not say it to a living soul, of
course, but this is dead paper and a
great relief to my mind – ) per/zaps that
is one reason I do not get well faster.
You see he does not believe I am sick! .
And what can one do?
THE YELLOW WALL-PARER.
If a physician of high standing, and
one’s own husband, assures friends and
relatives that there is really nothing the
matter with one but temporary nervous
depression – a slight hysterical tendency
– what is one to do?
My brother is also a physician, and
also of high standing, and he says the
same thing.
•
So I take phosphates or phosphites­
whichever it is, and tonics, and journeys,
and air, and exercise, and am absolutely
forbidden to “work” until I am well again.
Personally, I disagree with their ideas.
Personally, I believe that congenial
work, with excitement and change, would
do me good.
But what is one to do?
I did write for a while 111 spite of
them; but it does exhaust me a good
deal-having to be so sly about it, or
else meet with heavy opposition.
I sometimes fancy that in my condi­
tion if I had less opposition and more
. society and stimulus – but John says the
very worst thing I can do is to think
about my condition, and I confess it
always makes me feel bad.
So I will let it alone and talk about
the house.
The most beautiful place! It is quite
alone, standing well back from the road,
quite three miles from the village. It
makes me think of English places that
you read about, for there are hedges and
walls and gates that lock, and lots of
separate little houses for the gardeners
and people.
There is a delicious garden! I never
saw such a garden -large and shady,
full of box-bordered paths, and lined with
long grape-covered arbors with seats under
them.
There were greenhouses, too, but they
are all broken now.
There was some legal trouble, I be­
lieve, something about the heirs and co­
heirs; anyhow, the place has been empty
for years.
That spoils my ghostliness, I am afraid,
but I don’t care – there is something
strange about the house – I can feel it.
I even said so to John one moonlight
evening, but he said what I felt was a
drauglzt, and shut the window.
I get unreasonably angry with John
sometimes. I’m sure I never used to be
so sensitive. I think it is due to this
nervous condition.
But John says if I feel so, I shall neglect
proper self-control; so I take pains to
control myself-before him, at least, and
that makes me very tired.
I don’t like our room a bit. I wanted
one downstairs that opened on the piazza
and had roses all over the window, and
such pretty old-fashioned chintz hang­
ings! but John would not hear of it.
He said there was only one window
and not room for two beds, and no near
room for him if he took another.
He is very careful and loving, and
hardly lets me stir without special direc­
tion.
I have a schedule prescription for each
hour in the day; he takes all care from
me, and so I feel basely ungrateful not to
value it ·more.
He said we came here solely on my
account, that I was to have perfect rest
and all the air I could get. “Your ex­
erc ise depends on your strength, my
dear,” said he,” and your food somewhat
on your appetite; but air you can ab­
sorb all the time.” So we took the nur­
sery at the top of the house.
It is a big, airy room, the whole floor
nearly, with windows that look all ways,
and air and sunshine galore.
It was
nursery first and then playroom and
gymnasium, I should judge; for the win­
dows are barred for little children, and
there are rings and things in the walls.
The paint and paper look as if a boys’
school had used it. It is stripped off­
the paper – in great patches all around
the head of my bed, about as far as I can
reach, and in a great place on the other
side of the room low down. I never saw
a worse paper in my life.
One of those sprawling flamboyant
patterns committing every artistic sin.
It is dull enough to confuse the eye in
following, pronounced enough to con­
stantly irritate and provoke study, and
when you follow the lame uncertain
curves for a little distance they suddenly
commit suicide – plunge off at outrage­
ous angles, destroy themselves in un­
heard of contradictions.
THE YELLOW
The color is repellant, almost revolt­
ing ; a smouldering unclean yellow,
strangely faded by the slow-turning sun­
light.
It is a dull yet lurid orange in some
places, a sickly sulphur tint in others.
No wonder the children hated it! I
should hate it myself if I had to live in
this room long.
There comes John, and I must put this
away, – he hates to have me write a
word.
•
•
•
•
*
•
We have been here two·weeks, and I
haven’t felt like writing before, since that
first day.
I am sitting by the window now, up in
this atrocious nursery, and there is noth­
ing to hinder my writing as much as I
please, save lack of strength.
John is away all day, and even some
nights when his cases are serious.
I am glad my case is not serious!
But these nervous troubles are dread­
fully depressing.
John does not know how much I really
suffer. He knows there is no reason to
suffer, and that satisfies him.
Of course it is only nervousness. It does
weigh o”n me so not to do my duty in
any way!
I meant to be such a help to John,
such a real rest and comfort, and here I
am a comparative burden already!
Nobody would believe what an effort it
is to do what little I am able, – to dress
and entertain, and order things.
It is fortunate Mary is so good with
the baby. Such a dear baby!
And yet I cannot be with him, it makes
me so nervous.
I suppose John never was nervous in
his life. He laughs at me so about this
wall-paper!
At first he meant to repaper the room,
but afterwards he said that I was letting
it get the better of me, and that nothing
was worse for a nervous patient than to
give way to such fancies.
He said that after the wall-paper was
changed it would be the heavy bedstead,
and then the barred windows, and then
that gate at the head of the stairs, and so
on.
“You know the place is doing you
·WAL~PAPER.
649
good,” he said, “and really, dear, I don’t
care to renovate the house just for a
three months’ rental.”
“Then do let us go downstairs,” I
said, “there are such pretty rooms there.”
Then he took me in his arms and
called me a blessed little goose, and said
he would go down cellar, if I wished, and
have it whitewashed into the bargain.
But he is right enough about the beds
and windows and things.
It is an airy and comfortable room as
anyone need wish, and, of course, I would
not be so silly as to make him uncomfort­
able just for a whim.
I’m really getting quite fond of the
big room, all but that horrid paper.
Out of one window I can see the
garden, those mysterious deep-shaded
arbors, the riotous old-fashioned flowers,
and bushes and gnarly trees.
Out of another I get a lovely view of
the bay and a little private wharf be­
longing to the estate. There is a beauti­
ful shaded lane that runs down there
from the house. I always fancy I see
people walking in these numerous paths
and arbors, but John has cautioned me
not to give way to fancy in the least. He
says that with my imaginative power and
habit of story-making, a nervous weak­
ness like mine is sure to lead to all man­
ner of excited fancies, and that I ought
to use my will and good sense to check
the tendency. So I try.
I think sometimes that if I were only
well enough to write_ a little it would re­
lieve the press of ideas and rest me.
But I find I get pretty tired when I try.
It is so discouraging not to have any
advice and companionship about my
work. When I get really well, John says
we will ask Cousin Henry and Julia down
for a long visit; but he says he would as
soon put fireworks in my pillow-case as to
let me have those stimulating people
about now.
I wish I could get well faster.
But I must not think about that. This
paper looks to me as if it knew what a
vicious influence it had!
There is a recurrent spot where the.
pattern lolls like a broken neck and two
bulbous eyes stare at you upside down.
I get positively angry with the imperti­
j
650
THE YELLOW WALL-PAPER.
nence of it and the everlastingness. Up
and down and sideways they crawl, and
those absurd, unblinking eyes are every­
where. There is one place where two
breaths didn’t match, and the eyes go all
up and down the line, one a little higher
than the other.
I never saw so much expression in an
inanimate thing before, and we all know
how much expression they have! I
used to lie awake as a child and get more
entertainment and terror out of blank
walls and plain furniture than most chil­
dren could find in a toy-store.
I remember what a kindly wink the
knobs of our big, old bureau used to
have, and there was one chair that always
seemed like a strong friend.
I used to feel that if any of the other
things looked too fierce I could always
hop into that chair and be safe.
The furniture in this room is no worse
than inharmonious, however, for we had
to bring it all from downstairs. I sup­
pose when this was used as a playroom
they had to take the nursery things out,
and no wonder! I never saw such
raV .lges as the children have made here.
The wall-paper, as I said before, is torn
off in spots, and it sticketh closer than a
brother – they must have had persever­
ance as well as hatred.
Then the floor is scratched and gou~ed
and splintered, the plaster itself is dug
out here and there, and this great heavy
bed which is all we found in the room,
looks as if it had been through the wars.
H But I don’t mind it a bit only the
paper.
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.
She is a perfect and enthusiastic house­
keeper, and hopes for no better profes­
sion. I verily believe she thinks it is the
writing which made me sick!
But I can write when she is out, and
see her a long way off from these windows.
There is one that commands the road,
a lovely shaded winding road, and one
that just looks off over the country. A
lovely country, too, full of great elms and
velvet meadows.
This wallpaper has a kind of su b­
pattern in a different shade, a particularly
irritating one, for you can only see It In
certain lights, and not clearly then.
But in the places where it isn’t faded
and where the sun is just so – I can see a
strange, provoking, formless sort of figure,
that seems to skulk about behind that silly
and conspicuous front design.
There’s sister on the stairs!
*
*
*
*
*
*
Well, the Fourth of July is over! The
people are all gone and I am tired out.
John thought it might do me good to see
a little company, so we just had mother
and Nellie and the children down for a
week.
Of course I didn’t do a thing. Jennie
sees to everything now.
But it tired me all the same.
John says if I don’t pick up faster he
shall send me to Weir Mitchell in the fall.
But I don’t want to go there at all. I
had a friend who was in his hands once,
and she says he is just like John and my
brother, only more so !
Besides, it is such an undertaking to
go so far.
I don’t feel as if it was worth while to
turn my hand over for anything, and I’m
getting dreadfully fretful and querulous.
I cry at nothing, and cry most of the
time.
Of course I don’t when John is here,
or anybody else, but when I am alone.
And I am alone a good deal just now.
John is kept in town very often by serious
cases, and Jennie is good and lets me
alone when I want her to.
So I walk a little in the garden or
down that lovely lane, sit on the porch
under the roses, and lie down up here a
good deal.
I’m getting really fond of the room in
spite of the wallpaper. Perhaps because
of the wallpaper.
It dwells in my mind so !
I lie here on this great immovable bed
– it is nailed down, I believe – and fol­
low that pattern about by the hour. It it
as good as gymnastics, I assure you. I
start, we’ll say, at the bottom, down in
the corner over there where it has nos
been touched, and I determine for the
thousandth time that I will follow that
pointless pattern to some sort of a con­
clusion.
THE YELLOW WALL-PAPER.
651
I know a little of the principle of absurd. But I must say what I feel
design, and I know this thing was not and think in some way – it is such aarranged on any laws of radiation, or relief !
alternation, or repetition, or symmetry, or
But the effort is getting to be greater
anything else that I ever heard of.
than the relief.
It is repeated, of course, by the
Half the time now I am awfully lazy,.
breadths, but not otherwise.
and lie down ever so much.
John says I mustn’t lose my strength,.
Looked at in one way each breadth
stands alone, the bloated curves and and has me take cod liver oil and lots of
flourishes – a kind
of ” debased Romanesque” with delirium tremens – go
waddling up and
down in isolated
columns of fatuity.
But, on the other
hand, they connect
diagonally, and the
sprawling
outlines
run off in great
slanting waves of
optic horror, like a
lot of wallowing seaweeds in full chase.
The whole thing
goes
horizontally,
too, at least it seems
so, and I exhaust
myself in trying to
distinguish the order
of its going in that
“direction.
They have used a
horizontal breadth
for a frieze, and that
adds wonderfully to
the confusion.
There is one end
of the room where
Sh e didn’t know I was in the Room.
it is almost intact,
and there, when the
crosslights fade and the low sun shines tonics and things, to say nothing of aledirectly upon it, I can almost fancy radia- and wine and rare meat.
Dear John! He loves me very dearlYr
tion after all, – the interminable grotesque seem to form around a common and hates to have me sick. I tried to
centre and rush off in headlong plunges have a real earnest reasonable talk with.
him the other day, and tell him how I
of equal distraction.
It makes me tired to follow it. I will wish he would let me go and make a visit
to Cousin Henry and Julia.
take a nap I guess.
But he said I wasn’t able to go, nor”
*
*
*
*
*
*
able to stand it after I got there j and I
I don’t know why I should write this.
did not make out a very good case for
I don’t want to.
myself, for I was crying before I had finI don’t feel able.
And I know John would think it ished.
o
II
Il
THE YELLOW WALL-PAPER.
·652
It is getting to be a great effort for me
to think straight. Just this nervous weak­
ness I suppose.
And dear John gathered me up in his
arms, and just carried me upstairs and
laid me on the bed, and sat by me and
read to me till it tired my head.
He said I was his darling and his COl).1­
fort and all he had, and that I must take
.care of myself for his sake, and keep
well.
He says no one but myself can help
me out of it, that I must use my will and
self-control and not let any silly fancies
run away with me.
There’s one comfort, the baby is well
.and happy, and does not have to occupy
this nursery with the horrid wallpaper.
If we had not used it, that blessed
child would have! What a fortunate es­
cape! Why, I wouldn’t have a child of
mine, an impressionable little thing, live
in such a room for worlds.
I never thought of it before, but it is
lucky that John kept me here after all, I
.can stand it so much easier than a baby,
you see.
Of course I never mention it to them
.any more – I am too wise, – but I keep
watch of it all the same.
There are things in that paper that
nobody knows but me, or ever will.
Behind that outside pattern the dim
shapes get clearer every day.
It is always the same shape, only very
num::!rous.
And it is like a woman stooping down
.and creeping about behind that pattern.
I don’t like it a bit. I wonder – I be­
-gin to think – I wish John would take
,me away from here!
*
*
*
*
*
*
It is so hard to talk with John about
my case, because he is so wise, and be­
.cause he loves me so.
But I tried it last night.
It was moonlight. The moon shines
in all around just as the sun does.
I hate to see it sometimes, it creeps so
slowly, and always comes in by one win­
,dow or another.
John was asleep and I hated to waken
nim, so I kept still and watched the
moonlight on that undulating wallpaper
till I felt creepy.
The faint figure behind seemed to
shake the pattern, just as if she wanted
to get out.
I got up softly and went to feel and see
if the paper did move, and when I came
back John was awake.
“What is it, little girl?” he said.
“Don’t go walking about like that­
you’ll get cold.”
I thought it was a good time to talk,
so I told him that I really was not gain­
ing here, and that I wished he would
take me away.
“Why, darling!” said he, “our lease
will be up in three weeks, and I can’t see
how to leave before.
” The repairs are not done at home, and
I cannot possibly leave town just now.
Of course if you were in any danger, I
could and would, but you really are bet­
·ter, dear, whether you can 6ee it or not.
I am a doctor, dear, and I know. You
are gaining flesh and color, your appetite is
better, I feel really much easier about you.”
“I don’t weigh a bit more,” said I,
“nor as much; and my appetite may be
better in the evening when you are here,
but it is worse in the morning when you
are awav!”
” Ble~s her little heart!” s:1id he with
a big hug, “she sha ll be as sick as she
pleases! But now let’s improve the shin­
ing hours by going to sleep, and talk
about it in the morning! ”
“And you won’t go away?” I asked
gloomily.
“Why, how can I, dear? It is only
three weeks more and then we will take
a nice little trip of a few days while
Jennie is getting the house ready. Really
dear you are better! ”
” Better in body perhaps – ” I began,
and stopped short, for he sat up straight
and looked at me with such a stern, re­
proachful look that I could not say
another word.
“My darling,” said he, ” I beg of you,
for my sake and for our child’s sake, as
well as for your own, that you will never
for one instant let that idea enter your
mind! There is nothing so dangerous,
so fascinating, to a temperament like
yours. It is a false and foolish fancy.
Can you not trust me as a physician when
I tell you so? ”
THE YELLOW WALL-PAPER.
653­
Indeed he started the habit by making­
me lie down for an hour after each meal.
It is a very bad habit I am convinced,.
for you see I don’t sleep.
And that cultivates deceit, for I don’t
tell them I’m awake – 0 no !
The fact is I am getting a little afraid
*
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of John.
He seems very queer sometimes, and
On a pattern like this, by daylight,
there is a lack of sequence, a defiance of even Jennie has an inexplicable look.
It strikes me occasionally, just as a
law, that is a ‘ constant irritant to a nor­
scientific hypothesis,- that perhaps it is·
mal mind.
The color is hideous enough, and un­ the paper!
I have watched John when he did not
reliable enough, and infuriating enough,
know I was looking, and come into the
but the pattern is torturing.
You think you have mastered it, but room suddenly on the most innocent ex­
just as you get well underway in following, cuses, and I’ve caught him several times.
it turns a back-somersault and there you looking at the paper! And Jennie too. I
are. It slaps you in the face, knocks caught Jennie with her hand on it once_
She didn’t know I was in the room,.
you down, and tramples upon you. It is
and when I asked her in a quiet, a very
like a bad dream.
The outside pattern is a florid ara­ quiet voice, with the most restrained man­
besque, reminding one of a fungus. If ner possible, what she was doing with the
you can imagine a toadstool in joints, an paper – she turned around as if she had
interminable string of toadstools, budding been caught stealing, and looked quite
and sprouting in endless convolutions­ angry – asked me why I should frighten .
her so !
why, that is something like it.
Then she said that the paper stained
That is, sometimes!
There is one marked peculiarity about everything it touched, that she had found
this paper, a thing nobody seems to yellow smooches on all my clothes and
notice but myself, and that is that it John’s, and she wished we would be more’
careful!
changes as the light changes.
When the sun shoots in through the
Did not that sound innocent? But I
east window – I always watch for that know she was studying that pattern, and
first long, straight ray – it changes so I am determined that nobody shall find
quickly that I never can quite believe it. it out but myself!
That is why I watch it always.
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*
*
By moonligh[ – the moon shines in all
Life is very much more excltmg now
night when there is a moon – I wouldn’t than it used to be. You see I have some­
thing more to expect, to look forward to,.
know it was the same paper.
At night in any kind of light, in twi­ to watch . I really do eat better, and am
light, candlelight, lamplight, and worst of more quiet than I was.
all by moonlight, it becomes bars! The
John is so pleased to see me improve!
outside pattern I mean, and the woman He laughed a little the other day, and
behind it is as plain as can be.
said I seemed to be flourishing in spite
I didn’t realize for a long time what of my wall-paper.
the thing was that showed behind, that
I turned it off with a laugh. I had no
dim sub-pattern, but now I am quite sure intention of telling him it was because of
the wall-paper – he would make fun of
it is a woman.
By daylight she is subdued, quiet. I me. He might even want to take me away.
fancy it is the pattern that keeps her so
I don’t want to leave now until I have
still.
It is so puzzling. It keeps me found it out. There is a week more, and
quiet by the hour.
I think that will be enough.
I lie down ever so much now. John says
*
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it is good for me, and to sleep all I can.
I’m feeling ever so much better! I
So of course I said no more on that
score, and we went to sleep before long.
He thought I was asleep first, but I
wasn’t, and lay there for hours trying to
.decide whether that front pattern and the
back pattern really did move together or
separately.
THE YELLOW WALL-PAPER.
654

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