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The Yellow Wallpaper Paper

Essay Topic:

Escaping the jaundiced eye: Foucauldian Panopticism in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper,” is simply just another view of the short story. In this article, John Bak describes how Gilman was isolated during her time of depression. He further implies that Gilman wrote “The Yellow Wallpaper” to express how she felt when she went though this postpartum depression and how her husband and Dr. Mitchell kept her locked in this room all day as they assumed this was the best cure for her disease. Bak compares this room to the eighteenth-century Panopticon after Jeremy Bentham.

Bak says in paragraph three of his article that the Panopticon was created to be a cruel igneous cage which came from Michel Foucault in Discipline and Punish. In detail “The Yellow Wallpaper” has the same idea but instead in more detail this was a woman who was very understanding to the room that was built like a prison but she was mentally tortured by the paper on the walls, this yellow wallpaper that was described as having eyes. To Bak, this room was very much like a dungeon of some sort but had many similarities to the Panopticon.

He also describes the Panopticon as being a prison under watch and in “The Yellow Wallpaper,” he describes the wallpaper as being a form of surveillance as this lady with all these issues automatically assumes this paper has eyes on her and is watching her every move. Was this the best idea for a current situation like this? Being isolated from the entire world while going through an illness or was this making the disease worse? Bak says that Gilman wrote this story hoping it would get to Dr. Mitchell so he would see how his idea of helping cure her was not good at all but instead it was “error” he mentions in paragraph 21 of his article.

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In paragraph 20, Bak says the cure became more of a laboratory other than a institution for help, then he closes the paragraph with agreeing words from Susan Gilbert and Susan Gubar from Panoptican saying “The cure is worse than the disease. ” This article has a lot of comparison to symbols in it. He compares it to another story that is a very similar situation to this lady in “The Yellow Wallpaper. ” In his comparison the yellow wallpaper is viewed as surveillance meaning the paper was watching the lady at all times and this is what caused her to just be so terrified of the paper.

He even mentions throughout his article although this was suppose to be a room to help cure her but this room was more like a prison with the bars being on the windows and the bed being railed to the floor. Although the lady was in this room most of the day alone looking at this torture, he tells how her husband is there to comfort her but instead of giving a loving symbol from him he is described as an officer compared to the security officers of Panopticon. Bak describes the room as a prison but yet he says to the narrator the wallpaper is the prison because that is what she wants to be free from.

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