The yellow wallpaper book

Information about The Yellow Wallpaper Book

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"The Yellow Wallpaper" provided feminists the tools to interpret literature in different ways. Lanser argues that the short story was a "particularly congenial medium for such a re-vision . . . because the narrator herself engages in a form of feminist interpretation when she tries to read the paper on her wall". The narrator in the story is trying to find a single meaning in the wallpaper. At first she focuses on contradictory style of the wallpaper: it is "flamboyant" while also "dull", "pronounced" yet also "lame" and "uncertain" (p.  13). She takes into account the patterns and tries to geometrically organize them, but she is further confused. The wallpaper changes colors when it reflects light and emits a distinct odor which the protagonist cannot recognize (p.  25). At night the narrator is able to see a woman behind bars within the complex design of the wallpaper. Lanser argues that the unnamed woman was able to find "a space of text on which she can locate whatever self-projection". Just like the narrator as a reader, when one comes into contact with a confusing and complicated text, one tries to find a single meaning. "How we were taught to read" as Lanser puts it, is why a reader cannot fully comprehend the text. The patriarchal ideology had kept many scholars from being able to interpret and appreciate stories such as "The Yellow Wallpaper. " With the growth of feminist criticism, "The Yellow Wallpaper" has become a fundamental reading in the standard curriculum. Feminists have made a great contribution to the study of literature but, according to Lanser, are falling short because if "we acknowledge the participation of women writers and readers in dominant patterns of thought and social practice then perhaps our own patterns must also be deconstructed if we are to recover meanings still hidden or overlooked.