Free Yellow Wallpaper Essays: The Dead Paper

585 Words 3 Pages
The Dead Paper of Gilman's Yellow Wallpaper

This passage from The Yellow Wallpaper clarifies the position of the reader in the story. It brings into question, right on the first page, who the woman (and Gilman herself) is addressing and why.

When she writes, "I would not say it to a living soul, of course, but this is dead paper and a great relief to my mind," it is as if she is having an aside with the reader. If she were truly talking to dead paper, why would such a comment be required? The idea of "dead paper" makes one think of something that is written, never to be published or read. In this sense, the caption can make the reader feel as if he or she is looking in privately on this woman's diary. The fact that this
…show more content…
To complicate things, directly after this aside she addresses the reader personally and indisputably when she writes, "You see, he does not believe I am sick!" This puts the reader in the second person, strengthening the sense that the reader is being directly addressed. The woman is pleading for the empathy of the reader. She asks the reader's opinion when she writes, "And what can one do?" The reader may pause, even if subconsciously for a split second, to answer this question for him/herself, putting on her shoes and further empathizing with her situation.

This whole passage, on the first page of the story, clearly sets the connection between the woman and reader. Later in the story, however, there is a shift in this relationship. As she approaches her breakdown, she begins to keep secrets from the reader until, finally, she stops addressing the reader altogether. This creates distance between the woman and reader, as she distances herself from reality.

Gilman uses punctuation and character formatting to further make her point in this passage. The use of italics on "perhaps" stresses the word, portraying to the reader her sense of self doubt in this matter. This is taken even further when the word is repeated, again in italics, at the end of the digression. This strong sense of doubt prompts the reader to think about this subject and possibly form their own opinion. The em dash and parentheses

Related Documents

Best New Bollywood Songs | DAZ3D - Underground Factory | Shokugeki no Soma 62