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Reader response of 2 short stories

afterhhours 1 / 1  
Sep 28, 2009   #1
I am really stuck, I have to write reader response for my English class. This is our second one and I only got a 68% on the first one. The teacher says she doesn't want us to be wordy, also she is really looking at grammatical errors, that is what I got a lot of marks off of last time.I was wondering if anyone could take a look at my assignment, any input or corrections would be much appreciated! The story's are "The Yellow Wallpaper" and "The Story of an Hour."

1. Internally, the narrator possesses a kind of mad nervousness. She describes her emotional state of mind as being sensitive, depressive and even hysterical at times. This diagnosis was not uncommon in women of the 19th century. There are many external factors that directly relate to her mental state as well. She lives a closely monitored existence, where every waking hour is scheduled by her controlling husband. Without stimulating human interaction, her mind is left to overanalyze her dismal surroundings. From the very start she is convinced there is something strange about the house. Whether it is the bars on the window, eerie pattern of the wallpaper, or nauseating yellow of the room; something always catches her attention. She even begins to think there is a woman figure crawling behind the wallpaper.

2. In the ending, the narrator has seemingly lost her sanity. However, this is not a negative ending as she has found a means of escaping her husband's clutches and life of solidarity. Without stimulation in her life, the narrator begins studying and dissecting the wallpaper. She observes a woman in the patterns of the wallpaper, trying to break free of the hold it has on her. The narrator begins to relate to the trapped woman in the wallpaper. In doing so, she realizes that John and Jennie's suffocating presence is preventing her from leading a fulfilling life. In the final moments of the story, the narrator symbolically breaks free of her husband's control, towering above him before stepping over his unconscious body. In the end her madness overcomes her, but not without leaving behind a sense of freedom and empowerment.

3. John and Brently are both selfish husbands that try to control their wives without consideration of their suffering. John is repeatedly told by the narrator that her mental health is suffering, yet he acts disinterested and dismisses her concerns. He controls every aspect of her life, from the room she inhabits to the people she socializes with. Every hour of her day is scheduled and she is expected to blindly follow this structure and not think for herself. It is safe to assume Brently acts the same way, by Josephine's reaction to his death. She acts like a prisoner being freed from jail. His relationship with her had been strenuous and controlling. The sudden release of his mental control over her is so momentous it causes her heart to fail. It is important to note that although our societal views today deem John and Brentley's actions as mentally abusive, according to 19th century standards they were completely normal.

4. During the early 1900's, women were told they had a place and role in society. Both women in these stories begin to question what the meaning of love really is. They realize they have led unfulfilling lives thus far and are breaking free of the stereotype women face. One willingly tries to change her situation; she turns to the wallpaper as a form of mental stimulation to free herself from John. The other woman does not rebel through her physical actions, however her thoughts are disloyal. She is overjoyed to be free of her husband which is unconventional.

5. Although the character's in Gilman and Chopin's stories suffer immense consequences for their actions, they achieve the one thing they have always been denied; freedom. The authors demonstrate that women are capable of thinking for themselves and need mental stimulation. In the end they both challenge society's expectations by shedding the domestic sphere and acting of their own free will. In a final act of defiance, the narrator rips down the wallpaper to free the trapped woman she relates to. She then proceeds to creep over her unconscious husband. Josephine rebels against male oppression by rejoicing over her husband's death, she is relieved to finally be mentally and physically free.
EF_Simone 2 / 1,986  
Sep 29, 2009   #2
1. Internally, the narrator possesses a kind of mad nervousness.

Are these answers to specific questions? Or are you numbering the paragraphs? If you are answering questions, you should tell us the questions. If not -- uh oh! I see no coherent stream of thought between the first and second paragraphs. Furthermore, the first paragraph jumps in with this line, which has a nice phrase ("a kind of mad nervousness") but is incomprehensible since you've not said who this "narrator" might be or what, in fact, you are writing about. If this is supposed to be the first paragraph of an essay, it needs to do the work of an introductory paragraph.

Since I can't comment any more on content until I know whether this is meant to be an essay or a series of answers to questions, let me turn to grammar:

Although the character's in Gilman and Chopin's stories

The character's what? Her dress? Her personality? Her history? Or did you mean "characters"? Don't just insert apostrophes for no good reason. I'm stressing this because you did it in your question to us too, which suggests that you've got the bad habit of making plurals into possessives. That habit drives composition teachers absolutely mad, as it suggests that the writer isn't thinking at all but simply tossing in punctuation marks like seasoning.
OP afterhhours 1 / 1  
Sep 29, 2009   #3
Sorry, it is meant to be questions! And I fixed the apostrophe there thank you:)

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