‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ & ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been’





‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ & ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been’


Question One

The narrator in ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ was Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Her main reason for writing the story was to narrate the ordeal she underwent during a neurasthenia treatment. From the story, it was evident that her mental illness worsened despite the complements from her husband that she was getting better. It was only after she stopped the treatment that her nervous breakdown subsided. Her story is reliable because it is valued by psychiatrists and forced most of them to alter their treatment of neurasthenia.

Wallpaper was used in the story to symbolize the neurasthenia treatment prescribed by her physician. As part of the treatment, the writer was prohibited from working. This was symbolized by an old woman who was locked in the cage. Each day, the old woman struggled to find her way out of the cage. This symbolizes the efforts the narrator made towards getting back to her intellectual life. Finally, the story ends with old woman finding her way out of the cage. This symbolizes that the narrator felt much better after she stopped using the treatment that was proposed by the physician. The narrator used the color yellow to symbolize the optimistic and cheerful nature of an intellectual life. She has used the green color to reflect the unfamiliarity of the domestic life that was part of the treatment. This explains why the narrator was happier when everything turned yellow. The wallpaper was the best way through which the narrator would portray her experience during the treatment. It creates a picture on the readers mind and helps them to understand the ordeal the narrator went through and the efforts she made everyday to escape it.

Question Two

The protagonist in the story ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ was the narrator. The antagonist is her husband. Instead of helping his wife overcome the suffering, he proposes ineffective ideas that limits her efforts and worsens her situation. The protagonist in the story ‘Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been’ is Connie. The antagonists are Arnold Friend and partially, Connie’s mother. Connie is preoccupied by her beauty and suggests that her mother is jealous of her because she is prettier. Her mother’s jealousy can be seen when she tells Connie to behave more like her sister, who is portrayed as less classy. In regards to Arnold Friend, his hostile and aggressive character is seen when he demanded Connie to get out of the house. The conflict created by Arnold is seen when Connie is faced with the dilemma of whether to remain within the confinement of her father’s house, or get into the car that will grant her freedom.

Question Three

Arnold Friend’s car symbolizes Connie’s freedom from her parents. However, its attributes, such as color, also symbolizes the dangers posed by the freedom that comes along. For instance, she states that the car’s bright golden color hurt her eyes. This same car would drive her through the vast land she had never seen or recognized. Therefore, the car symbolized a gateway to freedom that was dark and ominous.

Question Four

The narrator’s husband, John, forbids his wife from working until she is fully recovered. Conversely, she disagrees with him and believes that congenial work with change and excitement would help recover much quickly. By prohibiting the narrator from working, her condition seemed to worsen rather than improving.


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