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ENGL 1302 Lone Star College Critical Approaches Essay

ENGL 1302 Lone Star College Critical Approaches Essay

Question Description

I’m working on a english discussion question and need an explanation to help me study.

Identify which critical approach is represented by the passage; explain your answer. If you think the author is using more than one approach, explain. The possible critical approaches are Formalism, Cultural Studies, Psychological Criticism, Marxist Criticism, Reader Response Criticism, New Historicism, Feminist Criticism, Gender Criticism, Structuralism, and Deconstruction.

“For many years I suffered from a severe and continuous nervous breakdown tending to melancholia–and beyond. During about the third year of this trouble I went, in devout faith and some faint stir of hope, to a noted specialist in nervous diseases, the best known in the country. This wise man put me to bed and applied the rest cure, to which a still good physique responded so promptly that he concluded there was nothing much the matter with me, and sent me home with the solemn advice to `live as domestic a life as far as possible,’ to `have but two hours intellectual life a day,’ and `never to touch pen, brush or pencil again as long as I lived.’ This was in 1887.” (1)

Following this often-cited passage from “Why I Wrote the Yellow Wall-Paper,” Charlotte Perkins Gilman states she did not intend to drive readers “crazy” with “The Yellow Wall-Paper,” but only to expose a serious and extreme lapse in medical judgment, or wisdom, regarding the “treatment of neurasthenia” (WW, 332). Published five years after Gilman’s recovery from the ill effects of S. Weir Mitchell’s rest cure treatment, “The Yellow Wall-Paper” chronicles the life of a woman who does not recover from it, and this, in part, is why its feminist message has remained problematic for many critics. Gilman’s autobiographical observations in “Why I Wrote The Yellow Wall-Paper” (and, later, in The Living of Charlotte Perkins Gilman) about her recovery reveal that she did not regard such extreme lapses in medical judgment as insurmountable, but much of the criticism written about “The Yellow Wall-Paper” continues to treat this tale as the dark and complex record of a woman’s (or woman writer’s) oppression, victimization, collapse, and paradoxical “emancipation.” (2) This tale, as Gilman suggests, indicts those “wise men” who attempt to manage “mad” women medically. However, it also implicates her narrator in a pathological and twisted domestic tale of self-sabotage and self-hatred reminiscent of Poe’s nightmarish domesticity in one of his most well-known tales, “The Black Cat.” Unlike Poe’s mad narrator, though, Gilman’s narrator posits an indirect alternative to the psychologically discomfiting ambivalence she displays not only toward herself but others (including both her husband and her child) in the decaying domestic sphere of “The Yellow Wall-Paper.”

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