Essay Instructions: Write a short essay of 4 and half pages The paper should be typed in 12-point font Times New Roman, left justified, with one-inch margins on the left, right, top and bottom, and should have page numbers. Do NOT type the question (as listed here) you choose at the very beginning of the paper. Instead, give a proper title to your paper.
Please note: Your thinking essay is not a subjective response paper or weekly writing entry. It is a formal academic essay that requires you to do a “close reading” of the texts indicated in the topic. You are required to engage in comparative analyses of two texts; therefore, you must make a connection between the two texts in the every paragraph. In other words, you should view this assignment as a shorter formal expos paper with a clear thesis, solid development and connections between body paragraphs, and adequate selections of quotations as textual evidence. Refrain from using irrelevant outside sources or superficial observations. Stick to the texts. You should have at least 6 quotations in your essay. Each quotation should not exceed 3 lines. Incorporation of quotations does not simply mean including them in your writing. You need to ANALYZE the quotations and make them relevant to your argument.
In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” and Willa Cather’s “Paul’s Case,” the major characters in both stories are portrayed as having mental “disorders.” However, their psychological issues are more than their “personal problems”; instead, these “individual” psychological illnesses are the symptoms of the society they live in. In your paper, compare Paul from Cather’s piece and the narrator from Gilman’s short story, and examine how Gilman and Cather use psychological symptoms as a means to articulate their social critiques. For instance, in what specific ways do symptoms of hysteria in “The Yellow Wallpaper” are the symptoms of a dysfunctional marriage and problematic gender relations? What do Paul’s paranoia, constant fear, and his notorious theatrical aversions to school and Cordelia Street, say about his middle-class upbringing and the religious doctrine he grows up with? How would you interpret the endings of “Paul’s Case” and “The Yellow Wallpaper” respectively? Is death or insanity a defeat or the ultimate triumph? In what specific ways are “abnormal” behaviors the symptoms of a troubled relationship between characters and their environments? You can also analyze Cather’s and Gilman’s attitudes toward the emerging “science” of psychoanalysis.
(4 and half pages for this question.)
(1 1/2 page for this question and please write the number that you choose in front of the response.)
you have to write a minimum of two Choose one topic from topics 1-3 (topics on "The Yellow Wallpaper") and wrtie a response. And choose another topic from topics 4-6 (topics on "A Woman Like Me") and write your second response. Each response has to be a paragraph of 200 words ore more.
1.First, read the Lecture Notes for this week. Hysteria was considered a "women's disease" before Freud. However, Paul from Cather's short story demonstrates symptoms of hysteria (and paranoia). In "The Yellow Wallpaper," the narrator's "hysteria" gets worse since John, her husband, prevents her from writing.
In your response, examine the relationship between the psychological symptoms and suppressed creativity. In your response, you are required to incorporate solid textual evidence to support your ideas. You do NOT need to include "Paul's Case," but be sure to demonstrate your familiarity with the story "The Yellow Wallpaper."
2.The story of "The Yellow Wallpaper" is written in a first-person narrative in an erratic style. Why does Gilman use first-person narrative in her story-telling? Find quotations where she addresses the reader as "you." What are the effects created by Gilman's choice of narrative and style? What the limits and strengths of first-person narrative? Does it help build a woman's voice or discredit the reliability of the story? How does the relationship between the narrator and other characters in the story affect her choice of narrative and style? Why do you think Gilman briefly changes the point of view from first person singular to the second person as the narrator describes the pattern of the wallpaper? What effect does the narrator say light has on the wallpaper?
In your response, you can briefly refer to Hunger Games or other works you have read. But your focus should be "The Yellow Wallpaper." Be sure to demonstrate your familiarity of the text by incorporating textual evidence.
3.First, read the Lecture Notes and understand the racial implication in Gilman's choice of the color "yellow."
Then, discuss the relationship between yellow wallpaper and the narrator, the change of her perception of the wallpaper throughout the story.
For instance, how has the narrator changed in her description of the wallpaper? Is it fair to say that the wallpaper has become more dominant in her day-to-day routine? By the Fourth of July, what does the narrator admit about the wallpaper? What clues does Gilman give us about the education of the narrator and her increasingly agitated state? Is she finding it more and more difficult to communicate? Abruptly the narrator switches mood from boredom and frustration to excitement. To what does she attribute this change? How does John react to this? What new aspects of the wallpaper does she discuss?
In your posting, make sure to incorporate solid textual evidence to support your argument.
4.First, read the Lecture Notes and click on the link to Prof. Ban Wang's lecture on "A Woman Like Me." Then discuss the specific ways the narrator's "profession" make her have different perspectives on love, family, life and death. What is the narrator's attitude toward "fate"? Does the narrator really lament not having a love relationship?
This is a very broad topic. You can discuss different aspects of this text as long as you incorporate textual support in your posting. You can also refer to other texts you know in your posting. However, your major focus should still be Xi Xi's short story.
5.In Xi Xi's "A Woman Like Me," the story is told by narrator's monologue. Discuss Xi Xi's style and narrative in story-telling. For instance, since the narrator has no friends and the only "people" she speaks to are the dead bodies she puts the makeup on, the reader who is listening to her life story is literally becoming one of the dead. How does the narrator parody herself and the reader? Can you really describe the narrator as pessimistic and completely lonely? What is the effect as Xi Xi chooses to tell the narrator's life story in a very brief "real-time" when the narrator is waiting for Xia in a coffee shop? How does Xi Xi balance the "dark" tone of the story with humor? Why is the story called "A Woman Like Me"?
You do NOT need to answer all questions. Just choose one aspect of Xi Xi's style and narrative. Be sure to incorporate textual support in your posting.
6.In both "Paul's Case" and "A Woman Like Me," the definition of the "natural" is challenged and is treated as something you cannot take for granted. Read Ban Wang's Lecture (as referred in my Lecture Notes) and discuss how and why the narrator from "A Woman Like Me" has a completely different view for what counts as "natural." How does Xi Xi imply that the ideal of "natural" is also contingent on a personal's upbringing and cultural background? Why does Paul from Cather's story resent the "natural" beauty? Do both Paul and the narrator from "A Woman Like Me" see the pretense and artificiality in what is called the "natural"? How?
In your posting, you do NOT need to do a comparison between "Paul's Case" and "A Woman Like Me." You can simply focus on "A Woman Like Me." Be sure to provide solid textual evidence in your posting.
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