Alex short story essay

Alex short story essay - White 1 Alex White English 111...

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Alex White English 111 Professor Bryan Short Fiction Paper December 7, 2006 The Art of Depicting Madness Madness is defined by Merriam Webster’s dictionary as “the quality or state of being mad.” The definition goes on to list synonyms, such as rage and insanity, neither of which due justice to the meaning of the word. Defining madness proves to be challenging, as it means different things to different people. Fear of madness resides within us all, and a piece of writing that can evoke this fear holds a certain power. This essay examines three texts dealing with madness, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Joyce Carroll Oates’s “Where are you going, where have you been?” and an excerpt from Dale Pendell’s Pharmako Gnosis. Each of these texts depicts unique types of madness, and each uses a unique approach to evoke the desired emotion in the reader: fear of losing control. Gillman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” reads as an intense account a woman going mad. The author uses disturbing descriptions of hallucinations and a realistic setting, allowing the reader to live inside the mind of the main character. We start the story with the narrator telling us of her “nervous condition” and describing the treatment, which is one of isolation and rest. This treatment serves only to intensify her condition, and she becomes sucked into a terrible world in her mind, through the portal of the wallpaper. As we progress through the story she loses her grip on reality, eventually totally losing White 1
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control. Graphic descriptions of her hallucinations intensify the heat of the story: “There is a recurrent spot where the pattern lolls like a broken neck and two bulbous eyes stare at you upside down.” (Gillman, 334) The statement at first implies metaphor, not hallucinations. She is describing the pattern as “like a broken neck,” but notice that she omits the simile when speaking of the eyes. It doesn’t look like the eyes are staring at her; the eyes are staring at her. The story ends with her total loss of control. Thinking that she escaped from the wallpaper she exclaims, “I’ve got out at last, in spite of you and Jane. And I’ve pulled off most of the paper, so you can’t put me back!” (Gillman, 343) This
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This note was uploaded on 04/08/2008 for the course ENGL 111 taught by Professor Bryan during the Fall '06 term at Santa Barbara City.

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Alex short story essay - White 1 Alex White English 111...

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