Knight shows herself throughout the essay as a clever critic and is more than convincing as she catalogues and presents all of the facts to her readers. Through the presentation of her research, Knight gives a very correct and thorough history of Perkins-Gilman’s situation and clearly establishes the autobiographical nature of the story. Like a true Historicist, Knight returns to the past and attempts to excavate the author’s innermost ideas. To put it in Keesey’s words, Knight is an expert at demonstrating the author’s subjective stance, and she also delves into the political, cultural, and social background of the author to further collect data and information to support her interpretation. Perhaps the most obvious thing that shows Knight’s commitment as a Historical Critic is her use of source material. As Keesey points out, a Historical Critic will often use the libraries, diaries, autobiographies, and letters of an author to discover his or her intention at the time of creation, and Knight is no exception. She quotes heavily from both Perkins-Gilman’s autobiography entitled The Living of Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Walter Stetson’s Endure: The Diaries of Charles Walter Stetson . Both of these sources give Knight insight into what the author herself was thinking and what the people around her thought about her. Knight effectively uses both of these sources to present her alternative interpretation of the meaning of the story and the significance of the husband in both Gilman’s life and in “The Yellow Wallpaper.”
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- Winter '20
- The Yellow Wallpaper, Denise Knight, Walter Stetson