When Charlotte Gilman completed the “The Yellow Wall-paper,(Link to short Story)” she submitted it to William Dean Howells, a well-known literary critic. Impressed with the story, he referred the text to The Atlantic Monthly. She received the following rejection letter from its editor, Horace Scudder: “Dear Madam, I could not forgive myself if I made others as miserable as I have made myself.” Do you agree with the editor’s assessment? As a reader did you feel miserable reading this story? Why or why not?
- If you agree with Mr. Scudder (and believe that the story should NOT be published), you will need to make an argument for your case in the form of a letter as if you are Mr. Scudder and your letter is addressed to Ms. Gilman. Please note that you will need to use specific examples from the text to support your view.
- If you do NOT agree with Mr. Scudder (and believe that the story SHOULD be published), you will need to make an argument for your case in the form of a letter as if you are the publisher of The Altantic Monthlyand your letter is addressed to Mr. Scudder. Please note that you will need to use specific examples from the text to support your view.
- If you agree with the editor’s assessment, you will need to explain in detail what aspects of the story were upsetting to you. Imagine that you are the editor of The Atlantic Monthly and that you have decided to elaborate on your comments in a letter to Gilman. You feel compelled to share with the author the reasons why you found the story so upsetting. For example, consider the possibility that the husband is trying to drive his wife insane or consider the ways in which the image of the yellow wallpaper creates a profoundly disturbing reality for the reader.
- If you do not agree with the editor’s assessment and feel that the story should have been published by The Atlantic Monthly you will need to explain in detail what aspects of the story compelled you to reject the editor’s view of the story. Imagine that you are the publisher and that you are writing a letter to the editor to explain why you are publishing the story. For example, consider the feminist angle and argue about how important it would be for readers to understand the hardships of women as they struggled for equal rights in nineteenth-century America or consider the literary merit of Gilman’s story, the author’s ability to tell an engaging and engrossing story.
- Before you begin writing your paper please review Writing about Fiction (Links to an external site.) published by the Writing Lab & The Owl at Purdue University in addition to
- Your paper needs to be 2-3 pages in length (double space, 12 pt.). Please be sure to include a standard MLA heading (student name, instructor name, course number, date) in the top left-hand corner of the first page of your document.
- Your paper needs to have accurate citations and a Works Cited page in accordance with the standards of the Modern Language Association. Please keep in mind that the only source you will be citing in your paper is “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Here is an example of your first in-text citation: The author states that “[i]t is very seldom that mere ordinary people like John and myself secure ancestral halls for the summer” (Gilman). For subsequent in-text citations, please do the same thing as in the previous example. If you have any further questions about citations or the Works Cited page please review MLA Formating and Style Guide (Links to an external site.) published by the Writing Lab & The Owl at Purdue University.
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