Thursday, January 31, 2013

"Wallpaper" Not Such a Popular Story

The reason I like "The Yellow Wallpaper" so much is because it's not always clear what's happening. I don't need clarity; I just need possibilities. I like the different interpretations of the story. Mostly, I read it as an allegory, where a woman is trapped in her marriage, position, life, etc. Kudos to the students in class with the guts to say, "I didn't read it that way." This attitude will get you far.

I should give a (late) disclaimer now. My taste for fiction leans towards the more depressing. I usually read things that require interpretaion, things that have a level of ambiguity. Most of the things I choose are sort of dark and there's often death and/or desertion. And if there's not death and/or desertion, then there's probably a different darkness element. The next story I've assigned for class (to be read for Friday, Feb. 1) is Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants." If the students weren't crazy about "The Yellow Wallpaper" (pun intended), then they're probably not going to like "Hills Like White Elephants" at all. In the past, students have come to class not knowing what the heck is going on in the story. Almost always, a few have figured it out. I told them to be thinking about what the "operation" is. We'll see.

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