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ENGL 101 - Adams-Nowlin, "The Yellow Wallpaper"   Tags: english, literature  

This LibGuide is intended for use with Sarah Adams' "The Yellow Wallpaper" assignment for English 101.
Last Updated: Nov 26, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Assignment pt. 1

Final Project


Given the information provided in the chapters covered during the quarter and the discussions in class, students will write a 5-7 page essay demonstrating an application of one of the essay modes covered thus far. Essays will be assessed based on the following criteria:

·       Compose an interesting and relevant introduction

·       Construct a clear and assertive thesis

·       Organize essay logically and demonstrate paragraph coherence and unity

·       Develop ideas fully and provided detailed support

·       Create a logical and persuasive argument

·       Show independence of thought and some originality

·       Compose a compelling conclusion

·       Meet assignment parameters (essay length, essay mode, type/use/incorporation of sources, p.o.v., etc.—see Assignment Parameters below)

·       Demonstrate proper mechanics (grammar, punctuation, and spelling)

·       Demonstrate appropriate MLA format (keyboarding, in-text citations, quotes, authors’ names, and works-cited page)


Assignment Parameters


·       Third person point of view

·       MLA formatting

·       Incorporation of at least two but no more than seven outside sources (no sources may be from the free web), embedded appropriately

·       5-7 pages, typed, not including the works-cited page

·       Students will apply one of the modes—cause & effect, compare & contrast, or argument & persuasion—to Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story “The Yellow Wallpaper.”


Introduction: For this introduction, write an interesting hook. You may choose any of the styles done so far—question(s), a quote, background information, or an anecdote. Whatever you choose, make sure it is relevant to your issue. Your thesis should formally state the subject and your opinion. It should be clear what mode you have chosen.

Body: Develop your thesis fully. Be sure to structure your essay according to its mode.

Conclusion: Restate your thesis and provide a sense of closure.


·       At any time, if you have questions regarding this final assignment, feel free to see me during office hours or make an appointment.

·       In order to engage in peer review, rough drafts must be 5-7 pages, typed.

·       Remember, this essay is 20% of your final grade. Treat it as a final exam.


Assignment pt. 2

Interpretive Approaches to “The Yellow Wallpaper” and Possible Modality Applications


In class, we discuss the following possible interpretations of “The Yellow Wallpaper”:

1.      Autobiographical—how does the work reflect Gilman’s life?

2.      Gender stereotypes—is this a feminist work? How were women treated then and now?

3.      Gothic—how does the work represent gothic literature?

4.      Marriage relationship—is John a good or bad husband? Is this an abusive relationship? Is it just a marriage in decline?

5.      Medical issues—is the narrator suffering from depression? Psychosis? OCD? How does medical knowledge compare then and now?

6.      Psychoanalysis—how are the id, superego, and ego represented in this work?


Students are then asked to choose one of the essay modes we’ve covered this quarter (cause and effect, compare and contrast, process analysis, and argument and persuasion) and apply a theme. Here’s some of the possible ways this plays out:

Cause & Effect

Explain the causes/effects of the narrator’s insanity.

Explain the causes/effects of the unhappy marriage.

Explain the causes/effects of the narrator’s depression.


Compare & Contrast

Compare and contrast the narrator and her husband.

Compare and contrast Gilman and the narrator.

Compare and contrast medical knowledge then and now.

Compare and contrast women’s roles then and now.

Compare and contrast “The Yellow Wallpaper” and another narrative.

Compare and contrast the narrator and the woman in the wallpaper.



Argue it is a feminist work.

Argue it is a gothic work.

Argue it is a psychoanalytical work.

Argue John is a good/bad husband.

Argue a diagnosis: the narrator suffers from depression or psychosis or OCD or schizophrenia.

What is the symbolism of the colors in the story?

What is the symbolism of the wallpaper?


 Updated 5 March 2013


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