“The Yellow Wallpaper” is a short story written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman that was first published in 1892. The story has been considered a breakthrough in the women’s feminist movement….
What the Tapster Saw and the Yellow Wallpaper
Ryan Bristle English 101-20 Ms. Harris 9 November 2012 Throughout “The Yellow Wallpaper” and “What the Tapster Saw” there were many similarities. Some of the main ideas were setting, insanity, doctors, and the sudden and gradual changes. The ideas of the stories have many similarities, even though they in very different times and places. The ideas of “The Yellow Wallpaper” are composed of inner thoughts of self- imposed insanity. What the Tapster Saw” was an inner evaluation of the surrounding world situations about country invasion and how humans can only function under certain circumstances due to our nature of modern civilization. The differences that stuck out the most were the setting and the conflict. The two settings were the two largest components of the stories. The author describes the house in which she is staying as an “English place” with “hedges and walls and gates that lock, and lots of separate smaller houses for the gardeners and others” (Gilman 1).
Even though the house seems pleasant in description, it had been around since the civil war or reconstruction. This old house set the possible mood of the house to where there is a lingering spirit from the original owners of the house which cause, the room with the yellow wall paper to cause the wife to act so irrationally or appear to go crazy. With the isolated setting of the house and the room with the yellow wall paper, I believe that it caused Jane’s mental state to slowly decline. Her mental state was in a slow decline because of the isolation of herself constantly being in the yellow room.
The setting for “What the Tapster Saw” is in a palm forest in Nigeria. In which the forest is full of trees, animals and a river “whose water was viscous and didn’t seem to move” (Okri 185). Nigeria sets itself apart from America because of the lack of modern knowledge or technology. The fact that there is an herbalist that is having the wine Tapster bring him items to talk about his dream of him dying shows the differences from America to life in Nigeria. The Tapster being alone in the forest all the time he is away from villages, people and the “modern world. The separation between the Tapster and everything else, the writer gave the tapster time to make inner evaluations of himself and watching foreign companies coming into his home, therefore rendering himself into looking at the world surrounding him and how it is changing. Although there are differences to the setting of the two stories there are also a few similarities about the setting. The psychological effects on the characters in both of the short stories, which lead to self-imposed insanity and inner evaluations of surrounding situations, have an effect on Jane and the tapster.
In “The Yellow Wallpaper” the wife spends the entire day inside, which leaves her to be drawn to the almost toxic room. At one point she took the keys to the room and locked the door so she can take the wallpaper down and free the woman she believes she can see. In this situation the husband gets the keys to the room and saw what his wife had done and fainted in astonishment. With Jane’s growing self-imposed insanity she becomes restless, and with this she believes she can see the old woman, and she needs to be freed causing her say “I am getting angry enough to do something desperate.
To jump out of the window would be admirable exercise, but the bars are too strong even to try” (Gilman 9). In “What the Tapster Saw” he is going insane because of his dream of dying while climbing, which he believes will happen. The tapster believes this may happen which leads him to going to an herbalist in seeking knowledge on what to do. While with the herbalist he receives no help due to the herbalist’s wives distracting him from helping the tapster. When the tapster left the herbalist with no advice or help, he falls deeper to pondering inner evaluation of the surrounding world.
With the tapster’s growing insanity he evaluates the surrounding situations, and country invasion. With his newfound evaluations the story introduced new characters. These new characters were a multicolored snake, and two turtles and one of the turtles had Tobasco’s (the herbalist) face. These new characters help the tapster realize that country invasion for natural resources is happening, and that modern civilization is upon them whether they can comprehend what is happening or not.
The needs for natural resources are desired throughout the world, and societal compliances of need and demand require humans to function under the pressure of needs and wants. With both of these main characters are having issues with their insanity they have doctors near them to help them. John from “The Yellow Wallpaper” is a physician, so he could help his wife with her problem of insanity. Jane confronts him with her problem and asks for him to help her, by telling him what is happening. He does not believe her about her problems and this drives Jane to spend more time in the room with the yellow wallpaper.
Jane has been spending more time in this room and she notices more and more sinister objects such as rings and things in the wall, the bed nailed down, and gouges in the wall around the bed. She eventually goes completely insane believing she had freed the woman in the wallpaper, because she had mentioned seeing this woman walking along the edge of the woods. In the similarity to “The Yellow Wallpaper” the herbalist in “What the Tapster Saw” had the tapster at his home or where his place of work is. The tapster came with a problem believing that he was going to die while climbing palm trees due to a dream he had.
The herbalist was distracted by his many wives and told the tapster to return the following day with turtles and kola nut and the herbalist would help him. The herbalist did not initially help the tapster due to distractions. Like modern society today there are many distractions that can prevent even a professional from completing their job. Even though there are many similarities between these two stories, there is a large difference. This difference is that in “What the Tapster Saw” there was a very sudden change in the story.
While in “The Yellow Wallpaper” there is a very gradual change in the story where Jane goes slowly insane. The very sudden change with the tapster is that in roughly a two day p, he had the dream he would die then saw the herbalist, and the next day while out he died. With that being a very sudden change, Jane had a very gradual change where the effects of the room with yellow wallpaper had psychologically impaired her from functioning the way she should be. The two completely different stories have many interpretations, and connections can be made from either.
The effects of self-imposed insanity and the inner evaluation of the surrounding world situations about country invasion and how humans can only function under certain circumstances due to our nature of modern civilization, show that the world is changing. The old and new merging together quickly, problems will be found and exploited. Works Cited Okri, Ben. “What the Tapster Saw” Stars of the New Curfew. NY: Viking P, 1989. 183-194. Print Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. “The Yellow Wallpaper” Suny. edu State Univ. of NY. nd. Web. 29 Oct. 2012