Study Guide for English Final
Cult of True Womanhood:
- Cult of true womanhood = cult of domesticity. We see this trickle into the 20th century, but it is challenged more.
- Writings are depictions of these ideas.
-A good woman was expected to be pious. Women were not expected to “over stimulate” their minds outside of the teachings of the bible.
- Domesticity was more demanding.
The cult of true womanhood (CTW) was a nineteenth century cultural ideology that outlined expected qualities and behavior for a “true woman.” Which of the following is NOT outlined by CTW: Beauty
A period spent in inactivity or leisure with the intention of improving one's physical or mental health.
This treatment is seen in The Yellow Wallpaper, it was written to showcase the failure of it.
Story of An Hour
1: Identify passages that suggest Mrs. Mallard was dissatisfied with her marriage (or the expectations placed on women to marry).
1a: She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same. She said it over and over under her breath: “free, free, free!”. “And yet she had loved him-sometimes. Often she had not.” If you want to learn more check out alhz
2: Identify passages that indicate the social/cultural perception that women were emotionally or psychologically frail.
2a: First passage, showing us that she is frail and great care should be taken “heart trouble”. She has to receive the news in a certain way,
because women are fragile. They are unable to handle this type of news. She went alone to her room, no one followed her.
3) Identify imagery that symbolizes Mrs. Mallard’s transformation.
3a) “She was beginning to recognize this thing that was approaching to possess her, and she was striving to beat it back with her will – as powerless as her two white slender hands would have been. When she abandoned herself a little whispered word escaped her slightly parted lips. She said it over and over under her breath: ‘Free, free, free’ “
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4) Analyze the phrases “heart trouble” and “ heart disease—the joy that kills” that frame the story. Explain the irony and double meaning implied by Chopin.
4a) She’s not happy to see him. Heart trouble and heart disease frames the story. Seeing him broke her heart, stripped away new experience of being free that she just had.
Made popular by Edgar Allan Poe
The Yellow Wallpaper
1) Describe the atmosphere of the setting. Are there any noticeable gothic characteristics?
1a) The wallpaper itself, broken greenhouses, house is in disrepair, windows are barred with rings on the wall.
2) Identify evidence of The Cult of True Womanhood within the narrative.
2a) Preferred room downstairs but husband wanted to be in the wallpaper room. “John laughs at me, but that’s expected in a marriage. “The people are gone and I am tired out. John thought it might do me good to see a little company…” We also discuss several other topics like general physics 1 study guide
3) How does the description of the wallpaper develop during the story? Identify some thematic descriptions of the wallpaper.
3a) Connection between wallpaper and the speaker’s state of mind. Sees things in the wallpaper, women wanting to get out. Pattern and sub-pattern that comes out in the moonlight. Pattern takes on more life as story continues. At night it becomes bars.
“At night in any kind of light, in twilight, candlelight, lamplight, and worst of all by moonlight, it becomes bars! The outside pattern, I mean, and the woman behind it is as plain as can be.”
According to class discussion, this description suggest the wall paper symbolizes which of the following:
A. Patriarchal oppression of women
4) How does narrator’s state-of-mind mirror the description of the paper?
4a) She feels trapped and kind of crazy, like the woman in the wallpaper. Act of tearing down the wallpaper symbolized her seeking freedom. Freeing the woman trapped in the wallpaper freed her.
5) Analyze the final passage of the story. How do you interpret the image of the narrator crawling over her fainted husband?
5a) She pulled off more of the paper so she could not be put back. Crawling over husband - A victory and triumph for her, dominance and submission.
No one really knows the truth about Emily; it’s more about what the town thinks they know about her. Story told from the perspective of the town. Truth is objective. There are multiple speakers of the story. Narration is disjointed sense of time. Point of view gives us a lot to think about a group of people building a narrative that isn’t necessarily factual.
• Can you recall any examples of the grotesque from “A Rose For Emily?”
- Synthesis of real and unreal, normal and un-normal.
Example. Pg1010 – “Her skeleton was small and spare…while the visitors stated their errand”. Giving the image that she is not human looking = grotesque
Pg1015 – Opens tomb and finds Homer’s body. “For a while we just stood there.”
• “A Rose For Emily” acknowledges several changes that occur in Jefferson. Identify some of these changes, and discuss how Emily reacts to the changes.
• What do you think Faulkner is implying about “change,” “the past,” and “progress.”
The town leadership has changed and Emily has not. The people that were working around her needs are no longer there to do that for her. The new people that run the town now want her to pay taxes. Emily’s dad dies, at first she denied it, keeps his body for 3 days, doesn’t take
it well. Eventually people stop sending their kids over for painting lessons. Her house has changed; the streets have changed too due to industrialization. Don't forget about the age old question of forensic psychology jury selection
Fear of change and progress. She kills Homer, who represents symbol of the north and progress. She killed him to keep him the same, control over the environment.
In the 2nd paragraph of “A Rose for Emily,” Faulkner represents the shift from the Antebellum (pre-Civil War) south to the Modern-Industrial age by juxtaposing Miss Emily’s house to which of the following images: Gas pumps, cotton gins, and garages
∙ If Gothicism is interested in a character’s psychology what do you think Faulkner hoped to reveal about Miss Emily’s motives, choices, and state of mind?
See Miss Emily resisting progress. She tries to hold one to the men in her life, they took away her fathers body and she made sure that she could keep Homer. Her father is being criticized because of his control? Maybe exacerbating her inability to find a partner in the town. She keeps Homer because of the social norms and structures that she should have a partner.
∙ What social structures, values, conventions, or other “structures of human life” does “A Rose For Emily” call into question? What passages exemplify this?
∙ You might consider broader social norms or pressures that influence Emily’s behavior and the town’s perception of Emily?
Social norms are responsible for some women's state of mind. Is she crazy? Or is she driven by societal pressures and outside factors? Faulkner uses literary techniques to highlight societal pressures placed on women.
Tries to give a voice to those that don’t have a voice in society. Attention to a woman/heroine
Elisa is the protagonist. Henry, her husband in a farmer or rancher. She meets a traveling salesman. Then goes to dinner with her husband.
• Revisit the opening few paragraphs. What’s the setting of the story? Does any particular description stand out as symbolic of Elisa’s reality?
She’s in her garden. It’s winter (December specifically). Sense of confinement and dimness. Self-contained. Dialogue with her and her husband is short and not intimate. Sense of sexual repression when she’s talking to the handyman, she wants more opportunity. Sense of isolations and confinement in describing the environment and setting. Power struggle between Elisa and her husband.
• On pages 1045 and 1046, there is a clear distinction between Allen’s work and Elisa’s work. Compare the two versions of work and explain the difference.
She is dedicated to her flowers, seen not as important work by the men. Should be working in the orchard producing food.
• Compare the interactions Elisa has with her husband Allen and the travelling handyman. What is revealed and suggested about Elisa’s marriage and sense of herself as a woman?
She has more passionate conversation with the handyman. Has to dig out a pan for him to fix and he takes in interest in the flowers he’s working on. She starts to feel empowered because she can do everything that he can do. Shows what she is lacking in her marriage. Handyman misspells the signs on his wagon, not very well educated. Travels up and down the coast. Once he asked about the flowers she becomes engaged and it brings her to life. She desires to live the life that the handyman does, because she wants to do
more. She becomes empowered through the conversation, the only thing keeping her from being like the handyman are the social restrictions. Speaks up about what she could do as a woman, empowered by her abilities. Also has a sexual awakening during conversation. Shows a sexual element is missing from her marriage. Sexual and intellectual stimulation from the conversation.
• Elisa’s appearance and dress change after her interaction with the handyman. How do you interpret this transformation?
She feels more confident in herself. Her husband says that she looks strong and happy. Not satisfied with the way her husband first approaches her saying that she looks “nice”. Baths are symbolic in literature = sort of transformation or baptism. Riding high with interaction with the tinkerer.
• The story is titled “The Chrysanthemums.” Given Elisa’s “planting hands,” we might infer that the presence of the flowers in the story symbolize Elisa and her growth/place in society. If that’s the case, how do the flowers represent Elisa?
Sexually suggestive imagery. She is seen as ornamental and does not have much value as utility. Thrown out on the road, she feels discarded.
- The handyman threw out the saplings and kept the pot, to probably sell. Makes her upset because of this and he kept the pot. She starts to cry because it bring isolation and disconnect to the forefront. The world is not ready for her. Powerful image at the end of the story: Her happiness ends up being thwarted by the handyman in the end, dreams disappear.
Adopted by institution. Seen as America’s Chekhov, his favorite author. Birdman based off of one of his stories.
Two versions of Raymond Carver
Bad= pre-cancer diagnosis: infidelity, substance abuse and spousal abuse, poverty and youth.
Good= Post-cancer diagnosis: New lease on life, writing less important
Style and influences:
Between modernism and post modernism
(The big 3)
Hemingway, Faulkner and Chekhov
They told very short stories, could sit down and enjoy a story in one sitting
John Gardner (Teacher)
Gordon Lish (Editor)
Tess Gallagher (Widow)
Vices and Portrayal:
Alcohol, nicotine, and marijuana: all featured in Cathedral Associated with poverty at this time. Working class medicine
Alcohol: Catalyst or Enabler
Marijuana: Distraction/absence of self
Modernism: breaking of traditional storytelling conventions, post WWI (emphasis
post-modernism: Rejections of modernism, post WWII
minimalism: Straight forward delivery
realism: Still fiction
anticlimax: Refusal of decisive endings
Autobiographical: dealing with writer’s own life. Cathedral actually did happen.
-Narrator - Robert calls him Bub
-Robert (Blind man)
Calling Bub because he is not giving him the respect of calling him by his name. Acting dismissively.
- Gets ideas about blindness from the movies. Is surprised that he isn’t wearing glasses or doesn’t have a cane.
- Can’t describe a Cathedral because he has a preconceived idea about what a Cathedral is. Blind man is better at communicating because he’s always taking things in. Vision becomes a handicap for the narrator. In trying he discovers barriers because he hasn’t connected right, he just observes and doesn’t actually take anything in.
- Drawing the Cathedral with the blind man is a new experience for him; he notices that he’s feeling. They are physically connected, which is new for the narrator. Experiences something for the first time, a humbling experience for him. Is being deconstructed as an individual.
- He doesn’t open his eyes at the end of the story because he is feeling bliss and connected. Is able to see deficits. If he opens his eyes he may not stay humble or connected.
- Why the title? A lot of detail and work in it. The most important part was drawing the people. Need for community and connection. Religious threads?
- “It’s really something” he’s referring to the experience of feeling, not something that has happened to him before. Substance abuse? He was having an out of body experience.
Themes and ideas:
Isolation; representation vs experience; fact vs interpretation.
- Story may be talking about artistic endeavors because something’s aren’t always what they seem. Show new perspectives. Hope that people will look at your work and listen to your stories.
Meta-Fiction: fiction in which the author self-consciously alludes to the artificiality or literariness of a work by parodying or departing from novelistic conventions (especially naturalism) and traditional narrative techniques.
Carver’s “Cathedral” exemplifies post-modern ideas by thematically demonstrating the failure of ___________ and the importance of _____________.
Very different stylistically than Carver.
- Wordy, descriptive, superfluous
- Characters are pretty tame, all-American family, eating lobster and drinking champagne for dinner, upper-middle class.
- Reflects Updike’s life and reality as an adult
Affluent family; has tennis court etc.
Remodeling of home is an ominous symbol of what’s to come. New start, symbolic change, a distraction from the real issue. Consumer America says we have to replace things, change things externally to deal with the internal.
Seen as a distraction or coping mechanism. Doesn’t want to face the stigma by confronting the problem with religion or a counselor.
Tennis court is clay and needs to be repaired every year. This year isn’t being repaired. Disrepair has increased within the seasons. Tennis courts left baron and cracks become trenches. Reflects state of marriage.
Battening down the house against his absence. Fixing the house before he leaves. Symbolic act.
Emphasis on personal happiness, cultural ideas about family. Transformed values. A notion about love takes precedence. Points to bigger things that are happening in society.
At the end of the story, Dickie asks Richard “why” Richard and Joan are separating. What is Richard’s response?
Richard has forgotten what the reason was. The reason seems to be that they just don’t love each other anymore. The story doesn’t give any real reason; sometimes there is a hint of a 3rd person.
Sandra Cisneros: The House on Mango Street
What thematic symbol is associated with Esperanza’s great grandmother?
Sentence structure serves herself, not the reader. Doesn’t conform to traditional narratives.
Vignette: Very brief encounters. Comes together to give a vision of Esperanza and Mango Street.
No clear chronology in story. Reads kind of like Faulkner.
Semi autobiographical: some characters are a few people woven into one made up person.
Very impoverished part of Chicago.
Didn’t want to write a book that a reader wouldn’t understand and wouldn’t feel ashamed for not getting.
The real house is nothing like the dream house; it is much smaller
The image of the house is the “American dream”. Esperanza wants a house that she wouldn’t be ashamed to point out to people.
Esperanza has “lazy hair” it can’t be contained in a certain place for long. It doesn’t conform to conventional beauty.
Being born in the year of the horse like her grandmother: women are born strong, something that the Chinese and Mexicans don’t like. Cultural knowledge about strength of women, threat to male dominance.
She sees herself as more unconventional and chooses a name to reflect that. Get rid of previous baggage, new control over her future.
Marin can’t come outside until her aunt comes home, “and even then she can only stay out in front.” Why do you think these limitations are placed on Marin?
- To keep her under control, control her sexuality.
That racial prejudice is an issue in all aspects. The people in Esperanza’s neighborhood are seen as scary to outsiders and visa versa.
-People feel safe with their own kind
Men provide structure and discipline in the households.
The daughter’s role should take over the mothers. The father is feared. Boys aren’t expected to follow mothers’ orders while women are supposed to be ready to take over the mothers’ role.
When wearing the high heels:
They notice their legs. Developmental tag that they have women’s bodies with the high heels on that they are getting attention from men. Sexual interest.
They go back to their real life after taking the shoes off, they were seen as something else for a bit. Rags to riches story. - Like Cinderella
Bildungsroman: coming of age story that emphasizes the transformation of a young character.
Esperanza is transforming into a woman. The neighborhood is transforming, according to Cathy. Social norms of women are transforming, at least in Esperanza’s mind she views women as being able to be more independent. Acceptance of Mango Street as part of who she is. Return to it in a more dutiful way.
What does Esperanza’s poem express about her internal conflict? What does she want?
Resist cultural norm
Esperanza told to write by her aunt:
Writing can keep you free because there are no barriers, self expression, maintain imagination. Free from judgment, uncensored and unfiltered, autonomy.
Home isn’t necessarily a physical space, more of what is inside of you, more of an identity. Her perception and connection to Mango Street is part of who she is.
“Four Skinny Trees”
Trees perceiver even under undesirable circumstances. She is connected to the place like the trees. She is skinny like the trees. Metaphor: Is rooted to Mango street, but they are always reaching. Pepsi commercial: Shows that her son is assimilating, separation between her and her son. Shows a divide.
Sally’s father is physically violent. She is stuck in a cycle of abuse with her father. She keeps on going back and forgiving him. Ends up getting married at 14 to a marshmallow salesman, also restricts her. Only left with things in her house, material progress but not emotional.
The Monkey Garden:
Was once a place of refuge and innocence (Garden of Eden) for Esperanza, in this vignette it changes.
Witnesses Sally’s acts, in response goes to Tito’s mom with no avail, goes to the tree and transforms.
Moment of transformation, tried to will herself to die. Green dress symbolizes growth and maturity. New perception about her body.
Esperanza is raped or assaulted. Has a sexual experience that is not like what she has been told. Transformative experience, loss of innocence.
Coming of age heavily pronounced in this chapter.
“The Three Sisters”
Allusion of the Greek fates, associated with ones destiny.
Sisters help her process what she’s been through and help her see her future.
Housing desires change from wanting a house that she wouldn’t be ashamed to point out to a space all her own.
A space all her own, doesn’t need to be a big or fancy space. Once wanted a house that she could point to, now that has changed into her just having a space for herself. Less focused on appearance and more of one that is reflective of who she is and autonomy.
“Mango Says Goodbye Sometimes”
Wants to always remember where she came from, that it’s always a part of her. Socially minded and dutiful role about Mango Street.