Monthly Archives: January 2017

The Yellow Wall-Paper

The Yellow-Wallpaper to me is such an interesting text, as the ending is so satisfying but at the same time so vague and left so much to audience interpretation. From the face value of what we can see from the ending, Jane is driven into madness due to the influence of the wallpaper and her projection of her state of mental entrapment onto the wallpaper; the manifestation of the women behind bars on the wallpaper heavily reflects unstable mental state of Jane and also her feeling of being entrapped by the male dominant society even in the domestic space that she should feel safe and comfort in. Also, I believe that another possible interpretation towards the ending would be Jane being representational spark during the beginning of a change in the androcentric culture. She is portrayed as crazy or insane through her sickness of depression, thus making her perspective and points seem invalid or heretical. Since Jane sees things differently than other’s, specifically the wallpaper, she holds a perspective that is against what was generally accepted by society at the time. Although she may be crazy, she still shows purpose in her action. Throughout the short story, Jane attempts to break free from the constraint of the room and the yellow wallpaper and at last, she is able to obtain the freedom that she tried so hard to attain. The end depicts Jane physically above John, which is not only representational of the shift in power but also we get the feminine perspective above of the male perspective of the androcentric culture.

In other texts that we have read such as the life of Galileo, knowledge and truths are often hard to truly identify. Galileo’s views and knowledge were seen as heretical because it was not beneficial for those in power. Similarly, Jane’s perspective is often overlooked and dismissed by John simply because he has physical and mental ‘authority’ over her in society.

Life of Galileo

After reading the play Life of Galileo by Bertolt Brecht, it made me question how we as humans come to the idea of truth and what is part of a discourse. Anything and everything can be brought into question of how valid it is and whether if it is deemed worthy of being knowledge by society or authorities. Galileo’s proposal for putting forth the heliocentric model to correct the existing Ptolemaic model is a great example of knowledge being questioned and shows how authorities dictate the knowledge exposed to the public. In act four, Galileo says, “Truth is born of the times, not of authority. Our ignorance is limitless: Let us lop one cubic millimetre off it. Why try to be clever now that we at last have a chance of being a little less stupid?” Galileo wants to change the existing system that is proven through his physical evidence as incorrect, but the evidence is still rejected simply because the authorities (Chief fathers of church, philosophers, Classical scientists) don’t want their current system to be disrupted. If the Aristotle model is abolished, it would prove that the church was wrong, thus tarnishing the ‘perfect’ representation of earth and heaven.

The authorities who decides on what knowledge is are represented in the play as people who aspire to become so close to God that they are too ignorant to realise the truth that is presented to them. In act nine, the opening epigraph states,

“Eight long years with tongue in cheek

Of what he knew he did not speak.

Then temptation grew too great

And Galileo challenged fate.”

The focus of this poem is the word ‘fate’ as it implies that it is beyond one’s control but in this case, fate is controlled by those with power and authority. When Galileo challenged fate, he challenged the belief of Christianity thus challenging the sphere of influence of the church and cardinals. This is further shown through the views of the old cardinal as he says, “I am walking, with a firm step, on a fixed earth, it is motionless, it is the centre of the universe, I am the centre and the eye of the creator falls upon means me alone.” He is represented as such an ignorant person who rejects knowledge given to him simply because if Galileo were to be right, he would no longer be the one who God favours because he is the ‘centre’.

Anyone can say that they know something, but to prove it is harder and even if it is proven to one’s self that it is true, it does not mean that society will accept such truths and views. This limits and restricts the boundaries of our knowledge and also our creativity, as truths are rejected due to how beneficial it is for the authority.