FC: MENTAL ESCAPE
1: In the short story "Weeding" by Katinka Loeser the narrator is trying to escape from something. She believes her garden will provide her with relief from the problems she faces, and bring joy to her life. She feels controlled by her overbearing husband, and constantly refers to him as an authoritive figure; he seems to have power over her. This is much like the short story "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, in this story the narrator faces the same dilemma. She is trapped by her husband, and her only escape is a mental one. She uses the yellow wallpaper as her way to break free. Both characters are in a position they feel powerless in, and the only way for them to get through it is to create their own sanctuary.
2: In "Weeding" the narrator finds salvation in caring for her garden; she is delighted by all of the beautiful flowers, but is annoyed by all of the weeds which have grown in. The garden becomes her escape from her husband; it is where she can be herself.
3: While weeding through the garden she encounters some of life's creatures which become intriguing to her. She finds refuge exploring through the garden with all of it's hidden surprises.
4: The garden is symbolic of her life. | The flowers represent the beautiful things she longs to escape to, | and the weeds are like her husband, always rooted firmly in the garden taking over the flowers.
5: Loeser is constantly referring to her husband as: | "The One and Only" "Mr. President" | "The Chief" "The Chairman of the Board"
6: Loeser’s husband displays controlling behavior; he even corrects her when she speaks improperly. The narrator states, “The One and Only would correct me instanter, without recourse to his Bartlett’s.” In spite of this, Loeser delves into the garden, and tries to convince herself that she is happy. She says, “I am almost hidden in this rambling, misbegotten jungle, but I feel great. I really do. Really.”
7: In the "Yellow Wallpaper" the narrator discovers she can escape her imprisonment within the yellow wallpaper. | This becomes a way for her to exercise her literary imagination. She is able to put her mind to rest, and forget about her controlling husband.
8: Jane’s husband treats her like she is a child; he doesn't take her seriously. When speaking to her he will say things like: "What is it, little girl?" "Don't go walking around like that--you'll get cold" "Blessed little goose"
9: Both women are unhappy; Jane is confined to a room which is very empty, and is told she can not write or do anything. She explains, " “… John has cautioned me not to give way to fancy in the least. He says that with my imaginative power and habit of story-making, a nervous weakness like mine is sure to lead to all manner of excited fancies, and that I ought to use my will and good sense to check the tendency." Therefore she is left there with nothing to stimulate her mind except for the yellow wallpaper.
10: Jane's initial reaction to the yellow wallpaper is it repulses her, and makes her uncomfortable. Eventually she grows accustomed to it, and develops a connection to it. The wallpaper actually helps her to become stronger. Before long she is saying, "But I am here, and no person touches this paper but me,--not alive !" This shows Jane becoming assertive and independent. She is no longer giving in to others; she is standing up for herself.
11: Although Loeser is unhappy with her husband she still tries to please him. She planted the rambling roses, and purple clematis which she received from her friends for her birthday outside the window to her husband’s study so he would have something pleasurable to look at, leaving the view from her workroom unpleasant.
12: "Somewhere in that garden are irises and day lilies and peonies and I forget what else because I can't see for weeds." Loeser is describing how her husband is occupying her mind, and disrupting her positive thoughts.
13: Towards the end of the story Jane is trying to get the woman out of the wallpaper, to free her from her prison. This is symbolic of Jane breaking free from her husband's control; the closer she gets to freeing the woman, the closer she gets to freeing herself.
14: "I've got out at last," said I, "in spite of you and Jane. And I've pulled off most of the paper, so you can't put me back!" Jane has finally broken free from her husband's control, and released another woman, the real Jane; the one who has been hiding inside afraid to come out.
15: "Now why should that man have fainted? But he did, and right across my path by the wall, so that I had to creep over him every time!" This symbolizes Jane gaining power over her husband by physically climbing over him and continuing on.
16: Near the end of the story Loeser receives a phone call from her friend Louise; she informs her that she has cancer.Loeser offers for Louise to come over or if she wants her to come there. Louise explains at a later time. Loeser continues, "Nothing here has been changed." She goes back and continues her gardening. This just reinforces how she uses the garden to help deal with problems in her life.
17: There are many different ways to cope with problems. Even though these women were not left with many options they did the best they could with what they had. Loeser used her garden as her escape, and Jane used the yellow wallpaper to rescue her.