Apr 23 2013

Annotated Bibliography (Research Paper)

Published by at 1:42 pm under Uncategorized

Ford, Karen. “’The Yellow Wallpaper’ and Women’s Discourse.” Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature 4.2 (1985): 309-14. JSTOR. Web. 14 Apr. 2013.

The author provides a brief overview and extension of Paula Treichler’s analysis of “The Yellow Wallpaper.” She offers several useful examples of patriarchal structures and oppression of women in the story. I will use this source to identify the gender disparity that is so embedded in the environment and people of the story.

Mark Gaipa Strategy 2: Ass Kissing


Kemeny, Margaret E. “The Psychobiology of Stress.” Current Directions in Psychological Science 12.4 (2003): 124-29. JSTOR. Web. 14 Apr. 2013.

Margaret Kemeny, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, discusses the way social stresses can result in physiological/psychobiological changes. She explains that “subordinate animals who have low social status” demonstrate several biochemical and physiological changes in the brain more frequently than their dominant counterparts, and that awareness of low social status as well as low “social self-esteem” seems to “play an important role in these effects” (128). I will use this source, coupled with the one by Aleksandra Rogowska, to suggest that the protagonist in “The Yellow Wallpaper” may have acquired synesthesia as a result of changes in the brain that resulted from an awareness of her lower social status as a woman.

Mark Gaipa Strategy 3: Piggybacking

Strategy 8: Crossbreeding with Something New


Nunn, J. A., L. J. Gregory, M. Brammer, S.C.R Williams, D. M. Parslow, M. J. Morgan, R. J. Morris, E. T. Bullmore, S. Baron-Cohen, and J. A. Gray. “Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Synesthesia: Activation of V4/V8 by Spoken Words.” Nature Neuroscience 5 (2002): 371-75. 25 Feb. 2002. Web. 9 Apr. 2013.

About a decade ago, a team of researchers discovered that certain spoken words activated the “color center” in the brain known as V4/V8 in subjects with one particular form of synesthesia. They concluded that, when presented with certain verbal stimuli, these subjects perceive corresponding colors consistently. I will use this source as evidence to show that synesthesia is a real phenomenon.

Mark Gaipa Strategy 8: Crossbreeding with Something New


O’Malley, Glenn. “Literary Synesthesia.” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 15.4 (1957): 391-411. JSTOR. Web. 14 Apr. 2013.

The author provides a definition of literary synesthesia as well as examples of the way synesthesia is used as a literary device in various works of literature. In particular, the author explains that Dante’s use of “intersense metaphor” in The Divine Comedy, and other similar uses of literary synesthesia, ought to be examined for underlying poetic and philosophical meaning. I will use this source as evidence that where synesthesia appears in literature it ought to be viewed as a symbol.

Mark Gaipa Strategy 2: Ass Kissing

Strategy 3: Piggybacking


Perkins Gilman, Charlotte. “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Boston: Small & Maynard, 1899. N.         pag. Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper. Web. 30 Mar. 2013.

This text is the primary source that my essay will analyze. “The Yellow Wallpaper” is a short story about a woman’s experience of what appears to be madness. Synesthesia as a clinical phenomenon is also apparent in this story, but has hardly been critically analyzed. I will draw evidence for the protagonist’s synesthesia from this text to ultimately explain through the lens of synesthesia the much more frequently examined theme of women’s struggle to achieve freedom.

                        Mark GaipaStrategy 7: Dropping Out


Rogowska, Aleksandra. “Categorization of Synesthesia.” Review of General Psychology 15.3 (2011): 213-27. PsycARTICLES. Web. 14 Apr. 2013.

Dr. Aleksandra Rogowska, a researcher in the Department of Physical Education and Physiotherapy at the Opole University of Technology, provides an overview of the various forms of synesthesia and their causes. She explains that no two people experience synesthesia the same way, and that, according to research, synesthetes who experience color synesthetically have increased sensitivity to color. She also explains that one form of synesthesia, “Acquired synaesthesia or postaccidental synaesthesia,” can arise involuntarily during adulthood following a biochemical or otherwise neurological change in the brain. I will use this source to support my argument that the heightened sensitivity of the protagonist in “The Yellow Wallpaper” to the yellow wallpaper may be the result of acquired synesthesia, and illustrates the perceptual gender divide between the protagonist and her husband. I will also use this source to suggest that the protagonist’s condition was caused by a biochemical/neurological event during adulthood.

Mark Gaipa Strategy 3: Piggybacking

Strategy 8: Crossbreeding with Something New


Sidis, Boris. “An Inquiry into the Nature of Hallucinations: I.” Psychological Review 11.1 (1904): 15-29. PsycARTICLES. Web. 9 Apr. 2013.

Five years after “The Yellow Wallpaper” was first published, Boris Sidis, a noted American psychologist and psychiatrist, wrote that synesthesia is a form of hallucination in its simplest state. I will use this source to demonstrate that synesthesia was a known phenomenon around the time that “The Yellow Wallpaper” was published, and to suggest that Charlotte Perkins Gilman may have been aware of synesthesia as a real condition. I will also use this understanding of synesthesia as a basic form of hallucination to consider the symbolic meaning of synesthesia in “The Yellow Wallpaper.”

Mark Gaipa Strategy 4: Leapfrogging

Strategy 8: Crossbreeding with Something New



Treichler, Paula A. “Escaping the Sentence: Diagnosis and Discourse in “The Yellow Wallpaper”” Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature 3.1/2 (1984): 61-77. JSTOR. Web. 4 Apr. 2013.

Paula Treichler, professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and African Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, analyzes “The Yellow Wallpaper” through a feminist lens as a story of “social and economic conditions which drive the narrator—and potentially all women—to madness” (64). She explains the yellow wallpaper as a symbol with implications for the narrator’s position within patriarchal society. I will use this source to suggest, along the lines of Margaret E. Kemeny’s article, that the social stresses that may have caused the narrator’s synesthesia may very well have been a result of her status within the patriarchy. This angle is somewhat opposed to that of Treichler, who prefers to view the story with a focus on socio-economics instead of psychology. And while Treichler focuses on the narrator’s creative use of language as a form of resistance against the patriarchy and an extension of women’s domain, I will borrow this interpretation and similarly apply it to the narrator’s synesthesia.

Mark Gaipa Strategy 3: Piggybacking

Strategy 4: Leapfrogging


Ward, Jamie. “Synesthesia.” Annual Review of Psychology 64 (2013): 49-75. Annual Reviews. Web. 9 Apr. 2013.

Jamie Ward, a researcher at the University of Sussex in the U.K., provides a general overview of synesthesia. Contrary to Boris Sidis, he explains that synesthetic experience is unlike illusions and hallucinations.  He also writes that during the last couple of decades of the nineteenth century there was a sharp increase in the number of reported cases of synesthesia, and that the scientific establishment’s notion of synesthesia during the 1890’s was similar to what it is today.  I will use this source primarily as evidence that Gilman may have been aware of synesthesia as a clinical condition. I will also use it to analyze the symbolic meaning of synesthesia in “The Yellow Wallpaper.”


Mark Gaipa Strategy 3: Piggybacking

Strategy 8: Crossbreeding with Something New

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One response so far

One Response to “Annotated Bibliography (Research Paper)”

  1.   Jason Tougawon 23 Apr 2013 at 7:21 pm

    I mentioned this in class, but it’s worth reiterating. You don’t need to take on the burden of demonstrating that Gilman was familiar with research on synesthesia. If you find clear evidence for that, great.

    Focus your energy on the representation of synesthesia in the story itself. What roles does it play? How might your sources help you understand and explain this role more clearly and effectively? That’s the place to put your energy.

    That said, there is probably some room for historical context. You can reflect on late-Victorian understandings of synesthesia without having to demonstrate what Gilman did or didn’t know.

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