On page four of “Introduction: Ways of Reading”, the second statement I had placed a star next to was a passage about becoming “creatures of these essays”. These essays, as the author states, “dominate our seeing, talking, reading, and writing… This captivity is something we welcome, yet it is also something we resist”. I love the part about welcoming and resisting because that’s what education is like for me. Sometimes we become so comfortable with our reading and writing styles it can be very difficult to do otherwise when an instructor asks us to. For myself, I enjoy learning. It’s when I’m asked to think deep or read profound essays when I’m scared and start to “resist”. I’m only nineteen! How can I be profound, wise, deep… I feel as if my lack of real-world experience is holding me back to a point where I resist the new tasks given to me.
A phrase that I had related to, also on page four, went as “The essays have changed the ways people think and write”. In the margin I had noted, “It’s amazing to think someone’s writing can have such personal effects on other people – and on such large scales”. To some, reading and writing are simply class assignments that must be drug out and on; essentially viewed as a waste of time. I, on the other hand, have always found it interesting. Of course, at times, not my favorite thing to do… but, still interesting. I love seeing an authors choice of diction – the way some choose to keep it straight and to the point, while others enjoy showing off their extensive vocabulary. I enjoy all the metaphors and similes. I think words can be so beautiful and powerful – often inspiring. So to think that an author, well-known or not, can have the ability to change the way people choose to think and write is in it’s own way, very incredible. To have that type of control over someone is powerful. After reading “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, I realized not only how well someone can write, but also all the details that can be portrayed. In a way, her short story was quite disturbing. Gilman was able to take something so irrelevant to life (the wallpaper) and display to an audience how a wealthy, aristocratic woman can go clinically insane. She’s been given everything – a beautiful estate, a blessed life… Yet chooses to let her boredom get the best of her and literally let’s the pattern of the wallpaper control her. I’m not quite sure why this amazed me. To a lot, this short story is long and boring. I still find it disturbing – living such a secret life, hiding things from her husband, closing herself off from society… All because of yellow wallpaper. It scared me, but impressed me. I was utterly intrigued. I just can’t get over the fact that someone is able to take something as trivial as wallpaper and write with such an ability to the point it can dictate and control someone’s life. It gives me hope that the art of literature can still be held up. Even though a lot of styles and changes have come about since Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote her short story, it just further impresses upon me that everything being told to us in “Introduction: Ways of Reading” are tools that can really be used in todays writing style, but can still be found in literature of the past.
It’s still a little weird to me how I can be reading a college textbook and be able to relate it to life right now. Especially since I can relate it back to things I read my junior year of high school. But, as I said before, I’m interested to see how this textbook plays out and how it continues to apply to me. I’m excited to see with essays I become “a creature” to.