First of all, I come up with collaboration ideas on a whim. If I think it’s good, I just need to grab a couple of people that wants to join. I tend to do the most work in the collaboration though, like the Hyping Up series I recently put out, so it works out in the end. Well, I want to keep the collaboration love going with this monthly series project of mine.
I call it “Tea time with”, and it’s basically a featured blogger type post. Instead of interviews or celebrating their best work, I decided to approach the blogger and ask them for their favorite works. It can be a book, a movie or an anime, as long as I have access to it. I’ll read or watch their fave thing, and then we’ll discuss it. I’ll ask them five questions about it, and they’ll ask me five questions too as we exchange notes on the fave thing.
This’ll be an organic look at the blogger themselves, since I’m basically partaking in a part of themselves. It’s an ambitious project, but I’m excited to try it out. I also wanted to approach bloggers I haven’t had collaborations with, and it’s really just me wanting to know them more. Every last week of the month, expect TPAB to have tea time with a random blogger.
For this month, I approached Keiko from Keiko’s anime blog (literally at the first day of the new year). I asked her for her favorite book, since she is currently studying English literature and she loves consuming books. Despite her uninspired blog name and insistence on doing anime instead of books, Keiko is intimidatingly smart. She outclasses me on analyzing a piece of literature, and you can tell she’s holding back when she’s talking about anime. I think this post will convince you how massive her brain is.
She shares her favorite SHORT STORY. She believes I can’t complete reading a book, and she is right. I don’t like reading, but Keiko is a considerate enough person to share some books that my low leveled brain can actually consume. I have Scarlet Letter in my PTR for now.
Anyways, her favorite short story is THE YELLOW WALLPAPER by Charlotte Perkins Gilman.
KEIKO: Ok so without really giving much away: A woman is prescribed the ‘rest cure’ after giving birth so her husband takes her to a country house. Here, she faces isolation with the yellow wallpaper in her room as her only companion round the clock. As the wallpaper creeps into her deepest thoughts, she is driven to the brink of insanity. I think that sums it up pretty well.
TPAB: cool ~ ok, here’s my first question “what the f*ck cakes, THIS IS your fave story? Why?!!!!!”
A Book Enthusiast Professes Her Love
KEIKO: Hahahah yeah it is my favourite Why? Hmm I guess because it never fails to fascinate me.
I’ve read it a couple of times now and every time, my reading of it was different. The first time I read it, I don’t know, something about it gripped me and it was probably the first time a story took hold of me like that. It’s not my favourite because of what it’s about but rather the effect it had on me. :’)
TPAB: How did it affect you? Because it scared me. As a psych major, my mind is going “this is why psychology is around” to prevent something this messed up.
KEIKO: The ending shocked me. I sort of just sat there staring at the screen thinking ‘what did I read’ and then I went on a mad search to figure out what this ‘rest cure’ was and why the author chose to write this. It was the first time I read and analyzed something out of my own free will because of how shocked I was. Yeah, it is messed up but it was supposed to be an eye-opening text at the time so I guess it fulfilled and continues to fulfill its initial purpose
Lol did you not like it?
TPAB: It’s a great story, since it’s the diary (I think) of a woman who suffers from nervous breakdowns. The writing goes from calm to intense to crazy to calm again, as if the author really had the condition. Did she?!
But it was scary, because the ending kinda dove off the deep end. There was a woman shaking the bars, she crept around the windows, then the writer is the woman!!!!
KEIKO: Yeah…. the author was given the same treatment as the woman and it almost got to her. She stopped her treatment, and this was what she wrote as a reply to the doctor who prescribed her the rest cure. Yeah, the ending just gets to you :’)
That sums up the transition pretty well I guess. But, it was a wallpaper… there was nothing there from the get go. This was all in the narrator’s mind which is what’s scarier. She created this image of bars and a woman creeping behind it.
English Lit Major Helps Psych Major Analyze A Wallpaper
TPAB: I think it was the rest cure setting off a cabin fever type thing for the woman. It’s not an ideal cure, since a physician only knows the body but her illness is the mind. Sigmund Freud would have a field day with her. Being stuck in the house doing nothing, she fixated on the wall paper. But holy hell, she keeps going back to talking about the wall paper. It was insane.
KEIKO: Do you know what the rest cure is?
TPAB: Sleep it off and just rest, right?
KEIKO: Nope. The rest cure was prescribed to those suffering nervous breakdowns, hysteria and the likes and was also given to women after birth. The person prescribed was to live in isolation and bed rest. They were not allowed to move around, communicate or even think. At all times, they had to be in a state of rest. It doesn’t work for anything. Clearly, if you tell a person to stop using their brain, and to stop thinking, they will be driven into a corner. Suppressing ones thoughts and imagination only leads to crazier thoughts.
KEIKO: What did you make of the room though? Like any thoughts of why the wallpaper was yellow? Or why the windows had bars? Or why the bed was chained/pinned down?
TPAB: I lack a creative mind to really visualize the room, but it’s big, right? The wall paper had a lot of lines. For me, it was just a wall paper. I think if she chose any other room, she’d found something to fixate on. I think the “yellow is getting on your clothes” line bothered me. Also, it’s a big room with a lot of windows is all I got. With bars in it? Windows all around….but the room is still covered with wall paper.
KEIKO: Ok, let me break this down. It’s basically the size of the biggest room in a normal house. It doesn’t have too many windows, probably two at most. Both are covered in bars. I guess that’s all there is to it. It’s an empty room with a bed in it. By this point, the narrator is already crawling around the room, very close to the wallpaper. That woman she sees? She wasn’t seeing anyone because that was her the entire time. So the yellow getting on the clothes is basically because she’s rubbing against the wallpaper. And it wouldn’t come off.
TPAB: I suck at reading! cries
KEIKO: It’s alright! This ones not as easy as it looks lol. What did you make of the bed being nailed to the floor and the windows having bars though? Does that make you feel like something’s not right with this room?
TPAB: Well, my mind didn’t wander far for that. I just thought kids might move it around, since it was a nursery before, and they might get hurt. I think your imaginative mind has something else, right?
KEIKO: That’s one way to read it, since we are told it was a nursery, so it’s the logical conclusion to draw. I feel like this room at some point housed a mentally unstable person. It’s for someone who might think of jumping out the window or move the bed to block the door or something. So, in order for safety and protection, the windows had bars and the bed is nailed down. When I think of it like that, it makes me question why the narrator’s husband chose this room over every other room. Surely, spaciousness wasn’t his only concern.
TPAB: I think it’s ideal for the “rest cure”. It’s full of sunshine and air, or something. The story is told by an unstable woman though, so maybe things just look grim through her nervous tinted eyes. For me, I treat her as a patient, like some of the things she mentions are results of her episodes. She did confess to liking ghosts at the beginning, right?
KEIKO: I guess it is…
I guess the only part of the story that sounds sane is the opening since she’s just moved in. That bit sounds steady to some degree. That’s the best way to treat her. What we see are her experiences. But then, this is her journal so how did she write the final episode? It’s a puzzle. At some point she does say something along those lines.
TPAB: She is also a writer, right? She claimed she loves writing, so she always had the imagination to craft stories. This is also the uncorroborated accounts of a woman with a nervous breakdown, so maybe she was already slipping before she saw the wall paper.
A Scary Story?
TPAB: Was the story scary for you? It felt like a cautionary tale to me, since the perspective of a person suffering a mental illness is perfectly presented.
KEIKO: No, it wasn’t scary. Shocking, yes. I was completely shocked by it, because it felt so real, but never scared. To be fair, I was amazed at how realistic the whole thing sounded at first read. It is a cautionary tale, because it was made to showcase the horrors of the ‘rest cure’. I think because Gilman wrote from her own experiences and mixed it with her perspective on the position of women, the result is a rather disturbing yet fascinating story. More than anything, this story fascinates me.
TPAB: It got scary for me. I’m a superstitious person, who believes there are eyes watching me in the dark, so the woman rattling the prison bars unsettled me. I lack a vivid imagination, but a woman creeping at your house just doesn’t feel fun for me
KEIKO: I can see why this could scare you then. I guess it wouldn’t be pleasant feeling like there’s someone creeping round your room or rattling bars.
TPAB: So are you a general fan of the author? You like her other works? What other works do you recommend? Is the fascination as strong as Sylvia Plath?
KEIKO: I wouldn’t say I’m a general fan of Gilman. This is the only story I’ve liked by her but Herland is worth a read. It’s pretty good. The fascination isn’t the same as Plath’s but I’d say it’s just as strong for me. With The Yellow Wallpaper, what fascinates me is its effect in readers and the interpretations to arise from it. For Plath, it’s more about the actual content of her works. The way she creates atmosphere and her use of shocking imagery is just brilliant. Both authors are very different for me, but they both fascinate me just as much. :’)
TPAB: I guess this is a really good story. It rewards you with every re-reading.
KEIKO: Yeah it is :’) Now you know why it’s my favourite.
– – – –
Then we both sip tea and laugh. Fade out, and done. Or something like that. Read more of Keiko’s works in her blog. I asked her to choose her best post, but she told me to choose anything. Again, she’s restrained in her blog, but her Music Box series is a good use of her analytical brain.
Thank you again to Keiko for joining this random project of mine. Check back at the end of every month for the rest of the guest bloggers I’ll feature. I already approached a bunch of people. One blogger recommended a light novel for me to read. Another blogger is recommending a manga, and someone wanted One Piece. Also, a heads up for all of you, I will be reviewing Death Note because I have to rewatch it, so that’ll be something, I guess. That’s all for another time. Thank gawd the year is long. For now, thank you for reading my little tea time with Keiks.