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The Yellow Wallpapered Room

             Bak wrote the scholarly article "Escaping the jaundiced eye: Foucauldian panopticism in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's  'The Yellow Wallpaper.'" The article was published in Studies in Short Fiction, Winter94, volume 31, issue 1. In this article, Bak compares "The Yellow Wallpaper" to Michael Foucault's Panopticism in "Discipline and Punishment". This article explains the paranoia behind surveillance, the lack of paranoia from confinement, and an analysis of the ending of the story. .
             One of the major points of this article is the insanity that is caused by surveillance. At first, Bak explains the surveillance in the Panopticon. It is described as a central tower with connecting cells around it like spokes. This enabled one person to be able to watch everything from one spot (paragraph 4). Bak also states that, "surveillance, whether it is indeed present or merely threatened, proved to be more detrimental to the prisoners than his previous cold, dark cell had been" (paragraph 7). In "The Yellow Wallpaper", the narrator in obviously confined, but what really seems to drive her insane is the fact that she feels her being watched by the wallpaper (paragraph 9). Eventually, the narrator believes that there is someone behind the wallpaper and tears it off the wall. She believes that this will stop the surveillance (paragraph 13). .
             Also in this article Bak explains the lack of paranoia from the imprisonment of the narrator. She is clearly a prisoner in that house: the bared windows, the nailed down bed, the rings on the walls to tie her down, the gates around the estate, and the forbiddances of visitors (paragraph 9). In the end, being a prisoner does not drive her to insanity and is actually bearable. Bak compares her husband John to penal officers in psychiatric wards and the house to a mental institution or prison (paragraph 8). The narrator can withstand being confined in the house and even her room.

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