Example of Peer Review of an Essay on "The Yellow Wallpaper"

"The Yellow Wallpaper" written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, tells about how a woman's personality is changing due to her environment (how so?). Not only because of the physical place she is currently residing in but also because of the people involved in her life and how they treat or mistreat her. The narrator's name is never directly mentioned in the story so the reader can never be positive if the narrator is being discussed by or to by another character in the story. (I think you should state a clear thesis in this paragraph so you can give some sense of direction to the reader)
This story takes place at a colonial mansion over the summertime that John, the narrator's husband, rents out this mansion for three months, in hopes to cure the narrator from her nervous illness. Most of the story takes place in a room with yellow wallpaper that the narrator is not particularly pleased with but John thinks is best suitable for the narrator.(I think you can exploit that sentence and used it to the benefit of your essay. You can say something like how she never wanted to be in that room and yet she was forced. And this, kind of correlates with how women are oppressed by men). In the room with the yellow wallpaper the narrator imagines a woman or women creeping behind the wallpaper (What do you think are these women creeping behind the wall? How would you interpret this? What is so special about women creeping behind the wallpaper? This story tells how the narrator goes insane and allows the other half of her personality to come out.
Right in the beginning of the story one can recognize that the narrator has two totally opposite train of thoughts going on in her mind. First she states that the house they are living in is "Still I will proudly declare that there is something queer about it" (542) meaning that she finds the house odd and strange. Later on within just a few paragraphs the narrator goes on to say "So I will talk about the house. The most beautiful place" meaning that she finds this house to be incredible! This right here within just the first paragraphs shows her different mind states within little periods of time. (Interesting)
John thinks that the narrator is completely valueless. The narrator states, "I have a schedule prescription for each hour in the day; he takes all care from me, and so I feel basely ungrateful not to value it more" (543) this signifies that the narrator's husband makes her feel useless in life and she does not have anyone to confide in so she confides within herself by writing down her thoughts. (I think in this part you can add something about her emotional state. For instance, is she really sick? Or who makes her sick?)
            Her husband is terribly rude to her; she specifies that "He laughs at me so about this wallpaper!" (544) concluding that he is not being a sincere husband and is treating her disrespectfully. This could have been the cause that since she does not act herself around the people she loves, she feels like she has only herself to confide in.( I think that you can also add how she cannot make her own choices. I am not sure if you noticed, but he does whatever he wants with her. He chooses what he thinks is best for her without asking her. She is fine. She is not sick. This guy does not give her any freedom) I also think that in this essay you are focusing too much on the names of people and trying to figure out who is who. In my opinion, however, I think that the most important things to figure out and pay attention to are personalities and emotions.... I'm just saying. )
            A part in the story that hints that Jane can not be the narrator and John's child is when the narrator writes down that "It is fortunate Mary is so good with the baby. Such a dear baby! And yet I cannot be with him, it makes me so nervous." (544), this means that the baby is a male, a boy (Ok, the boy is male. But what is most important though is that this woman cannot even be with her own child. Does it really matter is the baby is female or male). Jane is commonly known as a female name and so if Jane is not the name of the child then who is Jane? Jane could be easily explained as the narrator and the person who takes over in the end of the writings is the narrator's second half of her personality.
The narrator envisions the women creeping in certain patterns, for example: "Then in the very bright spots she keeps still, and in the very shady spots she just takes hold of the bars and shakes them hard" (550). This refers to the bright spots being the narrator in the open and not being herself, standing still and being one half of her personality, in front of her peers. Then on the other hand in the shady spots when she is alone she becomes the other half of her personality that is struggling to come out. (I like how you are using the wallpaper to show a split personality)
            The ending of the story is where the second half of the narrator's personality emerges. This is especially shown when she states "For outside you have to creep on the ground, and everything is green instead of yellow" (552). At this point one can assume that another personality has come out from within the narrator. This is a complete opposite to how she felt in the beginning about the yellow wallpaper. Now this personality wants to be with the yellow wallpaper that represents her breaking through the barriers of her husband and other peers that do not have faith in her.
The narrator is having a transformation from being a woman who is watching a woman struggling behind the bars in the yellow wallpaper to the ending where she believes that she becomes the woman that is behind the bars in the yellow wallpaper. She expresses this when she questions "I wonder if they all come out of that wallpaper as I did?" (552), meaning that at some point she supposes that she is literally the woman beyond the yellow wallpaper. (In a larger picture, what does being behind those bars truly mean? I think you should think about that)
            In a sense the story suggests in the beginning that there is a timid girl who wants to love her husband and be the proper wife but has an underlying wild and bold girl within her that wants to come out and stand up for herself (This statement honestly stands out, and I think it would be more effective if you were to incorporate it in your introduction. It is really an attention grabber). John hates when she writes so the narrator will stop writing when he is around. As the narrator is writing she simply puts "There comes John, and I must put this away---he hates to have me write a word" (543), at this point she is still scared of John to show her true passion of reading. (Why do you think John is so afraid of having her write? Is there any type of significance or symbolism of writing? Is it dangerous to write?)
            At the end of the story it seems as if the wild and bold girl comes out when she continues to crawl right on over John when he faints. The narrator describes "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!"(552) this is telling the reader that she is now in control of herself and not scared of John anymore. In fact, she walks right over him almost as if she is now in control of him!
This explains the split personality that the narrator has in the story yet it is not directly stated by the author. It shows clear evidence that concludes that there must be more than one personality's thoughts going on in the mind of the narrator!
(I think that you have good ideas in your paper. I just think you should work on the organization of the essay. For example, you can add transitions into your essay, and organize your ideas. I also think that you should focus on the larger context of the story, because you are focusing on details too much. It is good to focus on details, but at the same time you should use those details to talk about how they combine to produce the larger picture about society and women).

Comments on Peer Review

In general, the reviewer responds as an interested reader, not as a teacher, corrector, or grammarian!

Notice how the reviewer gets inside the mind of the writer--imagines what she's trying to do and suggests what he thinks she's trying to get at.

The reviewer asks questions that the text seems to ask, at least implicitly.

The reviewer "pushes" the writer to interpret something in the story that he thinks needs to be interpreted.

The reviewer points out something about a character that he feels is important for her to consider.  Also, he makes a suggestion about what she focuses on vs. what her larger essay focuses on.

He appreciates something specifically.

The reviewer keeps in mind the overall shape of the essay and imagines his way into the writer's mind.

Again, the reviewer pushes the writer to interpret the text more deeply.

In the end comment, the reviewer clarifies what he sees as the central strength and the central issue to work on.