3 March 2008
Left Alone With the Wallpaper
The Yellow Wallpaper, written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman begins as a story of a woman struggling with a slight depression. Gilman's use of a limited, first-person narrator to tell the story makes the sequence of events very difficult to understand. The narrator feels she is well throughout the beginning of the story, and yet becomes progressively worse throughout due to the mental illness diagnosed by her husband. Trying to figure out what the narrator really means in the words she writes becomes the task in this story. The tone switches multiple times in the story, therefore, making it difficult to identify the true feelings of the narrator. The story examines a depressed woman in isolation, and under the commands from a controlling husband, which end up driving her more and more crazy.
The narrator is told from the beginning of the story that there is nothing wrong with her except a, "temporary nervous depression-a slight hysterical tendency" (Gilman 532).
She takes phosphates given to her by her husband and is forbidden to work until she is well (Gilman 533). Her husband, John, constantly tells her she doesn't have a condition and that it is in her head, yet he has her medicated with a schedule prescription for each hour of the day (Gilman 533). He controls every aspect of her life, from her writings to her hourly prescriptions. Every time the narrator sees John nearby, she hides her writing. According to her, he hardly lets her stir without special direction (Gilman 533). When the narrator wants to have their room downstairs, John tells her no. He speaks to her as a child when calling her a "blessed little goose" (Gilman 535). She seems to only be concerned...