The Yellow Wallpaper - Journey into Insanity
"The Yellow Wallpaper", by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, criticises the dominant/submissive relationship between an oppressive husband and his submissive wife that pushes her from depression into insanity. Flawed human nature seems to play a great role in her breakdown. Her husband, a noted physician, is unwilling to admit that there might really be something wrong with his wife. This same view is seen in her brother, who is also a physician. While this attitude, and the actions taken because of it, certainly contributed to her breakdown; it seems to me that there is a rebellious spirit in her. Perhaps unconsciously she seems determined to prove them wrong.
Throughout the story there are examples of the dominant - submissive relationship. She is virtually imprisoned in her bedroom, supposedly to allow her to rest and recover her health. She is forbidden to work, she is not even supposed to write, "There comes John, and I must put this away -- he hates to have me write a word."
(194). She he has no say in the location or decor of the room she is virtually imprisoned in: "I don't like our room a bit. I wanted...But John would not hear of it." (193). The lack of visitors is also due to John's orders he says, "he would as soon put fireworks in my pillow-case as to let me have those stimulating people about now." (196).
As the story begins, the woman -- whose name is never told -- tells of her depression and how it is dismissed by her husband and brother. "You see, he does not believe I am sick! And what can one do? If a physician of high standing, and one's own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing...