'The yellow wallpaper' , Charlote Perkins Gilman

Essay by yellowraven October 2002

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A woman's Struggled Obsession for Universal Rights:

"The Yellow Wallpaper", Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935) developed a severe depression after the birth of her only child. Unfortunately, she was treated by Dr. S. Weir Mitchell, who forbade her to write and prescribed only bed rest and quiet for recovery. Her condition only worsened and ultimately resulted in divorce.

Upon first reading "The Yellow Wallpaper," we can see the relationship between the narrator and her husband John as caring, but with examination we can find that her husband repeatedly demeans the narrator. On first arriving at the vacation home John chooses the old attic nursery against his wife's wishes and laughs at her when she complains about the wallpaper. We can assume that he chooses 'the attic' to keep his wife's insanity hidden from the rest of the world.

John's actions can easily be interpreted with the same malice.

The narrator's insistence that John is a caring and loving husband draws special attention to the true meanings behind his word's and actions. Would a man deeply concerned for his wife's mental state constantly leave her alone to tend after patients with "serious" conditions? Any time John speaks to his wife, he uses the third person voice or refers to her as "little girl" or some other term of endearment. He never uses her name, therefore he never really recognizes her as a person nor an equal. This dialog can easily be compared to one between a parent and his child. Because the room was an old nursery this idea is strongly enforced. Hence, there is no oddity in the fact that the narrator comes to think of herself as a child. She comments on the fact that the children tore the wallpaper and later...