"The Yellow Wallpaper"- women's oppression- Your Worst Enemy, Your Best Friend?

Essay by drayelHigh School, 11th gradeA, January 2006

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Is it possible for someone, of a good mental state, to go insane through isolation? In the short story "The Yellow Wallpaper," Charlotte Perkins Gilman begins with the introduction of the narrator and her husband, John, who also happens to be her doctor. John has just diagnosed his wife with a mental illness. In order to help her recover, he rents a summer house so his wife has some tranquility, in doing this, he has isolated her from the outside world. The narrator, John's wife, is oppressed by her husband, John, by the means of neglect, maltreatment and isolation.

John may care for his wife, but he is neglecting her by working away from the house and as a result of being more concerned about his work than his wife, she begins to feel neglected. "John is kept in town very often by serious cases..." (Gilman 772).

He is constantly staying at work late, as a consequence he is almost never home. "John is away all day, and even some nights..." (Gilman 769). It is apparent that he is trying to avoid his wife. He chooses to stay away from her and spend more time with his patients than her. In addition this is done to keep his wife secluded from the outside world.

John confines the narrator to the boundaries of her room, not through shear force, but through mental manipulation. "It is so discouraging not to have any advice and companionship about my work" (Gilman 769). The narrator is openly asking for someone to talk to and interact with, yet John chooses to ignore those cries for attention. The narrator has expressed these feeling in her journal and in reality. The narrator expressed her feelings to both John and to Jennie. John is not only...