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The Yellow Wallpaper

Essay by   •  October 5, 2011  •  Essay  •  761 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,670 Views

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As the story progresses, the narrator's condition only seems to become increasingly worse. Her intense infatuation with the wallpaper has made her a victim of her own anxiety. Due to her illness, she is required to be idle and cannot work; therefore, she is able to dedicate her utmost attention to the patterns on the yellow wallpaper that surround her room in the summer estate. After intense studying, the narrator begins to see patterns illuminated by the moonlight that resemble something alive behind restraining iron bars, but no one else is able to see the same image. She ceases to sleep at night in order to further speculate about the figure of her imagination that continuously emerges to creep around her room at night. Her husband John and her housekeeper Jennie become increasingly worried about her and realize that her fascination with the wallpaper is strange and unhealthy. Despite her husband's wishes, she keeps a hidden journal and continuously writes about her experiences in the room.

The narrator will not stop speculating about the origin of the peculiar patterns of the damaged wallpaper. She conveys her opinion about the wallpaper and describes her feelings toward it.

"...There is a lack of sequence, a defiance of law, that is a constant irritant to a normal mind. The color is hideous enough, and unreliable enough, and infuriating enough, but the pattern is torturing. You think you have mastered it, but just as you get well underway in following, it turns a back somersault and there you are. It slaps you in the face, knocks you down, and tramples upon you. It is like a bad dream" (Gilman 533).

Her fascination with the wallpaper and her full dedication to it may be her way of alleviating the stress and pain that is a result of her illness. In addition, it is the only thing she herself has control over because John has inhibited her from making her own choices, thus having freedom. The intense control exercised by her authoritative husband begins to take a drastic toll on her well being. This illness is mental, not physical, because she hallucinates and sees things that really aren't there. As the story unravels, the wallpaper turns out to be more than just an item to which she can divert her attention. It becomes such an intense obsession that it completely takes control of her mind and as a result, she has ultimately created yet another illness. Every waking thought is directed towards it. Eventually, the narrator begins to see the figure of a woman creeping behind the designs of the wallpaper, struggling to free herself. The narrator takes it upon herself to solve this problem that the figure of her imagination encounters. "As soon as it was moonlight and that poor thing began to crawl and shake the pattern, I got up and ran to help her. I pulled and she shook, I shook and she pulled, and before morning we had peeled off yards of that paper" (Gilman 536). The narrator shockingly

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