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The Yellow Wallpaper

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The Yellow Wallpaper

"The Yellow Wallpaper" was written in 1892, and is often referred to as a feminist short story. The narrator portrays her husband, John, as impatient and domineering. He controls almost every aspect of her daily activities. His patients are thin when it comes to her imagination and story telling and does not allow it. He often speaks to her as if she was a child and belittles her with his words.

First insight shown of his controlling nature towards the narrator is when she states "and am absolutely forbidden to "work" until I am well". Being a physician, John often disregards her views and opinions on her own health and illness. When she tries to tell him what she thinks would help her feel better he ignores her in a manner that is well understood that he know what is best for her. This type of oppression of women was quite common in the nineteenth century.

The second implication of his domineering attitude is how he speaks to her. He chooses words and language that would be spoken to a child. His patronizing remarks definitely show his thinking that he is superior. He uses phrases such as, "a blessed little goose", and "what is it, little girl?" and "bless her little heart" when referring to his wife, these are prime examples of this was of thinking.

Finally, her creativity and intellect is stifled by him. He will not allow her to have any visitors in fear that it will be to stimulating and only worsen her nervous condition. The narrator is ordered not to do any writing by him. She is basically imprisoned with in the walls of the house and is unable to exercise dominion over her own mind and body. She is placed on a specific regimen by her husband for her daily medications and rest.

The short story, "The Yellow Wallpaper" is indeed a great example of the oppression of women. It was written in a time when it was thought women should be in the home taking care of their husband. This way of thinking is apparent with the way John constantly controls the narrator throughout the story. He forbids her to work, limits her activities and even controls when she eats and sleeps. His reasoning for all this is, he is her husband and a physician and he knows better then her what she needs to overcome her illness.

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