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Yellow Wallpaper Written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Essay by   •  December 4, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,182 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,734 Views

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The Yellow Wallpaper written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a story about a woman that is dealing with depression and mental illness, and her problems are compounded by imprisonment. John, the narrator's husband does not believe that his wife is sick, while she is really suffering from post-partum depression. Although the work is short, it is one interesting piece of literature dealing with oppression. The Yellow Wallpaper symbolism can be revealed after reading and it makes sense immediately. The views and ideals of oppression of women are often found in literature, and it's transparent in the Yellow Wallpaper. The author paints a picture of women as victims oppressed by society.

When reading The Yellow Wallpaper the narrator's name is never known, giving the illusion that she could be any woman. On the very first page of The Yellow Wallpaper, Gilman exemplifies the male dominates in society and how it impacts relationships. John and the narrator are talking up on arriving at the estate for a three week stay: "John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in marriage," (609-5). It illustrates the bigotry of the male roles in the late 1800's. The narrator goes on farther by saying "If a physician of high standing, and one's own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but nervous depression-a slight hysterical tendency-what is one to do?"(609-10) John dictates much of what his wife should or should not do, leaving his wife incompetent of using her own judgment.

John also neglects to pay attention to his wife in regard to her reflections, positions, and wellbeing to help with treatment. She cannot write because John believes that writing is succeeding in making her condition worse. According to him, there is not anything wrong with his wife except for temporary nerve issues, which should not be serious.

Throughout the story, the narrator tends to buy into the idea that John is always right and makes excuses for him expressed in: "It is so hard to talk to John about my case, because he is so wise and because he loves me so," (614-126). The reader is lead to believe she just wants to be able to express her own thoughts and feelings, but is stopped by John, one example: "But John says if I feel so, I shall neglect proper self control: so I take pains to control myself-before him, at least, and that makes me very tired." (609-26) In this case, the narrator accepts it as true that she cannot tell him how she feels so as not to put him in a frenetic. When the narrator does attempt to have a discussion with John, she ends up sobbing and not being able to convey herself to John.

There is a great deal of control, which is exercised by John upon his wife for example the time when she made a request to have a visit from her cousins Henry and Julia, she was completely denied despite her wishes: "It is so discouraging not to have any advice and companionship about my work. When I get really well, John says we will ask Cousin Henry and Julia down for a long visit; but he says he would as soon put fireworks in my pillow case as to let me have those stimulating people about now. I wish I could get well faster." (611-64) He controls what she can and cannot do. He locks her away and society believes he is right, because he a physician

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