A Comparison Of The Yellow Wallpaper And The Darling

1214 words - 5 pages

In Charlotte Perkins Gilman's, "The Yellow Wallpaper", and Anton Chekhov's, "The Darling", we are introduced to main characters with lives surrounded by control. In Gilman's, "The Yellow Wallpaper", the main character, which remains nameless, is controlled by her husband, John. He tells her what she is and is not allowed to do, where she is to live, and that is she is not permitted to see her own child. In Chekhov's, "The Darling", the main character, Olenka, allows her own opinions and thoughts to be those of her loved ones. When John puts the narrator into the room, she writes in despite of him telling her that she should not. At the end of her first passage, the narrator tells us, "There comes John, and I must put this away - he hates to have me write a word".

The narrator was told that writing and any other intellectual activity would exhaust her. The only thing that exhausts her about it is hiding it from them. The narrator tells us, "I did write for a while in spite of them; but it does exhaust me a good deal - having to be so sly about it, or else meet with heavy opposition". Conrad Shumaker suggests that John believes that if someone uses too much imagination then they will not be able to figure out reality. "He fears that because of her imaginative 'temperament' she will create the fiction that she is mad and come to accept it despite the evidence - color, weight, appetite - that she is well. Imagination and art are subversive because they threaten to undermine his materialistic universe" In Gilman's "Why I Wrote the Yellow Wallpaper", Gilman tells us that when she was sent home from the rest cure, Dr. Mitchell gave her "solemn advice to 'live as domestic a life as far as possible,' to 'have but two hours intellectual life a day,' and 'never to touch pen, brush, or pencil again' as long" as she lived. The narrator cannot even be around or raise her baby. John hired a nanny, Mary, to take care of him. This even makes her more nervous. The narrator tells us, "It is fortunate Mary is so good with the baby. Such a dear baby! And yet I cannot be with him, it makes me so nervous". In this short story, the narrator was forced to stay without her baby. In the introduction Thomas L. Erskine and Connie L. Richards tell us, Gilman was "very much like her father in important ways, for she 'abandoned' her daughter to her husband and like him, preferred to deal with her emotions at a distance - in letters, books, or in her fiction". From this we see that Gilman actually had a choice on whether to be without her child. In the story, the narrator was told not to have her child around because of stress. When the narrator tells about the room, she says, "I don't like our room a bit. I wanted something downstairs that opened to the piazza and had roses all over the window, such pretty old-fashioned chintz hangings! But John would not hear of it". The room has barred windows and "rings and things in the walls". The narrator hates the ugly yellow...

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