The Hidden Meaning
Before the 20th century, women were discriminated against by men in their jobs and freedom. Both men and women had different opinions and perspectives toward women in society during the 19th century. “The Yellow Wallpaper” published in 1892 by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, a prominent American feminist, wrote short stories from a woman’s perspective. The narrator of the “The Yellow Wallpaper” begins the story by describing the house that her husband has taken her to for their summer vacation. The male dominations over female, the treatment for narrator isolated in a small room, and the yellow wallpaper had caused the breakdown of the narrator’s mind.
The narrator has little rights to express her opinions throughout the story.
John has been depicted as a villain in “The Yellow Wallpaper” and has a strong domination over the narrator. Since John is a traditional doctor, he follows the treatment of the narrator’s depression step by step from the book which went terribly wrong. Furthermore by combining the authority of a doctor and the narrator’s husband, John disregarded the narrator opinion on the matter forcing her to hide her feelings about the reasons behind her depressions. The narrator believes that:
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 temporary nervous depression—a slight hysterical tendency—what is one to do? . . . So I take phosphates or phosphites—whichever it is, and tonics, and journeys, and air, and exercise, and am absolutely forbidden to “work” until I am well again.
Personally, I disagree with their ideas . . .
As a matter of fact, the strong authoritative voices from John as a doctor have ignored the narrator’s opinions about her sickness while she personally disagreed with the treatment. “My brother is also a physician, and also of high standing, and he says the same thing.”
The men in the narrator’s life have superior authoritative and dictate the way she lives her life.
Throughout the treatment, she begins to complain about her husband’s treatment. Since John has a superior authoritative, he wants the narrator to follow his treatment rather than thinking about her condition. “I sometimes fancy that in my condition, if I had less opposition and more society and stimulus—but John says the very worst thing I can do is to think about my condition, and I confess it always makes me feel bad.” In fact, John has forbidden the narrator from working and writing. John feels:
that with my imaginative power and habit of story-making, a nervous weakness like mine is sure to lead to all manner of excited fancies, and that I ought to use my will and good sense to check the tendency. So I try. I think sometimes that if I were only well enough to write a little it would relieve the press of ideas and rest me.
On the other hand, the narrator feels that freedom and interesting work would help her condition; therefore...