Women Being Controlled In The Yellow Wallpaper

1173 words - 5 pages

The Yellow Wallpaper

Today, women have more freedoms than we did in the early nineteenth century. We have the right to vote, seek positions that are normally meant for men, and most of all, the right to use our minds. However, for women in the late 1800’s, they were brought up to be submissive housewives who were not allowed to express their own interests. In the story, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, a woman is isolated from the world and her family because she is suffering from a temporary illness. Under her husband’s care, she undergoes a treatment called “rest cure” prescribed by her doctor, Dr. Weir Mitchell. It includes bed rest, no emotional or physical stimulus, and limited access to people. However, due to isolation, the woman creates a delusional relationship with the yellow wallpaper in her bedroom. It’s patterns stand for everything that is going on in her current life. She is a lonely woman who yearns to escape the walls around her and be free.
As the story begins, the woman in the story is suffering from temporary nervous depression and has just been released from a sanitarium. Because she is ill, her husband John has been given instructions from her doctor on how to help her recuperate. “He is very careful and loving, and hardly let’s [his wife] stir without special direction” (Gilman, 451). This treatment confines her to her room upstairs. She is also required to have plenty of bed rest and is restricted from people and stimulation. However, one can say that such instructions will cause the illness to continue because of a lack of activity, isolation from the outside world, especially family members. It appears the woman in the story wants to get better and seeks the help of her husband by making several suggestions, but her requests are often denied. Such circumstances, causes the woman to fall into a deeper depression because she feels trapped and lonely.
With good intentions, John controls his wife's life and makes all decisions for her, whether she agrees with them or not. His wife is full aware of the restrictions that her husband has imposed on her, but she is recessive to his control and often agrees with him. However, she fails to see “signs of her confinement: the bars at the window, the gate at the top of the stairs, steel rings on the walls, and the nailed-down bestead” (Korb). Because she is unable to escape from the isolation that her husband has kept her in, the woman seeks relief from the yellow wallpaper and she creates an imaginary relationship it. In fact, the worst thing her husband should not of done is give his unstable wife an object that is not appealing to focus on. In doing so, he has given her an opportunity to let her mind wonder and create objects that no one else sees. John, however, does not give any thought to this because after all, he thinks he knows what is best for his wife.
Every request the woman in the story...

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