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The Writing Is On The Wall: They Yellow Wallpaper

1164 words - 5 pages

When first reading Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper", the nature of the story doesn't appear to be a complicated one. The narrator tells of the house that her husband and she are occupying temporarily. As any good talkative housewife from the era, she explains that she thinks that the house is haunted, because of the cheap price. John, her husband, a vastly more sensible person than herself, doesn't agree with her assessment of the situation. This opposition: the narrator and her husband, is what "˜sets the stage' for one of the main conflicts of the story.At first glance, the major conflict of the story appears to be between the narrator and her husband. She is a sickly woman, with problems that hinder her from doing anything more than write. John, her husband and physician, opposes her sickness and explains: ""¦there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression"¦" Her constant desire to experience something out of the ordinary, something that has nothing to do with her illness, is what fuels the blaze of the conflict between her and John.The basis for an argument about her unwavering desire to experience new things came from a disagreement as to the location of the couple's bedroom. The physician, the logical, the sensible man, chooses the old nursery for her to recover her health in. His logic, as always, is simple, the room had more than one window, it's airy, and was big enough for two beds. But, the appearance of the room was not at all appealing to her: "It was a nursery flat"¦the windows are barred for little children"¦the paper (is stripped off) in great patches all around the head of my bed, about as far as I can reach"¦I never saw a worse paper in my life." As quickly as the wallpaper is mentioned by the narrator, it begins to take shape as the central point of her existence. Her writings seem to be rather important to her, almost as much as they are risky. She knows that she is not supposed to be writing; her strength needs to be reserved for more important tasks. But, she cannot help but write about the wallpaper and it's color: ""¦is repellant, almost revolting; a smouldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight." Whenever she starts to write, no matter how good or bad the subject, she always finds some way to indulge in her obsession with the paper.Since all of her writings involve the crucial part of the wallpaper, it is acceptable to assume that the paper is symbolic of the paper in which she is writing on. After her feelings of the rest of the nursery had calmed down, her hatred for the paper becomes more and more keen. The relationship between the wallpaper and the written paper is explained through her misunderstanding of the visual appearance of the wallpaper: "It is dull enough to confuse the eye in following, pronounced enough to constantly irritate and provoke study, and when you follow the lame uncertain...

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