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The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

1744 words - 7 pages

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Charlotte Perkins Gilman's, "The Yellow Wallpaper" is a partial
autobiography. It was written shortly after the author suffered a
nervous breakdown. This story was written to help save people from
being driven crazy. Appropriately, this short story is about a
mentally disturbed woman and her husband's attempts to help her get
well. He does so by convincing her that solitude and constant bed rest
is the best way to cure her problem. She is not allowed to write or do
anything that would require thinking. The woman is restricted to a
room where she slowly begins to go insane. Atrocious yellow wallpaper
covers this room and it aids in her insanity. The woman is writing the
story to express her insane thoughts against her husband's will.
"The Yellow Wallpaper" begins with the narrator talking about her
illness. She informs the reader that her husband, John, is a physician
and he believes she is not even sick. This may lead the reader to
believe that she really is not sick also. She even says herself "I am
glad my case is not serious!" It is revealed soon that she is writing
this story to us, the readers, in secret. She feels comfortable
writing on the paper and it relieves her. In the story she says, "I
would not say it to a living soul, of course, but this is dead paper
and a great relief to my mind." This gives the reader and the narrator
a very strong connection. For the reader is the only one to know her
deepest thoughts.

Throughout the entire story, John controls his wife in a loving but
dominant way. According to him, he knows what is best for her. There
is even a time where she has to stop writing because her husband is
coming. "There comes John, and I must put this away, - he hates to
have me write a word." For example, when he suggests that her nervous
condition can be cured with excessive quantities of rest, she accepts
this and agrees to separate herself from others until she is well
again. For instance, at one point in the story the woman states,
"Personally, I disagree with their [John and her brother] ideas.
Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change,
would do me good. But what is one to do?" The last sentence displays
the woman's constant inability to stick up for herself when she has
ideas that differ from those of the influential males in her life. He
treats her like a child and just like a child she is kept in this
room. Inside the room are "rings and things" that reminds her of a
child's gymnasium. There is also a gate and at the top of the stairs
and bars on the windows. These add on to her seclusion. When she tells
her husband that the room she is being restricted to is probably not
the best choice, considering the many other rooms in the estate, he is
quick to dismiss her fears and...

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