Analysis Of John 's ' Bless Her Little Heart ! ' Essay

707 Words Dec 3rd, 2015 3 Pages
The way in which John speaks to the narrator is infantilizing, as if he were addressing a child, rather than an adult woman. The domineering, pretentious speech with such expressions as “little girl,” in which he chastises her for leaving her bed to touch the wallpaper (Gilman 491), and “Bless her little heart!” (492), further highlight the hierarchy of power that exists within their marriage. John uses his power and his doctoral standing as a way to justify the rules set on his wife. He hangs his status over her head, pushing the idea that rest is the only cure for her mental deviance, and normal mind and body stimulation is something to be avoided at all costs. As she defies the doctor’s orders and continues to write, roam, and think freely, John assumes her lack of mental improvement is a result of blatant disobedience and a desire to remain free of the domestic responsibilities in which she is expected to perform. Though John attempts to convince the narrator that she has improved physically, she denies the claims, which causes John to believe that “she shall be as sick as she pleases” (492). He infers that her lack of improvement is due in part to the fact that she does not choose to. Her improvement is determined by her ability to capitulate to the gender role placed by society. She chooses to remain sickly, fragile, and exhausted as a way to rebel against the typical wifely and womanly duties demanded of her and other women of this era.
The seed is planted that she…

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