The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Good Essays
In the short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper”, Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses her personal life to create a fictional narrative about the treatment of women in late 1800’s, mental illnesses in the 1800’s along with how far the human mind can go before it snaps. Why does Charlotte Perkins Gilman expose her life through the lines of her story? She wrote this story to show how the yellow wallpaper itself represents the isolation of women. Gilman displays this by indirectly stating a women’s position in marriage and how the gender roles leave them in a child like state that prevents women from developing. The protagonist is constantly alone and forbidden by husband and doctor to leave. The lack of activities to help pass times causes the narrator …show more content…
She describes her husband as a father figure and “he is very careful and loving, and hardly lets me stir without special direction,” (Gilman, 656). However, her mental state and easygoing nature may be clouding her perception. It is easy for Gilman’s readers to see why the narrator describes her husband like a father because he treats her like a child. Two examples of this is when her husband, John, says, “What is it, little girl?” and “Bless her little heart; she shall be as sick as she pleases,” (Gilman, 661). By using the world little, this derogate the narrator’s integrity of being a woman. In addition, by saying “she shall be as sick as she pleases” shows how a child sometimes makes up and self diagnoses their sicknesses to get out of certain situations. This statement then leads him to diagnose his wife with temporary nervous depression. Her husband fails to care about the opinion of his patient when she begs him on numerous occasions to visit relative and by being able to write freely in her journal. John doesn’t want her to write stories because he thinks it may have an influence on her depression, however this is the only way that the narrator can express and reflect herself. John refuses to listen to his wife’s pleas and suggestions for her treatment. He favors the advice of male doctors and own opinions rather those from his wife. This is where John should have drawn the line between being a doctor and being a husband to actually listen to his wife’s suggestions. Shelly Green’s book, "Women 's Encounters With The Mental Health Establishment: Escaping The Yellow Wallpaper” “highlights the patriarchal structure of most mental health institutions and practices, and describes how clinicians continue to apply male-derived diagnoses and treatments while ignoring the reality of women’s experiences”, (Green). The narrator’s childlike treatment and her husband’s incorrect

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    In the story Jane’s feelings and ideas are dismissed by her husband John who happens to also be a doctor. Jane believes she is sick but her husband's dismisses the possibility and locks her in a room. Men will act like they know more than women, and men will ignore the opinions of women; however men do not always have the right answer. Men act like they know…

    • 822 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Now due to medical advancements we have medicines and therapy that can help treat that problem. Her husband John didn’t understand her condition though, so he locked her away in a room separating his wife from humanity in hopes that this would cure her of her depression. Unfortunately, this treatment drove her crazy instead of curing her. Also, in the story it states that her husband says, "My darling, " said he, "I beg of you, for my sake and our child's sake as well as for your own, that you will never for one instant let that idea enter your mind! There is nothing so dangerous, so fascinating, to a temperament like yours it is a false and foolish fancy.…

    • 748 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Yellow Wallpaper Theme

    • 1091 Words
    • 5 Pages

    “The Yellow Wallpaper” is a short story written by Charlotte Perkins Gillman. The story differed from other stories written in the 1892. It was written by a woman and focused on women’s issues, such as childbirth and mental health issues like post-partum depression. It is a sad story about a woman who slowly loses her mind after having a baby and suffering from severe post-partum depression. No one understands her mental illness and cannot help her.…

    • 1091 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    As a doctor, the protagonist’s husband takes control of her mental treatment and uses a method that limits a woman’s activity. The main character says she is ”absolutely forbidden to "work" until I am well again,” (). During this time period, women were viewed as fragile and brainless. As a result, doctors believed that the “nervous condition” that developed in the narrator and other women stemmed from doing and thinking too much. Her husband limited everything she did to the point where she had nothing to focus on but the yellow wallpaper.…

    • 1164 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    He calls her a “blessed little goose” (Gillman) and under minds all the suggestions she makes, such as refusing to switch bedrooms when she asks so as not to grant her “fancies” (Gillman). He does not intentionally intend to bring or wish any harm to her, but he is definitely blind about what help she really needs and it proves to end up being dangerous for John. You can tell that he know that his wife is sick, but really doesn’t understand the struggling woman inside prevents him from truly understanding what her and her problems were. After breaking the door down to get to his wife, John faints…

    • 1074 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Stetson reveals this throughout the story from when the wife did not want to question her husband about his diagnosis to her not voicing her opinion about her getting worse. Relationships stay the just about the same but the wife makes a drastic change at the end as a whole when she locks the door to continue to peel of the paper she does not want to be interrupted and expresses bizarre behavior. As an antihero the narrator shows signs of doing what others say and demand. Back to women not being able to care for themselves she is left to rely on her superior counterpart which is also her…

    • 1092 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Even then, John does not treat the narrator with the respect she deserves as his wife and a human being with emotions. “John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in marriage”(Gilman 1). In a normal, healthy husband-wife complex, spouses listen to each other with an open mind. Between the narrator and Jennie, John’s sister, Jennie treats her as a child. Jennie is their housekeeper and she takes care of the baby.…

    • 1081 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    John throughout the short story belittles Jane over her illness saying “she’ll be as sick as she pleases” (Gilman 82), making her illness seem made up, and not a big deal. Moreover, Jane tells the readers that “he doesn’t believe I’m sick” (Gilman 76), proving that John does not believe Jane has the knowledge to understand her own emotions, and well-being. Jane starts to take charge in the short story, when John pushes Jane to her…

    • 1285 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    In the opening scenes it shows her daily life and how her husband’s oppressiveness and superiority over her forces her to keep her thoughts to herself. Unfortunately the narrator is forced to confine her thoughts on paper and uses it as a social outlet to cure her sickness. “There comes John, and I must put this away, he hates to have me write a word”(Gilman 480). The reader can conclude that the narrator’s husband is unaware of the ongoing problem that his wife is having, and seems to have his own opinion on how she will get better. In addition, Marjean Purinton, an English teacher at Texas Tech University, drew upon literary criticism of “The Yellow Wallpaper” that concludes “…women were expected to marry and that marriage itself with its obligatory child-rearing expectations, often confined women to the home, isolated for other women and their own selfhood’s” (par.18).…

    • 1039 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    She also complains about her husband John, who is a doctor that thinks that her sickness is cause by her writing and thinking of these crazy fantasies. John feels that since he is a doctor he knows what’s best for her. Her treatment requires that she so nothing active and especially forbidden from working and writing. The narrator illustrated “Personally I disagree and believe that congenial work, with excitement and change would do me good,” (Gilman 76). The narrator believes that she would actually be better if she was writing again or doing some type of activity but because she doesn’t want to stress her Husband John out, so she will do what he wants.…

    • 707 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays