Yellow Wallpaper tidbit – one of the reasons I loved my job today

Sometimes, my job can be really amusing. I love it most when I get to write. That’s just me though. I’m a writer. Life is all the more better when I get to work for money AND write. So today, I wrote this character analysis paper. I wanted to prove to myself that I in fact can do the work that I’m assigning. I can, but I should be able to. I mean, I studied English in college for four years, plus I finished grad school in a writing-related profession so yeah, I should be able to do this.

I’m not just posting this to show that yes, I could still pass junior English if I wanted to, but to show my friends in Ukraine that I finally read The Yellow Wallpaper and that I loved it. If you’ve never read it, I’d suggest you do it. For now, you can read the bit below. It’ll give you a taste.

Sharece M. Bunn
Ms. Bunn
Junior English – 4C
13 December 2012
Character Analysis

It Was His Fault
How the Narrator’s Husband Drove Her to Madness in The Yellow Wallpaper

“My husband is driving me crazy.” In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s, The Yellow Wallpaper, this was actually true for the narrator. She is taken to the countryside with hopes to sedate her nerves and bring her back to health. But as she spends more time in isolation, the woman does nothing but stare at the yellow wallpaper, eventually driving herself to madness. Should she have been given proper treatment by her husband and her doctor, the narrator would not have come to such an awful end.

John, the narrator’s husband, is a physician who causes her illness to increase rather than decrease. “John is a physician…perhaps that is one reason I do not get well faster. You see he does not believe I am sick” (1)! Throughout the short story, John talks down to the narrator, calling her his “blessed little goose” and “little girl.” These characters are set in a time much different than ours. In the late 1800s when this story was written, women in the upper classes did not work. They were to stay home and take care of the children and house. As the narrator is sick, she has no work but when her husband comes home, she is able to speak with him. As the story continues, the narrator loses faith in her husband and cannot trust him. His profession hindered their relationship because he wanted to believe that she could will herself into wellness.

Doing nothing all day caused the narrator to go mad. Her prescription for improvement was essentially to do nothing all day. This lack of activity left her with too much free time in the yellow wallpapered room. Without interaction, the narrator was left to get stuck inside her own head. That’s why she comes to obsess about the yellow wallpaper. After hours and days of staring at the wallpaper, she says, “You think you have mastered it, but just as you get well underway in following, it turns a back somersault and there you are. It slaps you in the face, knocks you down, and tramples upon you. It is like a bad dream” (6). She has become obsessed. Her life revolves around this yellow wallpaper and as she spends more time in this upstairs room, she begins to think of nothing else. Perhaps if she would have spent more time roaming about the house, visiting others in the country, or walking in the gardens, she wouldn’t have gotten stuck on this yellow wallpaper.

Isolation only increases the narrator’s illness. Though she was told to do little activity every day, the narrator could have improved her situation easier if she was living in a home with more people or if she lived in town where she could converse with people in stores or cafes. Our narrator was secluded in an isolated countryside with only a nurse and her husband in the evenings. Though her husband cared for her, he was distant enough to not understand her feelings and her emotions. She approached him to ask if they could leave the place. She didn’t feel like she was getting any better. “I thought it would be a good time to talk, so I told him that I really was not gaining here, and that I wished he would take me away” (5). He refused. He couldn’t see that she was getting worse. “Of course if you were in any danger, I could and would, but you really are better, dear, whether you can see it or not. I am a doctor, dear, and I know” (5). But he didn’t know. He was shocked when he found her locked in the yellow wallpaper room, using the rope.

As you see, the narrator in The Yellow Wallpaper was not destined to go crazy. Her surroundings caused this. Perhaps if her husband had understood her and taken her away from the countryside before she began to obsess about nothing but the yellow wallpaper, there wouldn’t have been such a tragic ending to this story.


Note: I wrote this essay as an example for students. If you steal it, you are stupid. I don’t even like that word but to steal my words is just stupid. Don’t do it.


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