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The Narrator of The Yellow Wallpaper

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The Narrator of The Yellow Wallpaper



In “The Yellow Wallpaper” the narrator becomes more depressed throughout the story because of the recommendation of isolation that was made to her. In this short story the narrator is detained in a lonesome, drab room in an attempt to free herself of a nervous disorder. The narrator’s husband, a physician, adheres to this belief and forces his wife into a treatment of solitude. Rather than heal the narrator of her psychological disorder, the treatment only contributes to its effects, driving her into a severe depression. Under the orders of her husband, the narrator is moved to a house far from society in the country, where in she is locked into an upstairs room.
This environment serves not as an inspiration for mental health but as an element of repression. The locked door and barred windows serve to physically restrain her: “the windows are barred for little children, and there are rings and things in the walls.” The narrator is affected not only by the physical restraints but also by being exposed to the room’s yellow wallpaper is dreadful and fosters only negative creativity. “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 curves for a little distance they suddenly commit suicide – plunge off at outrageous angles, destroy themselves in unheard of contradictions.”

All through the story the yellow wallpaper acts as an antagonist causing her to become very annoyed and disturbed. There is nothing to do in the secluded room but stare at the wallpaper. The narrator tells of the haphazard pattern having no organization or symmetrical plot. Her constant examination of and reflection o...


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...reep over him every time!” Clearly this treatment is issued with good intentions but fails to bring about positive results.

Gilman tries to show that according to her husband, the narrator continually brings her great depression upon herself. The author, Charlotte Perkins Gilman also attempts to show that the lack of social exposure, physical repression, and ugly wallpaper cause the treatment to be extremely ineffective and detrimental. The disorder which is being treated is actually strengthened to the point of a serious mental illness. Similarly in today’s society, medical and psychological advice may have the same effect. Medical technology and practice have progressed considerably since the time of the “Yellow Wallpaper.” This is not to say that today’s physicians are infallible. Perhaps some of today’s treatments are the “Yellow Wallpaper” of the future .



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