The Yellow Wallpaper

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The Yellow Wallpaper

The story of The Yellow Wallpaper begins with a family going away on vacation. It is revealed later that there are repairs or renovations being done on their regular house. The wife in the story believes at first that the house is haunted since no one has occupied the house for so long, but she finds out that it was only because of an ownership dispute.

The main reason that the family goes on vacation is because the woman is sick. Her illness is most likely some form of a mental disorder. Her husband, who happens to be a physician, tell her that all she needs to get better is rest and to be around no stimuli.
The woman automatically thinks something is wrong with the house, but she could not figure it out right away. One of the first things she does not like about her and her husband’s room is the wallpaper. She claims that it commits every artistic sin and is not made with any laws of radiation, alternation, repetition or symmetry.

The woman starts to see mages in the wallpaper, and then she sees them move around and change as the light in the room changes. As time goes on, she begins to see a woman creeping around behind the front patter on the wallpaper. She eventually sees the woman in the wallpaper shake the front pattern that acts as a form of a jail for the woman. The wife writes that she thinks the wallpaper woman gets out from her “jail” during the day since she sees her creep around outside her window during the day.

Towards the end of her vacation, the woman tries to figure out a way to get the top layer of the paper off from the bottom one. On the last night, she pulls off yards of the top layer while the wallpaper lady helps her out. Then in the morning, the wallpaper begins to laugh at her and she declares that she will finish getting off the top layer that day. She continues to pull at the paper while it laughs at her. At the end she decides to climb behind the first layer of wallpaper and creep as the wallpaper lady did. Her husband arrives and gets into the room after some time and then faints because he realizes his wife has gone stark raving mad!

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"The Yellow Wallpaper." 123HelpMe.com. 23 Jun 2018
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Throughout the whole story, the husband finds ways to discredit the wife and what she says and thinks. This story is great example of the oppression women faced in this time period when the story was written, 1892. The struggle for equality between the sexes started long before this story was written, but it is a good historical piece to show how things were during a specific time period.

The wife in the story is told she has a nervousness disorder, but, at the beginning of the story, she has the early symptoms of schizophrenia. Her mental condition deteriorates throughout the story to a deeper and deeper form of schizophrenia. At this time period there was not a whole lot of information about mental disorders and people were put into asylums for “treatment” when they were really put there so the family would not be bothered by having to take care of them. This is most likely why the family took the vacation in the first place, to prevent others from knowing about her illness.

The man that John threatened to send her to, Weir Mitchell, was a notorious quack doctor of that time period. There is no wonder the wife did not want to go.


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