Essays On The Yellow Wallpaper

Essays On The Yellow Wallpaper-20
As the Narrator’s mind continues its steady descent into madness certain clues, recorded in the journal as simple observations reveal the alarming state of her mind.She states that there are things in the paper that “nobody knows about but me, or ever will.” Further, the moonlight “creeps” into the room at night and reveals the women creeping in the sub-pattern.As the story progresses she is defeated on several points such as the question as to whether or not she can go visit the stimulating “Cousin Henry and Julia” or if they in turn may visit her.

As the Narrator’s mind continues its steady descent into madness certain clues, recorded in the journal as simple observations reveal the alarming state of her mind.She states that there are things in the paper that “nobody knows about but me, or ever will.” Further, the moonlight “creeps” into the room at night and reveals the women creeping in the sub-pattern.As the story progresses she is defeated on several points such as the question as to whether or not she can go visit the stimulating “Cousin Henry and Julia” or if they in turn may visit her.

Most horrifying, the Narrator continues to have moments of lucidity when she recognizes her own worsening situation as when she begins to suggest to her physician/husband that her mind may be compromised: “Better in body perhaps-” she begins only to be cut off.

During this time period the color, formerly simply “repellant” has become a living thing, like: “old, foul, bad yellow things.” It begins to affect not just her sense of sight but also smell.

Firmly rooted in the paternalistic tradition of husband’s treating their wives as little more than children and housekeepers that prevailed in Gilman’s time, John refuses to consider his wife’s nervous condition an illness; rather it is an aberration of her tendency to hysteria and an over active imagination that she can only surmount by reason.

This tendency to dismiss his wife’s illness as simply the fancy of a childlike mind plays out with disastrous consequences.

Paying scant attention to her worsening mental state, John (the physician) misinterprets various quantifiable indicators such as appetite and duration of sleep to mean that his patient is responding to the “rest” treatment.

Even when his patient informs him that she is in fact eating and sleeping less when he is away, thus nullifying his conclusion, he chooses to immediately fall into his perceived role of husband and treats her like a child: “Bless her little heart,” he says, “she shall be as sick as she pleases.” It is in the role of husband that John seems most to blame for his wife’s worsening condition.

Though forced to insanity, the Narrator’s mind finally triumphs over the creative restrictions imposed by the “rest” cure by escaping into the realm of imagination.

In this sense, the Narrator triumphs over the “rest” cure because, ironically, to have been cured would have meant the defeat of her imagination.

Resigned to the upstairs room she asks her husband if they can remove the wallpaper; when he initially accepts she seems to have won a small victory but this is almost immediately taken from her when he changes his mind and concludes that to entertain her “fancy” on this point would open the door to all manner of requests.

His unwillingness to negotiate with his wife means that she will always suffer defeat in her arguments with him because his dominant role as husband will always trump her submissive female perspective. In what ways is the Narrator triumphant at the end of the story?

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