Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

Written individuality, and her mental illness was

Written in a time where men and women were seen in
different social classes, The Yellow Wallpaper written by Charlotte
Perkins Gilman is a story about a woman who deals with mental illness resulting
her to create an obsession with a wall painting. The short story by Gilman is
written in the first-person perspective. The narrator is the woman telling the
story through her secret journal entries. Throughout the story, the
readers view the life of an oppressed woman who also faces an unsupportive and
high-powered husband who believes she is not entirely sick. The story covers
many themes such as mental illness, irony, gender social class, and isolation.
The dialogue between the narrator and her husband demonstrates how belittled
women were looked upon during this time. The Yellow Wallpaper can be
analyzed through the interactions and dialogue between the narrator and the
husband which demonstrate the oppression women dealt with, especially those
women who had a mental illness. The narrator is one of those women, she was
seen as a child and a second-class social while her husband was of high power,
she lacked freedom and individuality, and her mental illness was ignored and
belittled.

To begin, one of the most important complications
we see the narrator face is immediately seen from the beginning to the end of
the story. The narrator’s husband, John, continuously refers to the narrator in
childish tones and manners, rather than seeing her as an individual. The
husband never actually refers to the narrator by name but throughout the story
uses childish and derogatory nicknames toward her. The readers can clearly view
this issue after the husband interacts with the narrator when they both speak of
their bedroom, “Then he took me in his arms and called me a blessed little goose,
…” (Gilman 472). This scene in the story is important as it demonstrates just
one of the childish names the husband uses toward the narrator. The use of the phrase
‘little goose’ shows just how childish the husband views his wife’s opinion of
their bedroom as if it were silly or irrelevant. Although Gilman writes how the
husband loves and cares for the narrator, “He is very caring and loving, and
hardly lets me stir without special direction” (471) it’s not difficult to see
how little he views his wife and how he, as a male and physician, is
intelligent and has a higher power over her, dominating her role as a woman. Gilman
demonstrates the oppression women were dealing with during this time.

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Gradually, the narrator continues to face
yet another complication resulting from her husband’s actions and beliefs; isolation.
The narrator’s husband believes there is nothing the matter with the narrator “but
temporary nervous depression – a slight hysterical tendency” (Gilman, 470).
This belief of his limits the actions and capabilities the narrator may
achieve. Gillman chose to write the story in the form of the narrator’s journal
entries, which is ironic since the narrator’s husband forbids that his wife
takes on the task of writing. The narrator almost gets caught writing in her
journal by her husband, “There comes John, and I must put this away – he hates
to have me write a word” (Gilman, 471). Soon, the narrator faces what feels like
imprisonment. The husband keeps her locked at home with a housekeeper, his
sister Jennie, to watch over her and where the narrator is “free” in their home
all day. The husband alerts the narrator that whenever she becomes well again
that “they will ask Cousin Henry and Julia down for a long visit…” here the
husband subtly blames the narrator for the reasoning as to why their cousins
won’t come down to their home. Gilman then proceeds to write “I wish I could
get well faster” showing how the reader can interpret just how badly the narrator
wishes to be well enough to have company over (472). The narrator is lonely
most of her time, she states “And I am alone a good deal just now. John is kept
in town very often by serious cases…” (Gilman, 474). The reader can interpret
that the narrator feels her illness is often ignored and seen as a smaller
issue compared to the cases her husband works with. Here, the narrator comes to
the conclusion that her case, in the eyes of her husband, is not at all
serious. The narrator’s husband has his sister watching over her under his
control. The reader knows this because the narrator writes in her journal “There
comes John’s sister. Such a dear girl as she is, and so careful of me! I must
not let her find me writing!” (Gilman, 473). The narrator has to hide her journal
from the sister allows for the conclusion that the husband has talked with his
sister and ordered that the narrator should not be writing. The narrator is
instructed not only by her husband, who is also her physician, but also her brother
who is also a physician 

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