The Yellow Wallpaper
In the story the Yellow Wall Paper, the narrator is making a statement which is saying that if you are locked up in a house or “prison” you are not being allowed to be put to your full potential with society. She is using the narrator’s point of view to show how mental issues start to occur when you are confined to one place and have no actual view of the outside world. That statement also includes the effects of your mind when you can only think to yourself and imagine. The main character’s mind starts to go insane when thinking too much into things.
Throughout the story the main character looks into every little detail of the room and analyzes it. This is the effect of having too much time on her hands and not having anything better to do. The story is about a woman who’s husband sent her away to this house to get mentally better and starts to see this wallpaper. She has very strict rules such as not being able to read or write so she starts looking at this wallpaper. While she’s looking at this wallpaper she starts to interpret it in many different ways throughout the story.
She’s irked by the bright yellow outline that is has, which then turns into her seeing heads being hanged. As the story goes on her views of the room get even worse and it doesn’t help that her husband John is treating her like a little girl. Her husband has a wrong view of what is going on in her head. She gets annoyed by the fact that she can’t even talk to him about the situation she’s in. The story goes on to her doing many irrational behaviors in the room and her anxiety gets worse and worse while getting fed up with everything little thing she notices in the room and about the wallpaper.
She is also also a Mother that isn’t aloud to be near her baby which adds to her anxiety. Charlotte Perkins Gilman shows a first person point of view with the narrator about how she is feeling “So I take phosphate or phosphites- whichever it is , and tonics, and journeys, and air, and exercise, and am absolutely forbidden to “work” until I am well again. Personally, I disagree with their ideas. Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good”(p490). She is able to capture how the narrator is really feeling.
The narrator is a housewife that doesn’t have a real job. She wants more out of life; she really wants to be able to read and write so that she can put her thoughts to good use and vent. When her husband took her books away from her, she started to read the wallpaper because she likes to read and analyze and is very good at it by the way she describes the room and the wallpaper. She also didn’t put up a fight when she was sent away. She develops a mental illness by being a housewife and not being able to go out. When she is put in this psychiatry room, she starts to get worse.
She thinks she’s getting better later on in the story because her husband tells her that she can have her life back if she gets better. The narrator is disgusted with the room she’s in but tries to make the best of it. She really enjoys and desires human interaction. Charlotte Perkins Gilman shows the narrator’s loneliness “When I get really well, John says we will ask Cousin Henry and Julia down for a long visit; but he says he would as soon put fireworks in my pillowcase as to let me have those stimulating people about now”(p. 491). This really shows how she’s looking forward to seeing her family to be able to talk about her work.
John is her husband who’s making all the decisions and holding her back like a child. He doesn’t show her much attention because he is always with other patients and often comes to visit her at night. At one point in the story he carried her from one room to another like a baby. That doesn’t do her any good because she knows that she’s a grown up person and is capable of doing more. By him treating her like a baby makes her feel like a baby, and then continues to more mental issues. John should’ve treated her like an adult so that she would act more like an adult.
Charlotte made him into a controlling character “He is very careful and loving, and hardly lets me stir without special direction”(p490). This shows how he’s controlling the way she does things yet still loves her. She needs more freedom which he doesn’t want to give her. He thinks that by putting her in that room she will learn a lesson like a little child and teach herself how to get better. What she really needs is to be able to go out and enjoy what society has to offer her. The room she’s in shows what it’s like to be deprived by society; the room is like her own little society.
She’s trying to make the best of it by looking into every little detail of it from the bed to the wallpaper. She wasn’t allowed to go out of her house or do anything because John wanted her to be a housewife which is why she started having all of these mental issues. She had to fulfill the duties that John wanted her to do which got boring to a certain point. She is a people’s person. Every time that the nurses would come in she always talked to them as if she really knew them. Charlotte Perkins Gilman captures the narrator’s thoughts “I don’t like our room a bit.
I wanted one downstairs that opened on the piazza and had roses all over the window, and such pretty old-fashioned chintz hangings! “(p490). She really doesn’t like anything about the room she’s in. When she looks out her window she sees a lovely country like village full of people which she wishes she could go out and have fun there. Being trapped in a house is the worst thing that is happening to her. She tries to make the best of the situation she’s in by thinking into every little thing that annoys her. The room is a symbol of a door that is closed to society. The wallpaper is the main symbol in this story.
The narrator starts to see heads that have been hanged which is obvious signs that she is starting to become delusional or insane. The color starts to change from yellow to brown after days of just staring at it. She then starts to see bars on the wallpaper which is representing herself. She feels like she’s in a jail cell locked up and is not allowed to have fun or do anything except what John wants her to do. Throughout the story she feels as that it’s better for her to be in this room of misery with her baby, so that the baby doesn’t have to stare at it all day.
She doesn’t want her baby “living in a room full of worlds” which almost signifies the day dreaming that goes on in there. After awhile she starts to look at the positive side of being locked up in that room. The wallpaper whether it was yellow or not, was the main controlling mechanism of the character’s mood for story. Her mood no matter day or night was based on the wallpaper she was looking at. The narrator actually asked John during the beginning of her stay to take down the wallpaper since it was causing more nervous trouble, but he didn’t.
He thought that she was letting it get to her and wanted her to deal with it which is funny because she ended up writing an entire short story about it. The narrator could also be feeling a sense of yellow on the inside. In our world we look as yellow as happy but maybe not as fully. Colors like orange or green are a lot happier. At one point she has a view of a garden which is where she could be picking up some yellow. She even thought there was a yellow smell. The wallpaper effects her so much she feels as if it’s getting into her hair.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman shows a very good depiction to help create a mental picture of what is going on in the room: “The color is repellent, almost revolting; a smoldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight(p. 490)”. She shows great use of vocabulary with words such as repellent and revolting along with imagery which catches her reader’s eyes. The title is an example of how the narrator can show her intellectual ability and desire of how she feels like she’s in prison. The narrator’s ability to interpret the wallpaper and every little detail in the room is unique even though it is a psychiatry case.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses the narrator’s point of view to really capture how she feels towards the wallpaper which in her mind is disgusting and not her type. Almost every paragraph is about something bad pertaining to the wallpaper. Her intellectual ability is to see and analyze things which may be why she gets along with so many people. Charlotte Perkins Gilman gives a great view saying “He says that with my imaginative power and habit of story making, a nervous weakness like mine is sure to lead to all manner of excited fancies, and that I ought to use my will and good sense to check the tendency”(p. 91). She clearly has a wild imagination that John is trying to cut down. She might be more of a hands on person. Therefore, the wallpaper brings a very different type of analytical approach. Her husband locked her up in this house so she wasn’t being put to her full potential. Instead she started looking at the small things in her house while John just wanted her to sit at home and it turned into a mental illness. Towards the end of the story the narrator really started to go crazy walking around the room. She couldn’t stand the fact that her bed was nailed to the floor.
She ripped off all the wallpaper when nobody was around. She threw the key out of the room so that nobody can come in or out until John arrives. She even found a rope incase Jennie got in she was going to tie her which is a little crazy. The narrator realizes that if she jumps out the window that people will think she’s crazy more than she already is. She’s a frustrated psychiatric patient just trying to feel better. She’s been in there for about a couple weeks. The wallpaper messes with her head a lot. She can’t wait to leave the place she’s in.
She has everything planned out even taking a boat back to town. Her husband comes back for what she thinks is her last day in the psychiatric room. She rips down all of the wallpaper which showed a lot of courage since her nervousness wasn’t letting her do anything til she’s satisfied. She then takes the key locks the door and throws it out the window so that when John comes in he looks at her and faints. She does nothing but step over him. Charlotte Perkins Gilman shows what is really going on “I kept on creeping just the same, but I looked at him over my shoulder”(p500).
I think she just about had enough with staying in that room and may have even been feeling better since she worked up the courage to do all that and even walk over her own husband. Charlotte Perkins Gilman used a very easy to read type of style which was helpful in figuring out the plot and building a mental image of what was going on. ” I have found out another funny thing, but I shan’t tell it this time! I mean to try it, little by little. “(p498). She has a very broad use of vocabulary but not hard enough to need a dictionary to figure things out. It’s interesting that she breaks the story into different parts or chapters.
The narrator’s character changed in each part, mostly because of the other characters or the wallpaper. Her writing style is also modern compared to other stories in this book. This type of writing style is nice. She uses a character with a mental disorientation and captures what is really going through her mind. Her writing flows just like any other short story but even better. She doesn’t make it hard to figure the details out. She is very straight forward with the way she words her sentences. I’m wondering if the author wrote this short story to show another person, or if the author herself was the main character in the story.
This seem like it could be a realistic story. In this century there are many mentally ill people ranging from anxiety issues to disorders. This could be a true story. The sentences are short and clear but not at all long enough to get lost in them. The story was literally written as the main character was seeing things. It was even broken up from the start of her being in the psychiatric ward included with a two week break from writing for when John kept visiting her in the beginning. Every thought and movement was written down.