Behind The Walls Of A Bad Marriage

1425 Words6 Pages
Amy Paul
English 1B
3 March 2015
Word Count: 1407
Behind the Walls of a Bad Marriage Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” is a startling representation of 19th century gender inequality and how it affected women in their marriages. It illustrates the way women of the 19th century were treated as subordinates in their relationships with men, and the negative psychological side effects this often had. The narrator, who remains nameless throughout the story, finds herself trapped in the bedroom of her new home, encouraged to stay there by her husband and sister-in-law to treat her apparent depression, which she refers to as a “nervous” condition. The distracting yellow wallpaper in the room becomes the focal point of the
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It’s clear that, even if she doesn’t admit it, she isn’t happy about the fact that she has no power in making decisions about treating her own mental illness. The narrator wishes to do certain things such as write in her diary or switch bedrooms, but John does not want to give in to her “fancies”. She mentions at one point that the house they live in has many beautiful rooms, but the one she lives in is one of the most unattractive in the house, due mainly to the wallpaper. Her affection for the house in spite of its flaws seems to reflect her love for her husband despite his patronizing and controlling behavior toward her. As the story progresses, the flaw in the room she is in, the wallpaper, becomes increasingly important for the narrator to focus her attention on, paralleling the growing issue of the oppressive relationship in her marriage. John is the clear antagonist of the story in that his contempt toward his wife is the ultimate reason for her psychological breakdown. He is constantly patronizing her, at times treating her more as a daughter than a wife. At several points in the story, he refers to her as “little girl” or “blessed little goose”. It seems like, as both her husband and physician, he is genuinely trying to help her and is treating her the way he thinks is best in order to aid her recovery. But his persistent controlling behavior and stifling of his wife’s concerns continue to trap
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