John, the narrator’s controlling, but loving, husband represents the atypical man of the time. He wants his wife to get better and to be able to fill the role of the perfect wife that society expected from her. John, being a doctor, did not quite believe that her mental illness was out of her control and insisted on
She has been trained to trust in her husband blindly and sees no other way. He calls her “little girl” (352) and “little goose” (349) and states “She will be as sick as she pleases!” (352) whenever she tries to express her issues. Instead of fighting for what she thinks will make her better she accepts it and keeps pushing her feelings aside, while he treats her like a child. We get an instant feel for her problem in the first page when she says, “John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that” (pg 346). A woman shouldn’t expect her husband to laugh at her concerns. Even after briefly writing about her condition she remembers her husband telling her the very worst thing she can do is think about it and follows his instructions. This is when she begins to focus on the house instead of her problems and the obsession with the wallpaper starts. She has nothing else to think about alone in the home; they don’t even allow her to write, which she has to do in secret.
Although tender and caring, John played a significant role in causing the narrator’s descent into ‘madness’. By taking on the role of a physician and a husband, John symbolises the stronghold power men had over women in the past. Instead of respecting his wife’s request for some form of mental stimulation, John insists that she takes on the ‘rest’ treatment. The treatment only focuses on the physical condition of the patient, and not the emotional or mental
Her loving husband, John, never takes her illness seriously. The reader has a front row seat of the narrator’s insanity voluminously growing. He has shown great patience with the recovery of his wife’s condition. However, the narrator is clear to the reader that she cannot be her true self with him. In the narrator’s eyes she feels he is completely oblivious to how she feels and could never understand her. If she did tell him that the yellow wallpaper vexed her as it does he would insist that she leave. She could not have this.
In ?The Yellow Wallpaper? it seems that the narrator wishes to drive her husband away, spending the entire time hoping for freedom. She explains, ?John is away all day, and even some nights when his cases are serious. I am glad my case is not serious? (Gilman). She is glad to see her husband away so that she may be left alone to do as she pleases without interference from her husband. She is frequently rebelling against her husband?s orders. She writes in her journal and tries to move her bed when there is no one around to see. However, she always keeps an eye out for someone coming.
The problem is that the woman does not give herself enough credit to speak up for herself. This is slightly comparable to what many people go through today, in our society, with medical practitioners. Although one knows what makes him or her feel better, we most often will rely on the doctor's advice, instead, simply because of his or her authority. The woman is trying so hard to get better, and deep down she knows what she needs to do, but she is constantly being shut down by her husband and her own personal insecurities. The woman describes writing as "Such a relief" (Barnet 748) but because of John's constant observation of her as well as her low energy level she must direct her thoughts elsewhere. So she begins to daydream about the wallpaper. She imagines people,
The narrator feels very imprisoned in the house and tries to find a way to escape it. During the narrator’s rest cure treatment, she has attached herself to the wallpaper: She would “lay there for hours trying to decide whether that front pattern and the back pattern really did move together or separately”(260-261). This was the narrator’s way of escaping the oppression she was in. The wallpaper often seemed confusing to her, but she was determined to figure it out: “I am determined that nobody shall find it out but myself”(301-302), everytime John takes of her illness lightly, her interest in the wallpaper grows. This is a direct reflection of her loneliness and isolation from her treatment. The speaker’s rest cure treatment directed her not to do any activities that would make her think intellectually or imaginatively, so she is forced to stay isolated from people, books, and chores. However, as her loneliness grows intensely, she finds relief in writing, something she was told not to do. The narrator would often have to hide the fact that she writes when nobody's around, and when someone comes while she is writing she records “I must not let [them] find me writing”(141-142). The oppression the narrator has been put through has made her stronger mentally, she starts to become more and more possessive of the wallpaper and tries
The narrator has a natural creativity that when left idol drives he insane. She is forced to hide he anxieties and fears which ultimately drives her to insanity. Even though she keeps a journal writing is in particularly off limits. Creativity was forbidden to her, John constantly reminds her to keep it contained. She even writes: “He says no one but myself can help me out of it, that I must use my will and self-control and not let any silly fancies run away with me.” She longs for an outlet for her repressed mind, going as far as to keep the journal, the one the audience is now privy to. She often refers to the journal as her only source of solace. As her sanity deteriorates, her mind starts to imagine things. The wallpaper becomes her outlet for this creativity. She begins describing the mansion as haunted and starts seeing a woman in the walls. She describes this saying: “The dim shapes get clearer every day. It is always the same shape, only very numerous. And it is like a woman stooping down and creeping about behind that pattern. I don't like it a bit. I wonder-I begin to think - I wish John would take we away from here!” Her natural eventually becomes so repressed it drives her
Due to their behavior, both men lead their wives to rebel. John’s controlling behavior causes the narrator to abandon him by going completely mad. First, she questions John’s pronouncements. The narrator believes that congenial work, with excitement and change would do her good (p.297). Next, she focuses on the wallpaper. She describes its negative features noting that patches are gone as if school boys wore it out (p.298). Upset by her husband’s actions, the narrator decides to begin writing in secret. . It reaches the point where the narrator has to hide her writings from him, because he gets upset if she even writes a word (p.298). -After time passes, we see her obsession grow. John seems to be oblivious to the narrator’s conditions, telling her “you know the place is doing you good” (p.299). She notices that the pattern is torturing (p.303). Finally, she begins to see a woman hiding behind the pattern (p.304). Looking for the woman in the pattern gives her something to look forward to (p.305). Ultimately she comes to believe that she is the woman in the wallpaper and wants to free herself. She begins peeling off the paper through the night, and by morning removes all the paper she could while standing (p.307). The narrator even begins to contemplate jumping out of the window, but does not
Her husband labels her as crazy and restricts her to a single room and forbids her to do most activities. Her husband demeans and belittles his wife’s condition by dismissing the severity of her depression. The Narrator has no say or control in her relationship. She has no control over the activities she’s allowed to do while in her room so she takes control of the only thing she can, her mind. She soon begins to imagine images within her room and within her wallpaper. The Narrator says, “Life is very much more exciting now than it used to be” because every day she now looks forward to helping the women behind the wallpaper escape. Now that Louise has complete control over her mind, she is beginning to taste freedom, even if she is destroying herself. Because John thinks he’s superior to his wife, he misjudges her condition and ends up making her condition worse by repressing her even
After a while of staying at the house she started to get lazier and rest most of the time. During the day when John and his sister think that the narrator is resting she is actually study the wallpaper in the room. She is starting to feel uneasy in the room once more and wish that John would take her away from the house but John would not listen and he would say that the house was doing her good. The only way that John would leave is if he believe that she was in any
John is characterized by Gillman as being very analytical, very scientific in thought. As such, so when he fails to find anything physically wrong with his wife he attributes it to fatigue, almost refusing to entertain the idea that it might be an emotional unsoundness that afflicts her. There also appears to be an immense lack of communication between the narrator and her husband John. "I had no intention of telling him it was because of the wallpaper", says the narrator, referring to her husband, "he would make fun of me. He might even want to take me away"(Gillman 583). This paucity of interchange and inability of John to truly listen to his wife's needs are the ultimate sources of conflict in the story.
In ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’, even though in the earliest entries in the diary the narrator appeared to us to be sane and in control of herself. But it was revealed later to show that maybe, she was in fact already insane from the beginning, “I used to lie awake as a child and get more entertainment and terror out of blank walls and plain furniture than most children could find in a toy-store.” She also had the outer appearance of keeping in composure when she was around her husband, “But John say if I feel so, I shall neglect proper self-control; so I take pains to control myself – before hi, as least,” this presented the idea that she was willing to take pain killers to have the exterior of being healthy in front of her husband. Because of Gilman’s
The recurring conflict in the short story, leading to the narrator losing her insanity, can be seen in the beginning of “The Yellow Wallpaper”, with the narrator’s point of view illustrating her restricted, mundane life and the misunderstanding of her condition that causes her mental health to deteriorate. The narrator clearly depicts the heavy constraints limiting her from expressing herself through her very first diary entry, in which she says “John is a physician, and perhaps-- (I would not say it to a living soul, of course, but this is dead paper and a great relief to my mind)--perhaps that is one reason I do not get well faster. You see he does not believe I am sick! And what can one do? Personally, I disagree with
Gender Defines It All Gender roles seem to be as old as time and have undergone constant, but sometime subtle, revisions throughout generations. Gender roles can be defined as the expectations for the behaviors, duties and attitudes of male and female members of a society, by that society. The