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The Yellow Wallpaper, By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s story, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” she explores the world of madness, torture, and imprisonment. In the story, the narrator is suppressed by her husband and his ‘‘superior wisdom,’’ leading to the loss of her sanity. Although it seems as though her husband is trying to help her, in actuality, his methods of healing her are detrimental to her health, both emotionally and mentally. The destruction of her sanity in relation to his attempt to help her are strategically illustrated by Gilman throughout the story. In the story, the narrator’s concerns are constantly being dismissed by her husband, John. Due to the fact that he is a man and a physician, he is held in high esteem within society; therefore, he…show more content…
John makes all of the decisions and does not consider his wife’s feelings and opinions about the choices he makes. The narrator writes, “I wanted one downstairs… but John would not hear of it” (Gilman 2). She is bothered by the room he puts her in, yet he does not care. The room was a nursery and later a children’s playroom. This decision to stay in that particular room is important since it reinforces the idea that John sees the narrator as a child. By putting her in that room and having her rest, he is setting up an environment that enhances her childlike tendencies and makes her feel more childlike. In addition, the barred windows in the room symbolize that she is trapped by his dominance. She is unable to escape his control over her and just like a prisoner, she has no power. The environment he creates causes her to feel obligated to accept the resting method and his dominance over her. The room itself is a constant reminder that she is powerless in her own life and merely her husband’s property. To add on, he shows little respect for her and treats her like a child, calling her “little girl” and “little goose,” to show that she is silly and her imagination is getting the best of her (Gilman 3-6). In this way, he is simultaneously placating her and asserting his dominance. By making her feel like a child, it is clear that he has little respect for her and perceives her to be inferior to him. John
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