The Yellow Wallpaper Essay : Importance Of Identity And Self Expression

1707 Words Oct 1st, 2015 7 Pages
The Importance of Identity and Self Expression in The Yellow Wallpaper
In the article “‘Too Terribly Good to Be Printed’: Charlotte Gilman’s ‘The Yellow Wallpaper,’” Conrad Shumaker explains the genius of “The Yellow Wallpaper” and how its themes reflect the patriarchal society of the time period. Shumaker identifies one theme as the detriment of suppressing the narrator’s sense of self and that “by trying to ignore and repress her imagination, in short, John eventually brings about the very circumstance he wants to prevent” (590). John confines his wife in a yellow “nursery” in order to “cure” her of her illness, banning her from writing and discouraging her imagination. His plan backfires when her mind, unable to find a proper outlet, latches onto the yellow wallpaper that eventually drives her to madness. Another theme that Shumaker points out is that the dynamic of a domineering husband and an obedient wife is a cage that the narrator is desperately trying to free herself from. John constantly dismisses the narrator’s opinions and thoughts and insists that he knows what is best for her. Shumaker points out that the husband, a representation of the patriarchal society, is clearly depicted as the villain and that he “attempts to ‘cure’ her through purely physical means, only to find he has destroyed her in the process” (592). At the end of the story, because of her confinement and inability to express herself, the narrator fully descends into insanity, “escaping” the…
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