The Yellow Wallpaper: a Stifling Relationship

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Husband-Doctor: A Stifling Relationship In Gilman's "the Yellow Wallpaper" At the beginning of "The Yellow Wallpaper", the protagonist, Jane, has just given birth to a baby boy. Although for most mothers a newborn infant is a joyous time, for others, like Jane, it becomes a trying emotional period that is now popularly understood to be the common disorder, postpartum depression. For example, Jane describes herself as feeling a "lack of strength" (Colm, 3) and as becoming "dreadfully fretful and querulous" (Jeannette and Morris, 25). In addition, she writes, "I cry at nothing and cry most of the time" (Jeannette and Morris, 23). However, as the term postpartum depression was not in the vocabulary of this time period, John, Jane's…show more content…
However, the text of Jane's diary not only reveals Jane's awareness that John is manipulating her, it also provides evidence that she has learned to turn the tables on his supposed authority. As Greg Johnson has pointed out, Jane's descriptions of John are typically sarcastic and mocking (524). For instance, even as Gilman makes it clear that Jane recognizes John's forced captivity as mainly to blame for her continued illness—"I wish he would take me away from here!"—immediately after this entreaty, Jane writes "It is so hard to talk with John about my case, because he is so wise, and because he loves me so" (Roudiez). For John, that of which he is not in strict control, such as Jane's writing (Kristeva), is considered "absurd" precisely because it reduces his power. The idea that there is such a thing, for example, as "ghostliness" is inconceivable to John because it cannot be "felt and seen." Therefore, he refuses to even listen to Jane's thoughts on the topic. For instance, when she "tried to have a real earnest reasonable talk with him the other day, and tell him how [she] wish[ed] he would let [her] go and make a visit to Cousin Henry and Julia" (Kristeva), John disallows such an action as it would constitute a break in the schedule he had, in his patronizing belief that "Father" knows best, set for her. Rather than consider the potential validity of Jane's suggestion, "dear John gathered me up in his
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