The Yellow Wallpaper from the Point of View of a Doctor's Wife

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The Yellow Wallpaper from the Point of View of a Doctor's Wife "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, is a story told from the first person point of view of a doctor's wife who has nervous condition. The first person standpoint gives the reader access only to the woman’s thoughts, and thus, is limited. The limited viewpoint of this story helps the reader to experience a feeling of isolation, just as the wife feels throughout the story. The point of view is also limited in that the story takes places in the present, and as a result the wife has no benefit of hindsight, and is never able to actually see that the men in her life are part of the reason she never gets well. This paper will discuss how Gilman’s choice of point of…show more content…
No matter what a woman did or thought, she was still seen as the lesser of the sexes. Like the narrator, women of that time were directed to suppress their creativity as it threatened the dominating male's sense of control. By having the narrator be forced to write in secret, "There comes John, and I must put this away -- he hates to have me write a word," Gilman was able to show that even the simplest things, like wanting to write were forbidden, lest the male approved (392). Prohibited from working and not being able to contribute to the household as a proper wife, the narrator begins to feel helpless: "So I… am absolutely forbidden to ‘work’ until I am well again. Personally, I disagree with their ideas" (390). The narrator’s husband and brother both exert their own will over hers, forcing her to do what they think is the appropriate behavior for a sick woman. She has been given a "schedule[d] prescription for each hour in the day; [John] takes all care from me" (391). The way that she is required to act involves practically no exertion of her own free-will. Instead, she is expected to obediently accept the fact that her own ideas are mere fancy, and only the opinions of the men in her life can be trusted. The fact that she is not allowed to think for herself is narrowing the extent of her authority in her life and of her autonomy. With no creative outlet her mind starts to find things upon which to dwell, things that only she can see. Virtually imprisoned in
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