The Yellow Wallpaper Essay

The Yellow - Gastelle 1 Bryan Gastelle Professor Price English 120 10 April 2007 The Reliability and Mental Condition of the Narrator in"The Yellow

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Gastelle 1 Bryan Gastelle Professor Price English 120 10 April 2007 The Reliability and Mental Condition of the Narrator in “The Yellow WallPaper” Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow WallPaper” is the story of a woman of the nineteenth century who goes on a short vacation with her husband John. John is a man of science and tends to think in a concrete and scientific way. The narrator has a greater disposition to think abstractly and artistically. Society plays a large role in the story. The norm for marital roles at the time of this story is closely comparable to the roles that John and the narrator assume. John is exonerated from a role as the antagonist, to a degree by the social conditions at the time. The narrator of the story is looked upon by the reader as a victim of circumstance and miscommunication. “The Yellow WallPaper” opens with the narrator describing her point of view towards life as she knows it and the retreat that John has taken her to. Initially there is no reason to believe that her point of view is skewed to the point that it becomes inaccurate; however the distortion of the tale as a result of her perspective as a wife of the time is somewhat notable (Treichler 64). Gilman immediately shows the reader that the narrator is living in a world that has been tailored for her. One powerful example of this is a part of her dialogue in the beginning of the story, “John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in marriage.” Upon examination of this line it is apparent that the narrator has been fed beliefs from an early age to justify her mistreatment. Somehow she has been conditioned to hide her feelings even when someone close
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Gastelle 2 to her mocks her opinions. This also contributes to her fragile emotional state; it is this form of oppression that will fuel her madness later in the story. The narrator is undergoing a controversial treatment even as the story opens called the “resting cure.” John as a physician of the day is doing his best to treat his wife’s problems. Ironically his experience as a physician counts for nothing in his attempt to treat his wife psychologically. It is my opinion that the narrator does not have any form of nervous disorder at all. I believe it was Gilman’s intention; in part to point out not only the inherent flaws of the resting cure, but those of over diagnosis. A psychological revolution was taking place at the time over diagnosis had become somewhat prevalent; this may have played a role in the story. The narrator seems to be a fairly reasonable and stable character if not for her circumstances. It appears that John has assumed the dominant role in the relationship, as was expected at
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This note was uploaded on 04/03/2008 for the course ENGL 102 taught by Professor Price during the Spring '08 term at Salisbury University.

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The Yellow - Gastelle 1 Bryan Gastelle Professor Price English 120 10 April 2007 The Reliability and Mental Condition of the Narrator in"The Yellow

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