The Yellow Wallpaper


It is a story of a woman's demoted status by a man and how she was in a mental declining state and ended up going crazy because of the medication she was being treated with, which was mainly to lock her away in an isolated room until the problem vanished. The medicine that was prescribed to her was given repeatedly to women with 'madness' and nervous conditions during like hers during the time. More importantly, the story is how the male controls her dominantly and throws strikes at her just like the rest of society did to women at the time. The narrator in the story is symbolic for all women during the time the story was written. During that time women were expected, unless otherwise told, to have children and take care of the home. Since only men were privileged with education, they were the ones that held all of the major occupations and make all the major decisions in the household as well. Therefore, women always ended up being tossed into the prison of submission to men, because they lived in a world where the men were far superior to women in the view of society as well as the household. Because of the time where men subdue women, John, who was the narrator's husband, is the one in total control of the narrator during the story. During the story the author also implies that it's a mixture of social control from society, along with the weakness the woman has that adds to issue that men we superior over of women. These things in the story give women the disability to make their own decisions or any other opposition to men.
John, the husband, was a representation of society during the time period. Doing the same thing as the society, John controlled everything in the household and determined what his wife could or could not do, by not letting his wife to think or even make any decisions by herself. John's controlling character can be given to him because he is a male as well as a "physician of high standing" (Gilman 355). John is "practical in the extreme. He has no patience with faith, an intense horror of superstition, and he scoffs openly at any talk of things not to be felt and seen and put down in figures" (Gilman 355). All these things show that John is experimental, a person to use facts, and shows he thinks logically. John has all of the conditions that show he is a normal and sensible person. John tells the narrator in the story to take "'phosphates or phosphites'whichever it is, and tonics, and journeys, and air, and exercise, and am absolutely forbidden to "work" until I am well again." (Gilman 355). But, she disagrees with him and says; 'Personally, I disagree with their ideas. Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good. But what is one to do'? (Gilman 355)
As it clearly shows, she thinks that a life where she would be isolated and locked in a room not allowed any form of a work to keep the mind busy or daily interaction and excitement would not be any real form of medicine that would fix anything. She then starts to question her distressed status that she has in society. She thinks to herself three times what anyone in her shoes should do: "And what can one do?", "What is one to do?", "But what is one to do?" (Gilman 355). The author says this repeatedly to show that she can't do anything to change her life because her husband and society are the ones that have control of what she does or doesn't do and there is nothing she can change of it even if she wanted. When the narrator attempts to write, it looks bad as well because a job where women write is not socially acceptable during that time. With society looking down upon women writing and having so much control on what was socially correct, she is not allow to write in where there was a possibility someone would see her, specifically John or Jennie who are thought to have higher statues in society because John is described as a "high standing physician" and Jennie as an "enthusiastic housekeeper". She is at a far disadvantage and can't do the one thing she wants, which is write, because people think that when she writes that she is only making her 'illness' worse. When she says, "I verily believe she thinks it is the writing which made me sick!" (Gilman 358). Just because writing is a personal treasure to her, she says, "I must say what I feel and think in some way - it is such a relief!" (Gilman 359), because of the social unacceptance of writing by women, she wasn't able write in public at all, but instead had to do it in secret which made her look more insane.
Additionally, John tries to completely control what his wife does as well as what she thinks, which is an example of how women were treated in society as well because they were not allowed to think for themselves. It also was a statement for men at the time on how they acted and showed how they controlled their wives. When John tells her, "...you really are better, dear, whether you can see it or not. I am a doctor, dear, and I know. You are gaining flesh and color, your appetite is better" (Gilman 360). Here John is showing again, that he is a doctor and because of that he is the one that is 'right' and is telling her she must be wrong for the fact she isn't a doctor. John is as well is using his male status at this time to tell her how she is, rather than possibly listening to the fact she knows her feelings. Just like any person capable of thinking, just because she isn't a doctor, doesn't mean she is wrong. She then continues and says, "I don't weigh a bit more, nor as much; and my appetite may be better in the evening when you are here, but it is worse in the morning when you are away!" (Gilman 360). She once again attempts to tell him that he is wrong but he won't listen to her. Another time, she says that "there is something strange about the house" (Gilman 355) again he doesn't care to listen to what she feels or might know and says, "what I felt was a draught, and shut the window" (Gilman 355). Throughout the whole story he fails to give any attention to what she says and instead ends up telling her what she is thinking. She says later, "I wish he would let me go and make a visit to Cousin Henry and Julia" (Gilman 359) then he says she, "wasn't able to go, nor able to stand it after I got there" (Gilman 359). As the same throughout the story, he keeps making her decisions by thinking he knows what the best thing she should do, while never considering what she wants to do. Some people might see it as if John is taking care of her and showing her that he loves her, but sometimes you have to be careful, because things are not always as they seem to be at first glance or only looking at the surface. Throughout the story Johns laughs at her a few times. She clearly states, "John laughs at me" (Gilman 355). Even worse, John continuously says, "Bless her little heart!" (Gilman 360) also calling her "blessed little goose" (Gilman 357), these are both things that degrade her and make her seem like adolescent. Even though John has good desire for his actions and thinks he is protecting her, he repeatedly shuts her down and lowers her status by controlling what she thinks and not paying any attention to what she says even when she knows her own feelings better than he would.
A particular flaw that adds to her weakness is that she has the disability to communicate effectively to him and tell her opinions. A major cause of her weakness is because of John not listening to her at all, on the rare occasions he listens to her, he shows he is actually is taking her words into consideration. When she wants to visit her Cousin Henry and Julia, John doesn't get what she really wants at all. She clearly wants to go really bad. "I tried to have a real earnest reasonable talk with him the other day" (Gilman 359), here she shows that she tries so hard to talk to him but inside she knows that he will almost never listen to her completely, rather it's her wants or her needs. Even when she tries this hard she doesn't get her point across to him in a direct enough way. In the same occasion she says, "I did not make out a very good case for myself, for I was crying before I had finished" (Gilman 359). When she cries she is showing that she is weak and this only gives him proof and makes himself feel more superior and that she needs him to control her. Maybe if she would have been able to talk to him and get her point across directly, he might let her see her Cousin Henry and Julia. The actual odds that he would allow her to go and see them are almost impossible because of the way she asks him, she continues to make it even worse for herself when she starts to cry. When she can't even talk to him, or get any of her words/thoughts through, she makes herself look pitiful and weak, as well as putting herself under his control

Overall when you look at how society controls what women can or can't do, as well as looking at her personal weaknesses, it all adds to show the dominance that men have over women and it doesn't allow them share their opinion or concern for things. A lot of the time women find it hard or impossible to find a way to show what they want. At the end of the story John ends up fainting when he sees her "creeping" about the floor. To a shocking surprise, for a man who tries to show that he is a strong, a protective figure over her, with masculinity and dominance, and being smart with his doctor degree, he has a the exact opposite reaction that he should, and faints. This looks very bad for him because after all that he does 'for her' it shows he really doesn't get his own wife. If he wanted to show he knew her and how much dominance and strength he had, he would more than likely taken further care of her or looked further into what was wrong. In a sense she is showing she "creeping" over him just as she was 'creeping about the floor. At the end it's signifying that woman are the same as men. Every person, man or woman, needs to be able to control their own lives as well as make their own choices, good or bad, that is how we get personal experiences and can learn what is right or wrong on our own terms. It is wrong when people try to assume that they know what is best for people, every situation has its own solutions and there is no possible way to know what a person is thinking. We learned all of these things that Charlotte was trying to get across in 'The Yellow Wallpaper' through John. The author proved that not every situation is the same and we can't assumptions for someone based on the fact we might have gone through a somewhat similar experience. The most we can do is give our opinion on what we think is right for the situation. If we try to tell people things or control them it will end up like the narrator did in the story, very bad for everyone. Unless every woman, and man in certain instances, is treated with respect in this fashion, they will end up crazy or 'creeping' over the person that will attempt to control them.
'This came directly from [my] personal experience' (Oakley 5), said Charlotte Perkins Gilman 20 years after she wrote the short story, 'The Yellow Wallpaper'. It is a story of a woman's demoted status by a man and how she was in a mental declining state and ended up going crazy because of the medication she was being treated with, which was mainly to lock her away in an isolated room until the problem vanished. The medicine that was prescribed to her was given repeatedly to women with 'madness' and nervous conditions during like hers during the time. More importantly, the story is how the male controls her dominantly and throws strikes at her just like the rest of society did to women at the time. The narrator in the story is symbolic for all women during the time the story was written. During that time women were expected, unless otherwise told, to have children and take care of the home. Since only men were privileged with education, they were the ones that held all of the major occupations and make all the major decisions in the household as well. Therefore, women always ended up being tossed into the prison of submission to men, because they lived in a world where the men were far superior to women in the view of society as well as the household. Because of the time where men subdue women, John, who was the narrator's husband, is the one in total control of the narrator during the story. During the story the author also implies that it's a mixture of social control from society, along with the weakness the woman has that adds to issue that men we superior over of women. These things in the story give women the disability to make their own decisions or any other opposition to men.
John, the husband, was a representation of society during the time period. Doing the same thing as the society, John controlled everything in the household and determined what his wife could or could not do, by not letting his wife to think or even make any decisions by herself. John's controlling character can be given to him because he is a male as well as a "physician of high standing" (Gilman 355). John is "practical in the extreme. He has no patience with faith, an intense horror of superstition, and he scoffs openly at any talk of things not to be felt and seen and put down in figures" (Gilman 355). All these things show that John is experimental, a person to use facts, and shows he thinks logically. John has all of the conditions that show he is a normal and sensible person. John tells the narrator in the story to take "'phosphates or phosphites'whichever it is, and tonics, and journeys, and air, and exercise, and am absolutely forbidden to "work" until I am well again." (Gilman 355). But, she disagrees with him and says; 'Personally, I disagree with their ideas. Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good. But what is one to do'? (Gilman 355)
As it clearly shows, she thinks that a life where she would be isolated and locked in a room not allowed any form of a work to keep the mind busy or daily interaction and excitement would not be any real form of medicine that would fix anything. She then starts to question her distressed status that she has in society. She thinks to herself three times what anyone in her shoes should do: "And what can one do?", "What is one to do?", "But what is one to do?" (Gilman 355). The author says this repeatedly to show that she can't do anything to change her life because her husband and society are the ones that have control of what she does or doesn't do and there is nothing she can change of it even if she wanted. When the narrator attempts to write, it looks bad as well because a job where women write is not socially acceptable during that time. With society looking down upon women writing and having so much control on what was socially correct, she is not allow to write in where there was a possibility someone would see her, specifically John or Jennie who are thought to have higher statues in society because John is described as a "high standing physician" and Jennie as an "enthusiastic housekeeper". She is at a far disadvantage and can't do the one thing she wants, which is write, because people think that when she writes that she is only making her 'illness' worse. When she says, "I verily believe she thinks it is the writing which made me sick!" (Gilman 358). Just because writing is a personal treasure to her, she says, "I must say what I feel and think in some way - it is such a relief!" (Gilman 359), because of the social unacceptance of writing by women, she wasn't able write in public at all, but instead had to do it in secret which made her look more insane.
Additionally, John tries to completely control what his wife does as well as what she thinks, which is an example of how women were treated in society as well because they were not allowed to think for themselves. It also was a statement for men at the time on how they acted and showed how they controlled their wives. When John tells her, "...you really are better, dear, whether you can see it or not. I am a doctor, dear, and I know. You are gaining flesh and color, your appetite is better" (Gilman 360). Here John is showing again, that he is a doctor and because of that he is the one that is 'right' and is telling her she must be wrong for the fact she isn't a doctor. John is as well is using his male status at this time to tell her how she is, rather than possibly listening to the fact she knows her feelings. Just like any person capable of thinking, just because she isn't a doctor, doesn't mean she is wrong. She then continues and says, "I don't weigh a bit more, nor as much; and my appetite may be better in the evening when you are here, but it is worse in the morning when you are away!" (Gilman 360). She once again attempts to tell him that he is wrong but he won't listen to her. Another time, she says that "there is something strange about the house" (Gilman 355) again he doesn't care to listen to what she feels or might know and says, "what I felt was a draught, and shut the window" (Gilman 355). Throughout the whole story he fails to give any attention to what she says and instead ends up telling her what she is thinking. She says later, "I wish he would let me go and make a visit to Cousin Henry and Julia" (Gilman 359) then he says she, "wasn't able to go, nor able to stand it after I got there" (Gilman 359). As the same throughout the story, he keeps making her decisions by thinking he knows what the best thing she should do, while never considering what she wants to do. Some people might see it as if John is taking care of her and showing her that he loves her, but sometimes you have to be careful, because things are not always as they seem to be at first glance or only looking at the surface. Throughout the story Johns laughs at her a few times. She clearly states, "John laughs at me" (Gilman 355). Even worse, John continuously says, "Bless her little heart!" (Gilman 360) also calling her "blessed little goose" (Gilman 357), these are both things that degrade her and make her seem like adolescent. Even though John has good desire for his actions and thinks he is protecting her, he repeatedly shuts her down and lowers her status by controlling what she thinks and not paying any attention to what she says even when she knows her own feelings better than he would.
A particular flaw that adds to her weakness is that she has the disability to communicate effectively to him and tell her opinions. A major cause of her weakness is because of John not listening to her at all, on the rare occasions he listens to her, he shows he is actually is taking her words into consideration. When she wants to visit her Cousin Henry and Julia, John doesn't get what she really wants at all. She clearly wants to go really bad. "I tried to have a real earnest reasonable talk with him the other day" (Gilman 359), here she shows that she tries so hard to talk to him but inside she knows that he will almost never listen to her completely, rather it's her wants or her needs. Even when she tries this hard she doesn't get her point across to him in a direct enough way. In the same occasion she says, "I did not make out a very good case for myself, for I was crying before I had finished" (Gilman 359). When she cries she is showing that she is weak and this only gives him proof and makes himself feel more superior and that she needs him to control her. Maybe if she would have been able to talk to him and get her point across directly, he might let her see her Cousin Henry and Julia. The actual odds that he would allow her to go and see them are almost impossible because of the way she asks him, she continues to make it even worse for herself when she starts to cry. When she can't even talk to him, or get any of her words/thoughts through, she makes herself look pitiful and weak, as well as putting herself under his control
Overall when you look at how society controls what women can or can't do, as well as looking at her personal weaknesses, it all adds to show the dominance that men have over women and it doesn't allow them share their opinion or concern for things. A lot of the time women find it hard or impossible to find a way to show what they want. At the end of the story John ends up fainting when he sees her "creeping" about the floor. To a shocking surprise, for a man who tries to show that he is a strong, a protective figure over her, with masculinity and dominance, and being smart with his doctor degree, he has a the exact opposite reaction that he should, and faints. This looks very bad for him because after all that he does 'for her' it shows he really doesn't get his own wife. If he wanted to show he knew her and how much dominance and strength he had, he would more than likely taken further care of her or looked further into what was wrong. In a sense she is showing she "creeping" over him just as she was 'creeping about the floor. At the end it's signifying that woman are the same as men. Every person, man or woman, needs to be able to control their own lives as well as make their own choices, good or bad, that is how we get personal experiences and can learn what is right or wrong on our own terms. It is wrong when people try to assume that they know what is best for people, every situation has its own solutions and there is no possible way to know what a person is thinking. We learned all of these things that Charlotte was trying to get across in 'The Yellow Wallpaper' through John. The author proved that not every situation is the same and we can't assumptions for someone based on the fact we might have gone through a somewhat similar experience. The most we can do is give our opinion on what we think is right for the situation. If we try to tell people things or control them it will end up like the narrator did in the story, very bad for everyone. Unless every woman, and man in certain instances, is treated with respect in this fashion, they will end up crazy or 'creeping' over the person that will attempt to control them.
'This came directly from [my] personal experience' (Oakley 5), said Charlotte Perkins Gilman 20 years after she wrote the short story, 'The Yellow Wallpaper'. It is a story of a woman's demoted status by a man and how she was in a mental declining state and ended up going crazy because of the medication she was being treated with, which was mainly to lock her away in an isolated room until the problem vanished. The medicine that was prescribed to her was given repeatedly to women with 'madness' and nervous conditions during like hers during the time. More importantly, the story is how the male controls her dominantly and throws strikes at her just like the rest of society did to women at the time. The narrator in the story is symbolic for all women during the time the story was written. During that time women were expected, unless otherwise told, to have children and take care of the home. Since only men were privileged with education, they were the ones that held all of the major occupations and make all the major decisions in the household as well. Therefore, women always ended up being tossed into the prison of submission to men, because they lived in a world where the men were far superior to women in the view of society as well as the household. Because of the time where men subdue women, John, who was the narrator's husband, is the one in total control of the narrator during the story. During the story the author also implies that it's a mixture of social control from society, along with the weakness the woman has that adds to issue that men we superior over of women. These things in the story give women the disability to make their own decisions or any other opposition to men.
John, the husband, was a representation of society during the time period. Doing the same thing as the society, John controlled everything in the household and determined what his wife could or could not do, by not letting his wife to think or even make any decisions by herself. John's controlling character can be given to him because he is a male as well as a "physician of high standing" (Gilman 355). John is "practical in the extreme. He has no patience with faith, an intense horror of superstition, and he scoffs openly at any talk of things not to be felt and seen and put down in figures" (Gilman 355). All these things show that John is experimental, a person to use facts, and shows he thinks logically. John has all of the conditions that show he is a normal and sensible person. John tells the narrator in the story to take "'phosphates or phosphites'whichever it is, and tonics, and journeys, and air, and exercise, and am absolutely forbidden to "work" until I am well again." (Gilman 355). But, she disagrees with him and says; 'Personally, I disagree with their ideas. Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good. But what is one to do'? (Gilman 355)
As it clearly shows, she thinks that a life where she would be isolated and locked in a room not allowed any form of a work to keep the mind busy or daily interaction and excitement would not be any real form of medicine that would fix anything. She then starts to question her distressed status that she has in society. She thinks to herself three times what anyone in her shoes should do: "And what can one do?", "What is one to do?", "But what is one to do?" (Gilman 355). The author says this repeatedly to show that she can't do anything to change her life because her husband and society are the ones that have control of what she does or doesn't do and there is nothing she can change of it even if she wanted. When the narrator attempts to write, it looks bad as well because a job where women write is not socially acceptable during that time. With society looking down upon women writing and having so much control on what was socially correct, she is not allow to write in where there was a possibility someone would see her, specifically John or Jennie who are thought to have higher statues in society because John is described as a "high standing physician" and Jennie as an "enthusiastic housekeeper". She is at a far disadvantage and can't do the one thing she wants, which is write, because people think that when she writes that she is only making her 'illness' worse. When she says, "I verily believe she thinks it is the writing which made me sick!" (Gilman 358). Just because writing is a personal treasure to her, she says, "I must say what I feel and think in some way - it is such a relief!" (Gilman 359), because of the social unacceptance of writing by women, she wasn't able write in public at all, but instead had to do it in secret which made her look more insane.
Additionally, John tries to completely control what his wife does as well as what she thinks, which is an example of how women were treated in society as well because they were not allowed to think for themselves. It also was a statement for men at the time on how they acted and showed how they controlled their wives. When John tells her, "...you really are better, dear, whether you can see it or not. I am a doctor, dear, and I know. You are gaining flesh and color, your appetite is better" (Gilman 360). Here John is showing again, that he is a doctor and because of that he is the one that is 'right' and is telling her she must be wrong for the fact she isn't a doctor. John is as well is using his male status at this time to tell her how she is, rather than possibly listening to the fact she knows her feelings. Just like any person capable of thinking, just because she isn't a doctor, doesn't mean she is wrong. She then continues and says, "I don't weigh a bit more, nor as much; and my appetite may be better in the evening when you are here, but it is worse in the morning when you are away!" (Gilman 360). She once again attempts to tell him that he is wrong but he won't listen to her. Another time, she says that "there is something strange about the house" (Gilman 355) again he doesn't care to listen to what she feels or might know and says, "what I felt was a draught, and shut the window" (Gilman 355). Throughout the whole story he fails to give any attention to what she says and instead ends up telling her what she is thinking. She says later, "I wish he would let me go and make a visit to Cousin Henry and Julia" (Gilman 359) then he says she, "wasn't able to go, nor able to stand it after I got there" (Gilman 359). As the same throughout the story, he keeps making her decisions by thinking he knows what the best thing she should do, while never considering what she wants to do. Some people might see it as if John is taking care of her and showing her that he loves her, but sometimes you have to be careful, because things are not always as they seem to be at first glance or only looking at the surface. Throughout the story Johns laughs at her a few times. She clearly states, "John laughs at me" (Gilman 355). Even worse, John continuously says, "Bless her little heart!" (Gilman 360) also calling her "blessed little goose" (Gilman 357), these are both things that degrade her and make her seem like adolescent. Even though John has good desire for his actions and thinks he is protecting her, he repeatedly shuts her down and lowers her status by controlling what she thinks and not paying any attention to what she says even when she knows her own feelings better than he would.
A particular flaw that adds to her weakness is that she has the disability to communicate effectively to him and tell her opinions. A major cause of her weakness is because of John not listening to her at all, on the rare occasions he listens to her, he shows he is actually is taking her words into consideration. When she wants to visit her Cousin Henry and Julia, John doesn't get what she really wants at all. She clearly wants to go really bad. "I tried to have a real earnest reasonable talk with him the other day" (Gilman 359), here she shows that she tries so hard to talk to him but inside she knows that he will almost never listen to her completely, rather it's her wants or her needs. Even when she tries this hard she doesn't get her point across to him in a direct enough way. In the same occasion she says, "I did not make out a very good case for myself, for I was crying before I had finished" (Gilman 359). When she cries she is showing that she is weak and this only gives him proof and makes himself feel more superior and that she needs him to control her. Maybe if she would have been able to talk to him and get her point across directly, he might let her see her Cousin Henry and Julia. The actual odds that he would allow her to go and see them are almost impossible because of the way she asks him, she continues to make it even worse for herself when she starts to cry. When she can't even talk to him, or get any of her words/thoughts through, she makes herself look pitiful and weak, as well as putting herself under his control
Overall when you look at how society controls what women can or can't do, as well as looking at her personal weaknesses, it all adds to show the dominance that men have over women and it doesn't allow them share their opinion or concern for things. A lot of the time women find it hard or impossible to find a way to show what they want. At the end of the story John ends up fainting when he sees her "creeping" about the floor. To a shocking surprise, for a man who tries to show that he is a strong, a protective figure over her, with masculinity and dominance, and being smart with his doctor degree, he has a the exact opposite reaction that he should, and faints. This looks very bad for him because after all that he does 'for her' it shows he really doesn't get his own wife. If he wanted to show he knew her and how much dominance and strength he had, he would more than likely taken further care of her or looked further into what was wrong. In a sense she is showing she "creeping" over him just as she was 'creeping about the floor. At the end it's signifying that woman are the same as men. Every person, man or woman, needs to be able to control their own lives as well as make their own choices, good or bad, that is how we get personal experiences and can learn what is right or wrong on our own terms. It is wrong when people try to assume that they know what is best for people, every situation has its own solutions and there is no possible way to know what a person is thinking. We learned all of these things that Charlotte was trying to get across in 'The Yellow Wallpaper' through John. The author proved that not every situation is the same and we can't assumptions for someone based on the fact we might have gone through a somewhat similar experience. The most we can do is give our opinion on what we think is right for the situation. If we try to tell people things or control them it will end up like the narrator did in the story, very bad for everyone. Unless every woman, and man in certain instances, is treated with respect in this fashion, they will end up crazy or 'creeping' over the person that will attempt to control them.

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