English / The Yellow Wallpaper

The Yellow Wallpaper

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Autor:  anton  24 November 2010
Tags:  Yellow,  Wallpaper
Words: 367   |   Pages: 2
Views: 350

The Yellow Wallpaper”

The narrator in “The Yellow Wallpaper” initially perceives the room she is staying in to be a former nursery: “ It was a nursery first and then playroom and gymnasium, I should judge; for the windows are barred for little children, and there are rings and things in the walls”(113). However, what the narrator perceives to be a child’s room was more than likely a room inhabited by a mentally ill person. The bed was bolted to the floor (117), someone, prior to the narrator herself, had gnawed on the wood (126) and the floor itself is “scratched and gouged and splintered”(116). This damage supports the premise of the room being for someone with a severe mental illness, as it is extremely doubtful that a child could have inflicted such extensive damage. The nature of the space, in all probability, is why John chose that particular room over all of the others in the house. Gilman made it very evident that the room was not in fact a nursery, but she had the narrator perceive it as such in order to support the manner in which the narrator is infantilised by her husband John, and by society as a whole. Throughout the story he speaks to her using condescending language, referring to her as “a blessed little goose”, as one would speak to a child, and further on through the story goes so far as to call her “little girl”. This paternal behaviour only reinforces the way in which women were treated in those times, as second-rate members of society, with rights and privileges no better than those of children. The narrator is not permitted to work, nor can she make any decisions for herself, and her husband John takes on a denigrating “father knows best” attitude when faced with any resistance from the narrator (120). Gilman effectively used the setting of the ostensible nursery to further illuminate her point of how the narrator was treated, and also used the misperception to demonstrate the narrator’s state of mind, which was instigated by her maltreatment.

Works Cited

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. “The Yellow Wallpaper.” The Seagull Reader Ed. Joseph Kelly. New York: Norton, 2005. 110-128.

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