Yellow Wallpaper Essay
Without question the short story Yellow Wallpaper would definitely be categorized into a male dominant/feminist interpretation. The story is a perfect example of the stereotype, “that a male knows best”.Throughout the story the author does a good job of placing you in the women’s shoes. He makes you feel the control he has over her, mentally as well as physically.
Most males have a tendency to think that they know best. A man will never stop at a gas station to ask directions from a local resident in a town that he has been lost in for two hours because of course he knows his way around far better than the local ever would. He will find his way eventually even if it takes him the entire day. John makes it well known that he knows best. In line 30 he states, “Your exercise depends on your strength, dear, and your food somewhat on your appetite; but air you can absorb all the time.” Yes John is a physician but he does not know exactly what her illness is therefore; he cannot state what depends on what. He tells her that her exercise depends on her strength yet; she is not allowed to go out of the house. No matter her strength she will not be able exercise.
The way the story is written (not organized/unfocused), gives you a claustrophobic feeling of no way out, just as the character feels. The story is written to make you empathize with the character. The form of writing is related to her psycho condition, it jumps from John being away to how she feels.
John and the character have a father/daughter relationship. He treats her as if she were a child, (example; line 128, “What is it, little girl?” A husband does usually refer to their wife as little girl. A relationship feeds on each other to make it right; there is no need for protection or defending.The narrator makes you feel as if all women are enclosed and rely on someone to guide them. You get the bored feeling as you are reading the story, that the women gets while she is locked up in the house not able to go anywhere or do anything. In this case he is inferior to her and protects her.In a normal relationship you don’t ask one another what he or she can do or not do, you don’t get permission to do things. If there is a huge decision to make in a relationship it is simply discussed. In the relationship of John and her it is all about him giving her permission to do things. In one of her writings she writes, ” Dear John! He loves me very dearly, and hates to have me sick. I tried to have a real earnest talk with him the other day, and tell him how I wish he would let me go and make a visit to Cousin Henry and Julia.”(Line108) A wife should never have to be let to do something. If she feels like she wants to go visit her cousins then she should just get up and be able to go. You usually only get permission from someone of a higher an authority or level than you. In a relationship one is not at a higher level than another is.
So why does she end up the way she does? In the beginning of the story it almost seems as if there isn’t really anything that wrong with her. John says that with a little rest she will be better in no time. She does not get better though; she only seems to get worse and worse, more psycho and more psycho. The way John treats her only worsens her condition. She eventually believes that she literally placed herself into the situation she
was placed into. She was placed into an old gymnasium for children. She lives all day and all night in a gymnasium that has a color that is ” repellent, almost revolting: a
smouldering unclean yellow”. The color of the room is depressing enough alone, just as she is depressed. She places herself into her own situation as she states herself between line 240 and 245, “I wonder if they all come out of that wallpaper as I did!” If you are depressed the worst thing is to be locked up in a nasty, yellow room, with no job, and nobody to talk to. Controlled women are forced to be inactive. She goes insane because of his dominant effect on her and the way she is forced to live.
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