The Yellow Wallpaper, the narrator must deal with several different conflicts. She is diagnosed with “temporary nervous depression and a slight hysterical tendency” (Gilman 221).
Most of her conflicts, such as, differentiating from creativity and reality, her sense of entrapment by her husband, and not fitting in with the stereotypical role of women in her time, are centered around her mental illness and she has to deal with them.
The most obvious conflict the narrator has to deal with is living in the room with the yellow wallpaper and differentiating creativity from reality. The narrator becomes fond of the wallpaper and feels an excessive need to figure out the pattern. She says, “I know a little of the principle of design, and I know this thing was not arranged on any laws of radiation, or alternation, or repetition, or symmetry, or anything else that I have ever heard of” (Gilman 224).
Her days become preoccupied with the wallpaper and she feels a distinct connection to it.
While she tries to decode the wallpaper’s pattern, her creativity allows her to see a face in the wallpaper. She says, “There is a recurrent spot where the pattern lolls like a broken neck and two bulbous eyes stare at you upside down” (Gilman 223).
As she continues to study the wallpaper, she comes to believe that she sees a woman creeping in the chaotic wallpaper who is trapped behind it: “The front pattern does- and no wonder! The woman behind shakes it! ” (Gilman 227).
Name, Identity and Self in Charlotte Perkins Gilman?s ?The Yellow Wallpaper? Charlotte Perkins Gilman presents in the short story ?The Yellow Wallpaper? a narrator of dubious identity. If a reader infers that the reference at the end of the story to ?Jane? is indeed self-reflexive, a dichotomy between the Jane of which she speaks and the character who creeps about the room becomes apparent. This ...
She begins to have a bond with this woman and can relate to her. The woman in the wallpaper is essentially the narrator.
They are similar in the sense that they are both trapped and unable to escape. Towards the end of the story, the narrator reaches a state of insanity where she can no longer differentiate herself from the figure she sees in the wallpaper. She tells us, “I suppose I shall have to get back behind the pattern when it comes night, and that is hard! ” (Gilman 228).
As John Bak says, “Under the unerring scrutiny of the ‘two bulbous eyes’ in the yellow wallpaper, the narrator passes through stages from concern to paranoia and, finally, to madness”.
She then eventually rips off strips of the wallpaper and finally escapes it: “I’ve got out at last, said I, in spite of you and Jane. And I’ve pulled off most of the paper, so you can’t put me back! ” (Gilman 228).
She believes now that she is the woman in the wallpaper and no one, not even John, can imprison her in the wallpaper again. The woman in the wallpaper originally was part of the narrator’s creative imagination, but the figure slowly turned into her own reality. The narrator’s sense of entrapment reveals her conflict between her and her husband.
The husband, John, uses his power as a doctor to control her. As Beverly Hume says, “John is mechanistic, rigid, predictable, and sexist; he ‘combines the professional authority of the physician with the legal and emotional authority of the husband” (478).
He forces her to behave how he thinks a sick woman should. The narrator tells us, “He is very careful and loving, and hardly lets me stir without special direction” (Gilman 222).
John overprotects her and makes decisions for her. The narrator suffers from depression and is prescribed a rest cure.
John believes that she is not sick, but she is just fatigued and needs some rest. She says, “You see, he does not believe I am sick! And what can I do? ” (Gilman 221).
Today, the narrator’s illness would be a quite common disorder for a mother, she would be diagnosed with postpartum depression. The narrator describes herself, “as feeling a ‘lack of strength’ and becoming ‘dreadfully fretful and querulous’” (Suess 4).
Tyer 1 Drew Tyer Jennifer McCune ENGL 131224 February 2005 No Work and No Play Makes Jane a Dull Girl Jane in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" was "touched" as some say long before she was prescribed, and administered the "rest cure" by her husband for her then unknown ailment now called postpartum depression. The boredom and isolation of this cure only allowed her mind to venture ...
He took her to a summer home and placed her in a room upstairs and in a way barricaded her in.
She says, “I should judge for the windows are barred for little children, and there are rings and things in the walls” (Gilman 222).
There is a gate put up in front of the stairs and the windows are all barred in. He then instructs her to rest and not to do any writing, or “work” as he calls it. John’s views as a doctor forbid any type of activity, because he feels it will only worsen her fragile condition. She says, “So I take phosphates or phosphites- whichever it is- and tonics, and air and exercise, and journeys, and am absolutely for bidden to ‘work’ until I am well again” (Gilman 221).
But the narrator believes she would feel better if she could write because she does not believe it to be “work”. “Personally I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good” (Gilman 221).
The narrator believes that writing would help her get better more than the rest cure. John addresses his wife as “‘little girl,’ and chooses the nursery rather than one of the adult bedrooms for his wife” (Griffin 11).
The narrator has absolute no control over her own care, “she disagrees with her husband’s orders forbidding her to work, yet her opinion goes unrecognized. ” (Griffin 11).
He treats her like a weak, fragile child, which for the most part is what women were described as in that time period. The roles of women also play a part in the conflict in this story. In the 19th century, women were expected to fulfill their duties as wives and mothers. They were to be content in their existence as nothing more. As Amy Griffin says, “Fulfilling their submissive role forced women to deny their individual personalities and aspirations” (10).
The narrator’s desires to have more in her life than John and her child do not fit in with the social expectations of her time.
The narrator says, “Nobody would believe what an effort it is to do what little I am able- to dress and entertain, and order things” (Gilman 222).
Her love of writing and creativity further distances her from the ideal woman of her time. But she feels badly for not being able to fulfill these expectations for John: “I meant to be such a help to John, such a real rest and comfort, and here I am a comparative burden already! ” (Gilman 222).
Recently, many women are engaged in various kinds of job, and they have been advancing in society. Moreover, it is quite ubiquitous among typical families that a mother works outside the home. In the article Should a Woman Work Outside the Home?, the author Mohammed Akade Osman Sudan argues that a womans rightful place in society is in the home. I disagree with the authors view that women should ...
With her illness and orders to rest, a maid helps around the house and takes care of the baby because she is not able to.
She says, “It is fortunate Mary is so good with the baby. Such a dear baby! And yet I cannot be with him, it makes me so nervous” (Gilman 222).
The maid does everything the narrator should be doing. As Marjean D. Purinton says, “The narrator of ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ shows us how to read the wallpaper as a text challenging ‘normative’ values and behaviors assigned or reassigned to gender in the context of the period’s social and sexual anarchy” (96).
The narrator uses the room and reacts opposite to John’s wishes and shows that the rest sure did not work for her.
The narrator is faced with many conflicts in the story that she has to deal with. Her illness prevents her from doing the thing she loves most, writing, and to fulfill her role as the woman of the house. She responds to this by letting her imagination overcome her and defying John’s wishes. In the end she lets these conflicts get to her and her mental health declines and turns into insanity.