In the story “The Yellow Wall-paper”, by Charlotte Perkins Gillian, readers watch a woman as she descends Into madness. The first time I read this story nothing more occurred to me than a woman with a mental condition finally lost it. Now that I have dug deep Into the story I realized there Is absolutely nothing wrong with the woman, except her husband. As a direct result of the way he treated her and constantly belittled her, out of loneliness and desperation she ended up going Insane.
The story begins with the couple moving into a summer house. From the very ginning the main character was not all that fond of the house, but as will be explained later, her feelings were inconsequential. As the narrator describes the house, in one of her journal entries, this is also where she begins to refer to herself as being “sick”. The narrators husband John first demonstrated his Insensitivity to his wives feelings as they were moving In the house. While selecting a bedroom, she had wanted one downstairs. “l don’t Like our room a bit.
I wanted one downstairs that opened on the piazza and had roses all over the window, and such pretty old-fashioned chintz awnings! But wall paper and slept on a bed that was nailed to the floor. Through out this story there are constant references to her “condition”. The narrator often speaks about how she must get better. All of this is a result of the isolation she feels on both a physical and emotional level. John spends a lot of time outside the house, the little time he is home, John doesn’t have much to do with his wife.
Although there is someone home during the day with her, all she really needs is a caring and loving husband. The narrator makes numerous attempts to talk to her husband, and at no time wrought the story does he actually open up and listen. An example of this, “l thought It was a good time to talk, so I told him that I really was not gaining here, and that I wished he would take me away. ” Instead of listening, John basically tells her how she feels. “I could and would, but you really are better, dear. Whether you can see it or not.
I am a doctor, dear and I really know. ” On the other side is the physical isolation that the narrator faces. Throughout almost the entire story, the narrator was in solitude. Even when the her husband or house keeper was there, she still had no one that she could talk to. While talking about how much she cry’s, she states “Of course I don’t when John is here, or anybody else, but when I am alone. And I am alone a good deal Just now. ” She also made an attempt to spend some time with relatives, but John wouldn’t allow this because she was to Ill.
As this story progresses she begins to fall deeper and deeper In the fallacy of her being sick. As each and every lonely day pass things begin to get worst and she mentally deter ate due to loneliness and desperation, and so does the “relationship” with her husband. At some point, about half way through the story, the relationship hafts from that of husband and wife, to more of father and daughter. While laying in bed one night, the narrator wanted to talk to her sleeping husband. She feared waking him, so instead she decided to Just lay in bed and stare at the wallpaper.
As she becomes more and more engrossed, she decided to get up and touch it. While stirring about she woke up John. “What is it, little girl? He said. “Don’t go walking about like that you’ll get cold. ” She tried to talk with him, but eventually she was told she needed to go back to sleep. Almost like she was a kid all over again, John evoked a rule that she was to lay down or one hour after each meal. During this time she began the destructive habit of staring at the patterns on the wallpaper. It got to the point where she would constantly lay awake Just following the designs on the wall.
She began to deceive her husband, and only pretend to sleep. “l don’t tell him that I am awake-O no! The fact is I am getting a little afraid of John. ” This statement for me was a huge turning point in the story. John is supposed to be helping her battle her illness and guide her through. Instead John is ignoring everything she has to say, and telling her how she feels, what she things, and strict orders on what to do. The narrator is now surviving life with John more then she is trying to combat her emotional issues. Inevitably she reaches her pitfall.
At this point she is now consumed with the wallpaper and believes there is a woman inside the wall. She spends every waking second staring at it, and at one point is even relieved because she has a entire week to “fugue it out”. At the end of the story she locks herself in her bedroom. John begins to bang on the door and calls for an axe so he can chop his way into the room. She thinks to herself, “It would be a shame to break down that beautiful door! ” and calls to her husband, “the key is down by the front steps, under a plantain leaf! I found it kind of humorous that in this situation, she is worried about a door! The story then ends abruptly with her dead husband, and her crawling around the perimeter of the room, over his body! Although it was kind of extreme I don’t think the author could have ended the story any better. From my perspective the guy got what he deserved. He allowed his wife to go on a mental downward spiral, and her cure was the easiest thing that he could have possibly done. All he had to do was listen.