- Term Papers and Free Essays

Yellow Wallpaper

Essay by   •  December 15, 2010  •  974 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,018 Views

Essay Preview: Yellow Wallpaper

Report this essay
Page 1 of 4

The Yellow Wallpaper

"The Yellow Wallpaper", by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, criticizes the controlling relationship between an oppressive husband and his submissive wife that pushes her from depression into insanity. Not being able to communicate with her husband as an equal seems to play a great role in her breakdown. Her husband, physician, is unwilling to admit that there might really be something wrong with his wife. This same view is seen in her brother, who is also a physician. While this attitude, and the actions taken because of it, certainly contributed to her breakdown; it seems to me that their denial of her sickness drove her into her schizophrenic state of mind.

Throughout the story there are examples of the dominant - submissive relationship. She is literally imprisoned in her bedroom, supposedly to allow her to rest and recover her health. She is forbidden to work, she is not even supposed to write, and she was quoted as saying, "There comes John, and I must put this away -- he hates to have me write a word". She has no say in the location or decor of the room she is virtually imprisoned in, the protagonist explains, "I don't like our room a bit. I wanted...But John would not hear of it." The lack of visitors is also due to John's orders she says, "he would as soon put fireworks in my pillow-case as to let me have those stimulating people about now." This was due to her husband feeling that all she needed was the "rest treatment" to be cured.

As the story begins, the woman -- whose name is never told -- tells of her depression and how it is dismissed by her husband and brother. She describes their opinion, "You see he does not believe I am sick! And what can one do? If a physician of high standing, and one's own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression -- a slight hysterical tendency -- what is one to do?" These two men, both doctors, seem completely unable to admit that there might be more to her condition than just stress and a slight nervous condition. Even when a summer in the country and weeks of bed-rest don't help, her husband refuses to accept that she may have a real problem.

John talks of taking her to an expert she says that, "if I don't pick up faster he shall send me to Weir Mitchell in the fall." But she took that as a threat since he was even more domineering than her husband and brother. Not only does he fail to get her help, but by keeping her as a prisoner in a room with nauseating wallpaper and very little to occupy her mind, let alone offer any kind of mental stimulation, he almost forces her to dwell on her problem. Probably in large part because of her oppression, she continues to decline. She comments that, "I don't feel as if it was worthwhile to turn my hand over for anything." It seems that her husband is oblivious to her declining condition, since he never admits she has a real problem until the end of the story, at which time he fainted.

Perhaps if she had been allowed to come and go and do as she pleased her depression might have lifted, as she states in her diary, "I think sometimes that if I were only well enough to write a little



Download as:   txt (5.3 Kb)   pdf (75 Kb)   docx (10.5 Kb)  
Continue for 3 more pages »
Only available on
Citation Generator

(2010, 12). Yellow Wallpaper. Retrieved 12, 2010, from

"Yellow Wallpaper" 12 2010. 2010. 12 2010 <>.

"Yellow Wallpaper.", 12 2010. Web. 12 2010. <>.

"Yellow Wallpaper." 12, 2010. Accessed 12, 2010.