The Yellow Wallpaper 6 Essay, Research Paper
The Yellow Wallpaper
In The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the narrator becomes more depressed throughout the story due to the recommendation of isolation that was prescribed to her. In this short story, the narrator is detained in a lonesome, drab, room in attempt to be freed of a nervous disorder. The narrator s husband, a physician, follows this belief and forces his wife into a treatment of solitude. Rather than heal the narrator of her psychological disorder, the treatment only adds to the effects driving her in a severe depression. Under the orders of her husband, the narrator is moved to a house far away in the country. Here she is locked in an upstairs room. This, to me, does not serve as an inspiration for someone in her condition but as an element of repression. The narrator is affected not only by the physical restraints, such as the windows barred and the door locked, but also by being exposed to the yellow wallpaper in the room. The wallpaper is dreadful looking and gives off only negative creativity: the windows are barred for little children, and there are rings and things in the wall. All through the story the wallpaper acts as an antagonist, causing her to become annoyed and disturbed. The narrator describes the wallpaper as having no pattern or organization. This causes the narrator much distress since she is always looking at it. During her isolation, the narrator becomes obsessed with the wallpaper: I determine for the thousandth time that I will follow the pointless pattern to some sort of conclusion. The narrator did not believe isolation would cure her disorder. Social contact and outside stimulation was what she desired: I sometimes fancy that in my condition if I had less opposition and more society and more stimulus, but John says the worse thing I can do is think about my condition. She was cut off from society and forbidden to see her baby. It is not natural to be confined to little social contact for large amounts of time. To live without outside contact would be living against nature s way for man. To satisfy her social need, she invents a person she thinks she sees inside the wallpaper: I didn t realize for a long time what the thing was that dim sub pattern, but now I am quite sure it is a woman. The image of the woman is obviously a sign of the effects caused by prolonged isolation. Her hallucination becomes so vivid that she becomes involved with her character. The narrator began to free the woman from the wallpaper s pattern. Doing this in a frantic manner she starts ripping the wallpaper to shreds: I pulled and she shook, I shook and she pulled, and before morning we had peeled off yard of that paper. The negative qualities of the so called rehabilitation regiment caused her to go insane. Towards the end of the story, the narrator is delirious and constantly creeping around the room. When her husband goes to check on her, he finds her wife in a deranged state, creeping through the pieces of wallpaper, and faints: Now why should that man have fainted? But he did, and right across my path by the wall so that I had to creep over him every time! This treatment was issued without good intentions but does not bring about positive results. Gilman tries to show that according to her husband, the narrator continually brings great depression among herself. She also tries to show that lack of social exposure, physical restraints, and the ugly wallpaper caused this treatment, isolation, to be ineffective and harmful. I think, in this case, it made the narrator s illness worsens. In today s society, medical and psychological advice may have the same effect. Medical technology and practice have grown since the time of this short story, The Yellow Wallpaper . This is not to say that physicians today are infallible. Maybe even some of today s treatments are The Yellow Wallpaper of the future.