Yellow Wallpaper Essay, Research Paper
In the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper”, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman; a central conflict centers between the narrator and her husband, John. The husband uses his power as a doctor to control her; he forces her to behave how he thinks a sick woman should. The husband can be seen as a father figure who overprotects her and makes decisions for her.
The woman 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. John took her to a summer home and placed her in a room upstairs. He then instructs her to rest and not to do any writing. John’s views as a doctor forbid any type of activity, even writing, for he feels it will only worsen her already fragile condition. The woman believes she would feel better if she could write: “Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good” (470). The woman did not like the room that John put her in: “I 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 hangings! But John would not hear of it” (470).
The woman never had any freedom because John was always there to supervise. An example of this treatment can be seen in the following quote:
“ 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 wished he would let me go and make a visit to Cousin Henry and Julia. But he said I wasn’t able to go, nor able to stand it after I got there” (474). John doesn’t know how his wife
feels; he just imposes his ways on her and expects her to go along with it.
Being controlled by her husband the woman turns to the only things she can control, her mind. She becomes intrigued with the patterns in the wallpaper in her room, which is more like a cell than a room. She begins to see patterns in the wallpaper; she is obsessed with trying to find what the pattern is about and what meaning it holds. Being in the room all day, not being allowed to go out, she had all the time in the world to think about the pattern in the wallpaper. She makes a conclusion that the wall symbolizes a woman behind a cell. During the daytime, she sees the woman in the wallpaper creeping up and down the long shaded lane. She also sees the woman creeping in the garden. Much similar to what the woman in the wallpaper does, the main character creeps: “I always lock the door when I creep by daylight” (479). In the end, she rips up the wallpaper to help the woman in the wall become free; in reality she is freeing herself from her husband. “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!” (481)
Forbidden to write or think, given a set schedule, and treated like a child; the woman becomes unstable. She obsesses about the yellow wallpaper, in which she sees frightful patterns and an imprisoned female figure trying to escape. The woman finally escapes from her controlling husband in a final rage of insanity as she peels the wallpaper off and locks her husband out of the room.
Essay on the central conflict in the yellow wallpaper