The story begins with the narrator writing in secret about her fancies and suspicions on her newly purchased estate before relenting that John, her husband and physician described as “practical to the extreme”, would laugh at her for such fancies. . She then notes that her hands are tied, that due to her husband’s credibility as a physician her own opinions on her condition are rendered invalid and concedes to her treatments, including being banned from writing among others. In order to avoid dwelling on her condition as John ordered her, she then begins to expand on the house, her description falling upon the yellow wallpaper in her bedroom that disturbs and repulses her wits sheer wrongness. She then ends her entry as John hates her writing .Two weeks pass and John refuses to “indulge” his wife by moving rooms as the wallpaper gives her distress, patronizing her. She goes on to describe the gardens but her attention is captured by the wall paper despite herself, irritating her with it’s disorderly bodily imagery and makes out a “sister” in the wallpaper. The entry picks up post-4th of July after a visit from family, the narrator notes that she is tired even though everything was handle by Jennie. in response to his wife’s worsening condition, john plans to send her to Weir Mitchell in the fall, something she sees as detrimental as the doctor is exactly like John. She notes her increased lethargy, uncontrollable crying as well as her compulsion to isolate herself. Once again she drifts to the subject of the wallpaper, finding a strange fondness for its intricacy and decoding its patterns, uncovering a world of her own which tires her. The next entry begins with her writing that she doesn’t know why she wants to write and that John loves her dearly. She recounts her encounter with John in which she futilely attempted to convince him to allow her to visit her cousins and ended up crying. John attempted to ‘comfort’ her calling her his darling and telling her that she must look after herself for his sake. She takes comfort in the fact that her child is not in bedroom with the wallpaper, finding a brighter side in that she doesn’t have to deal with the child in her current abode. SHe sees a woman in the wallpaper and retracts her prior statement, wishing John would take her away. Later, she communicates this to John who ultimately refuses her, dismissing her concerns. She begins to lose her temper but is immediately quelled by a lecture from John. Once again she finds herself lost in the wallpaper patterns, Her fixation has grown to the point of which she is bothered by John or Jennie even looking at the wallpaper, frightening Jennie and inwardly accusing her p studying the pattern, determined to decode the mysteries first. It takes over her life, smelling it, seeing it in her hair, and watching the wall woman move behind the pattern, eventually finding the woman outside every window, creeping along in daylight. This spirals to the point of which she ends up tearing away the wallpaper to “free” the woman, locking the door in her madness and immerses herself into the woman’s identity becoming her while John calls for her to open the door. Once he finally enters the room he is horrified by the scene before him, his wife declaring that she “got out at last” and he faints. She creeps over him.
The acute tension in this piece was the worsening condition of the narrator, her obsession with the wallpaper, her confinement to the manor and the dismissals of her husband.
The chronic tension was the control john exerted over his wife, the speaker’s depression, her disconnect from her child, and her overall feelings of being trapped
In the Yellow Wallpaper, we are given a chilling insight a woman’s descent into madness in the form of journal entries, a literary decision that frames the narrative in an introspective format that allows for a deeper exploration into the protagonist’s psyche.
In the first entry, the protagonist is smothered by the judgements of her husband and physician, John, and expresses her opinion in a swift admission with careful wording all around, reflecting how she takes care not to toe the line and neutral language.
“and perhaps -(I would not say it to a living soul, of course, but this is dead paper and a great relief to my mind -) perhaps that is one reason I do not get well faster.
In contrast, the descriptions of the wallpaper are dripping with mobid imagery and bold language, displaying the full extent of her revulsion and fascination burrowing past the quiet exterior from the start, and increasingly stands out against the simpler language as the story progresses. Another point of interest in this perspective is illustrated in each entry as she writes what affects her most, particular attention being paid to her conversations with John and his sometimes patronizing words of endearment. Her entries begin to decrease in size and awareness of the events regarding the yellow wallpaper begins to skew to the point of which she confronts jennie for simply touching the wall, accusing her of attempting to scry its secrets, secrets the speaker claims for herself with building ferocity until finally the she becomes the yellow wall paper itself, and her reality meshes with fantasy.
Another literary device the story integrated was the unstable power dynamic between the speaker and John. First, he has authority over her in the both the medical and domestic sense, which smothers the speaker as he continues to make decisions that determine her well-being like not allowing her to change rooms when the wallpaper unsettled her and placing her in a position of isolation with his dismissal of her requests to visit her cousins time and time again, these shows of power ironically serve as a catalyst of the power shift that takes place through the story as her obsession with the wallpaper grows with her abandoning her prior reservations along with her emotional restraint to the point of which she begins to rebel against his recommendations for her, snapping at him,locking doors daring to request more, and more with each refusal serving to increase her aggression until John is the one left banging at the door in the climax, horrified and her loss of control of herself leads to her freeing herself from any remnant of control he had left over her.
I would like to copy the surrealism of the imagery displayed in this piece, the author did an amazing job making the speaker seem completely convinced of her delusion along with the believable
Why do you think she really began to visualize the woman in the wall paper?
What do you think happened next? Did she run away?