Ameen KingProfessor CavagnaroEnglish 1202February 7th, 2018Jane’s Sanity Generally most people are very similar in their reaction to society. In most cases majority of people are sane and follow a common way of thinking based on the society they live in. This “way of thinking” changes overtime as the years come and go.
Each decade, century or year comes with its pros and cons. In the short story ” The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the author depicts the transition of the narrator’s psyche throughout the story. The ways she goes from seemingly being an imaginative sane woman to the disaster she appears to be in the end are all directly related to her situation and the people who she interacts with in her life. Specifically her relationship with her husband negatively affects her state of mind. The story starts of with the narrator telling the reader how John (her husband) and herself are living in a house for the summer and how that was quite odd to her. Her interactions and situatiation with her husband seem to be the main catalyst to her apparent insanity towards the end. The narrator self-diagnosed herself as being ill.
Her husband disagrees and think it is not that serious. “John is a physician, and perhaps……that is the reason I do not get well faster You see John does not believe I am sick!” (526). This leads the bulk of the narrator’s trouble. As the average person would do, she holds her husband’s words to a higher standard because of his title as a doctor and as her husband.
With both of these titles one would expect that the husband just wants the best for her, so why challenge his words. “What is one to do” (536), the narrator says acknowledging her husband’s credentials. The beginning of this story establishes the narrator’s position in the relationship, that she is not the the authority. Essentially this shows the reader that she is very passive when it comes to the things she cares about. She does not challenge her husband and makes no further attempt to get her point across, at least not out in the open. Certain action throughout the story act as catalyst for the narrator. For example we see the narrator in the beginning very passive and non-confrontational.
She starts to write in a journal, this action is a key development in the story. “Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good” (527) . This shows that she is beginning to oppose her husband’s wishes. The husband in the story acts as a villain in the narrators eyes, constantly shutting her down. Their interactions shoes us how their marriage must be like, very one-sided. Deep down she knows that she deserves her freedom. The ability to do more, and to have her words hold more weight in their conversations.
Another interaction that is shown in the story is how the narrator interacts and behaves in the room she is exiled to. Being cooped up in one room anyone in the right mind would believe is not beneficial to one’s state of mind. She goes from simply writing in her journal to having a fixation on the wallpaper in the room. A simple yellow wallpaper which she seems to deem has a odd pattern on it. Soon this pattern comes to dominate her thoughts. “Life is very much more exciting now than it used to be. You see I have something more to expect, to look forward to, to watch.
I really do eat better, and am more quiet than I was” (533). This is a critical point in the story that shows her loss of sanity. The wall-paper has become the central topic of the story. It is all she can think about, this shows how her mental state has finally deteriorated. The narrator becomes “secretive” about her thoughts on the wall, not sharing it with the others. Jennie, the housekeeper and John’s sister, is in the room and the narrator comments on how she found yellow stains on their clothing. The others conclude that she is getting better but a simple analysis of the situation it can be known that she is in fact getting worse.
This effectively gets worse over time with the wallpaper dominating her thought process there is no room for growth, she will not be able to get better. This mental change is truly apparent when the narrator starts to see a figure in the wallpaper. This is the pattern that she thinks she was seeing, to her it resembles a women. She becomes possessive of her findings and when she thinks the others have found out about the women she decides to destroy the wallpaper. What actions bring out important traits of the character? To what degree is the character creating or just responding to events? What are the traits of each character? How do they interact with one another? Are these traits strengths? Weaknesses? How does that affect the plot? What do the characters do, say, or think to give you insight into their characters? What do the characters say or think about themselves? What does the narrator say? How valid are the comments and insights? Analyze the relationships and how it affects the character(s).Work CitedPerkins Stetson, Charlotte. “The Yellow Wall-Paper”.
The Norton Introduction to Literature, edited by Kelly J. Mays, shorter 12th ed., W. W. Norton, 2017, pp. 526-536.