The Yellow Wall Paper
Why does Gilman make both the narrator’s brother and her husband doctors? (Use “Why I Wrote ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’” in your answer). Might the narrator actually be physically ill? Reading “Why I Wrote ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’” I came to feel that Gilman made both the narrator’s brother and husband doctors to make point that men in general were the dominant species. Having both men as doctors shows that men had the well established careers, knowledge, authority, and the women were meant to be submissive and domesticated.
Men were the doctors who told women “live as domestic a life as far as possible,” to “have but two hours’ intellectual life a day”. Gilman showed that the narrator’s true illness was mental illness and letting man have power over her thoughts, actions and life as she once did. 4. How does the changing description of the wallpaper reflect the narrator’s changing character? The narrator’s description of the wallpaper reflects the different stages of her progressing mental illness.
In the beginning the narrator still had quite a grasp on reality and just did not prefer the color, pattern or condition of the wallpaper. She then starts picking apart every aspect of the wallpaper to the point of obsession which is her picking apart the details of her own life. She really starts getting sucked into her illness when she starts describing the woman trapped behind the wallpaper as she is trapped not only in life but in her mind as well. She gets progressively worse when she believes the woman behind the wallpaper is helping her tear down the wallpaper so they both can escape.
When she finally goes off the deep end is when the description of the wall paper stops. There is no more wallpaper or woman trapped behind it just the narrator lost in her own mind. 5. By the final section of the story, what is the narrator’s relationship to her husband? To Jennie? To the wallpaper? How has the narrator’s perspective changed from the start of the story? What change to do we see in her actions? By the final section of the story the narrator’s relationship to her husband, Jennie, and the wallpaper had greatly changed.
In the beginning the narrator would talk about how her husband cared for her and loved her but at the end she says he “…pretended to be very loving and kind”. Jennie was talked about in the beginning as being “such a dear girl” but as we get closer to the end the narrator thinks that Jennie and John are secretly trying to get the woman out of the wallpaper themselves by studying the pattern. The narrator’s obsession over the wallpaper in the end drove her to madness but at the same time freed her.