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The Yellow Wall-Paper; 10/12

The Yellow Wall-paper was a refreshing yet eerie form of reading that calls for imagination and an extent of suspension of disbelief to connect to the narrator. Her husband, John, is a physician and he says she has nervous depression and he prevents her from doing any work or interacting with too many people. She journals her thoughts and feelings which she has to hide from everyone because they don’t like her wasting energy and she does not want to show her true feelings to anyone. The division of gender, especially within marriage, is very prevalent within this story. John forbids her from doing any sort of work and never really allows her to do activities or things to stimulate her mind to help her get better. He convinces her and himself that he knows what is best for her and suppresses any of her fantasies or freedom of thought. This causes her to fall back into her own secret fantasy world where she obsesses over the yellow wallpaper and what she thinks may be behind it. This is where she finds her own control and thoughts that she keeps hidden from her husband’s judgement and patronizing. 

I thought an interesting metaphor throughout the story was the shadows and stains on the wall that she thought looked like a woman trying to creep out was actually herself being constrained from her imagination and true feelings. Her insanity at the end of the story is a result of her being repressed from any creativity or imagination. She is forced to make it seem as if she is getting better and is grateful for her marriage when in reality it is making her more sick. This connects to the traditional role of women in marriage and in society. Women are supposed to suppress any emotional or creative outlet and to fall subordinate to the husband or men in society. They were expected to do all of the easy work of taking care of the house and children which was supposed to leave her no time for herself.

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  1. Julia Borger Julia Borger

    I also thought the metaphor of the shadows of a woman trying to escape the wallpaper being the narrator herself, very creative as well. It does a great job portraying the idea of women being “trapped” in this type of society. I thought it was especially interesting that the wall paper was in the nursery room of the house, where the women would usually spend all their time nursing their children, as that is their place and expected job in the household.

  2. Kayla O'Connell Kayla O'Connell

    The fact that she journaled all of her thoughts, yet hid them whenever she wasn’t alone is also interesting. This highlights the fact that she was never truly herself in front of others. She had to put on an act in order to please her husband and others. Not only does this highlight relationships during this time period, but also highlights the lack of attention towards mental health.

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