Yellow the Color of Madness

Yellow the Color of Madness

Yellow, the color of madness The main character in Charlotte P. Gilman’s short story “The Yellow Wallpaper”, narrates her own life and describes her struggle with depression which by the end of the story evolved into insanity. Narrator’s husband, John, treats her like a small child, forbids her to express herself, and keeps her bound to restricted room. Due to her husbands actions she becomes physically, emotionally and socially isolated, which ultimately made her insane. “The Yellow Wallpaper” begins with the arrival of narrator, her husband John, their new born baby, and her sister-in-law to summer house which John have rented.

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The narrator is suffering from post-partum depression, and the summer house will serve, according to her husband, as a place for her to get better. She describes it in romantic terms as an aristocratic estate or even a haunted house and wonders how they were able to afford it, and why the house had been empty for so long. Her feeling that there is “something queer” about the situation leads her into a discussion of her illness—she is suffering from “nervous depression”—and of her marriage n 18th century illnesses, such as depression, were not existent or discovered.

In this case, our main character, who is also a narrator of the story, suffers from “temporary nervous depression”(p. 54) in 18th century. Her condition becomes more severe due to isolation that was made to her. The narrator’s husband, who is a doctor, believes that treatment of solitude will do her good. “He said we came here solely on my account; that I was to have perfect rest and all the air I could get” (p. 155). At first the narrator seems to be loving the idea of being away from home, but that changes once they arrive in mansion which they rented. No wonder the children hated it! I should hate it myself if I had to live in this room long” (p. 156). John, the narrator’s husband has chosen upon a room, for the two of them, that is surrounded with physical restrictions, which cause her to go slightly mad. Another elements, that causes her illness to progress, is her inability to express herself. “I did write for a while in spite of them; but it does exhaust me a good deal-having to be so sly about it or else meet with heavy opposition” (p. 154).

In cases like this, having a journal and writing feelings down on a peace of paper, would have positive effects on mental stage on individual such as our main character. The woman’s writing is one of the only things that causes her a great sense of relief, unfortunately, her husband’s restrictions do not let he work, write or tell him how she feels. The narrator and her husband’s relationship becomes distorted, for example, every time the narrator wish to tell her husband how she truly feels, he talks to her like a child. What is it, little girl? ”(p. 162) or “Bless her little heart! ”(p. 162). He makes her feel inferior when he speaks to her in child like manner. Along with physical and emotional isolation, the narrator is also socially isolated. “I tried to have a real earnest reasonable talk with him the other day, and tell him how I wish 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”(The Yellow Wallpaper, Gilman. P. Charlote, p. 160-161).

John’s further limitations on what his wife can or cannot do is penetrating her mind, causing her to cry and become very frustrated, even causing her mind to have difficulties in thinking clearly. “I lie here on this great immovable bed-it is nailed down, I believe- and follow that pattern by the hour. It is good as gymnastic, I assure you. ” (p. 159-160). The narrator becomes more lonely and isolated and her condition is worsening, because she is in the room day in and day out, with nothing to comfort and entertain her but the wallpaper. I ll start, we’ll say, at the bottom, down in the corner over there where it has not been touched, and I determine for the thousandth time that I will follow that pointless pattern to some sort of conclusion” (The Yellow Wallpaper, Gilman. P. Charlote, p. 160) By following a pattern on a yellow wallpaper her mind slowly develops illusion that there is a woman behind the wallpaper that wants to be freed. “I really have discovered something at last. Through watching so much at night, when it changes so, I have finally found out. The front pattern does move-and no wonder! The woman behind shakes it! ” (The Yellow Wallpaper, Gilman.

P. Charlote, p. 165) The woman that she is seeing behind wallpaper is, her alter ego, trapped just like her. In her final act of insanity, the narrator decide it is time to tear down the wallpaper and free the woman behind it. By doing so, she is finally being out of reach from her husband’s restrictions. In the story “The Yellow Wallpaper”, the narrator of the story is driven into insanity by her husband’s actions. All husband’s efforts to try to repress, confine, and treat her like a child, have been proven to be a leading cause in the narrator’s sufferings, as opposed to her successful recovery.

In spectrum of her’s behaviors she creates an alter ego, the woman behind the wallpaper that is freed at the end of the story. That was her final triumph, by tearing up the wallpaper she was finally able to express her feelings and liberate her self from her husbands controlling actions. Work cited: Oates J. Carol, ed. “The Oxford book of American Short Stories. ” Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. Gilman P. Charlote. “The Yellow Wallpaper”. Oates 153-169.


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