Analysis of the Yellow Wallpaper (Essay Example)

  • Category: Books, Literature,
  • Words: 813 Pages: 3
  • Published: 30 March 2021
  • Copied: 187

In the “Yellow Wallpaper” the wife is kept locked away in her home by her narcissist husband. He believes her being ill will affect his own reputation. So the wife only has one option: she writes. She writes about her days and her nights stuck in the house, staring at this wallpaper she hates in a room she hates, all to please her selfish husband. Not only is her husband selfish, but slowly she turns selfish too. She keeps herself locked in this room and the longer she's in this room, the more she gets used to it, except for the wretched wallpaper. She deals with struggles within herself, her husband, and the wallpaper, pondering these thoughts all alone. And in her case alone is ideal.

The author writes the wife in many different ways. On one hand she would do anything for her husband and trusts him with her whole heart. But on the other hand she keeps secrets and has faith in herself without needing to talk to her husband about certain things. In Thomas J. Schoenberg’s Environment as Psychopathological Symbolism in The Yellow Wallpaper he writes about the husband's impact on the wife’s mental state. Then he writes “the narrator's prison-room is a nursery indicates her status in society. The woman is legally a child.” Which sums up exactly how the author of The Yellow Wallpaper writes the wife, except with writing the wife as a strong “child”.  She doesn’t leave the house due to her husband's wishes but then writes in her journal “I am too wise”, which shows she's believing in herself. She never truly loses her faith in herself despite her husband's vindictive personality. As written in Feminist Criticism, 'The Yellow Wallpaper,' and the Politics of Color in America, Lanser writes how The Yellow Wallpaper is “reconstructing female experience previously hidden or overlooked”. I agree with this statement because even with the wife’s  internal complex struggle between her self perception and her husband's perception of her, she still does everything she can to not lose sight of herself. The author does recronstunct feminism by pushing the internal struggle rather than the struggle of women having to deal with outside struggles against men. Lanser then writes again how “The narrator is torn asunder between her own personal feelings”. Lanser keeps the focus on the internal struggle in her essay about The Yellow Wallpaper and how no matter what “men cannot be a sole problem amongst conflicted women” (Lanser).

The room which the wife is locked in seems to come alive in her eyes. The wife writes of how the wallpaper is “torn and ugly”, she describes it using words like she uses to describe her husband and his sister. The more time alone in this room the more her perception changes. I believe it to be like how we spend more time with people in our life. The more time you spend around a loved one the closer you grow to them. You want to protect them and love them like no one else has. She is 100% in control. Schonberg then agrees with this statement by writing in his critical essay about how “As she grows increasingly fond of the wallpaper, the narrator realizes that it may well be the only part of her life she can control.” (Schoenberg) She has these feelings for the wallpaper. When she sees others in the room she writes of how she feels saying “no person touches this paper but me,- not alive!”. This is a powerful message. She wrote this with anger and possessiveness, almost how her husband views her and how he feels about her leaving the house. But in a Critical Essay on Descent and Return in The Yellow Wallpaper, the author, Quawas, Rula, writes how she believes that “John fails to understand the needs of his wife and even to consider the possibility that his wife's imagination could be a positive, healing force.” So even though the wife shows anger and intimidating emotions to those around her, on the inside she feels complete and happy. Which all ties back to her need to believe in herself since no one else does.

Furthermore the wallpaper has an astounding effect on the wife, just not in the way she hoped. She wanted to get better but instead her obsession drove her to get sicker. It forced her to face problems she didn’t want to and as written in a critical essay by Greg Johnson titled Critical Essay on Rage and Redemption in 'The Yellow Wallpaper' he writes how “The constant bargaining with her own demons” results in the sickness worsening and problems being too hard to push down. The room was her life since she was confined to those four walls. And in this “bed rest” she was given she clearly states “my husband just wants what's best for me”, even though she didn’t want that for herself. 

This short story goes in depth to show a psychologically affected woman who was left alone and turned to what she had; herself and a wallpaper. The events could have changed if her husband was more willing and less egotistical, and maybe if she was more accepting of her life and less obsessive over the….

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