John in the Yellow Wallpaper

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When studying literature, a reader will occasionally come upon a story that cannot be taken at face value. The meanings of these stories are complex and must be thoroughly analyzed before making rash judgments. The same must be done for the characters of the stories. In order for readers to truly understand what these individuals are feeling and thinking, it is important to put one's self in their situation. The story "The Yellow Wallpaper" is a tale of a sick woman and her husband, John, which have just moved into a new house. As the plot progresses, it is easy to judge the way the two interact and treat each other. It is important to study John's behavior to actually understand what he is going through and how he is dealing with it. In "The Yellow Wallpaper," author Charlotte Perkins Gilman exposes audiences to the character of John by focusing on his strict words and actions. Upon analyzing this individual more thoroughly, readers may find a better understanding of who John is and why he acts the way he does.

Gilman's story is an emotional tale of a woman that is obviously afflicted by a mental illness. The audience witnesses the progression of her illness as her husband sits by and seemingly refuses to admit it is anything more than "temporary nervous depression" (Gilman 158). One is led to believe that John is neglecting his wife simply by the things he says. In one definition, the Encarta Dictionary describes "treatment" as "the particular way in which somebody or something is dealt with or handled" ("treatment"). In the time period during which "The Yellow Wallpaper" was written, it was very common to use a "wait and see" approach with many afflictions. Early in the text, John refers to his wife as a "little girl." Just by listening to his words, the audience can easily presume that John feels as though he is taking care of a little girl. Many times in the case of mental illness patients, clear connections can be made to the taking care of a young child....
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