The Yellow Wallpaper: the Main Character and Cry for Freedom

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"The Yellow Wallpaper": The Main Character and Cry for Freedom

By Charles Lyons
Mrs. Carolyn Wood

The short story "The Yellow Wall-Paper" written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a cry for freedom. This story is about a woman who fights for her right to express what she feels, and fights for her right to do what she wants to do. The narrator in this short story is a woman whose husband loves her very much, but oppresses her to the point where she cannot take it anymore. This story revolves around the main character, her oppressed life, and her search for freedom.

There are many male influences in this woman's life and although they may mean no harm, push her over the edge. The main character's husband, John, and her brother are well-known physicians. They use their power to control the main character, perhaps subconsciously, to feel what they think a woman should feel. For example, the woman tells the men she is sick but they believe differently. "John is a physician, and perhaps- (I would not say it to a living soul, of course, but this is dead paper and a great relief to my mind-) perhaps that is one reason I do not get well faster. You see he does not believe I am sick!"(507) The men are under the impression that what they say goes and therefore the woman has no choice but to follow. "He knows there is no reason to suffer and that satisfies him."(508) This quote illustrates that the men are in control. If they strongly believe nothing is wrong, then nothing must be wrong. It is a feeling of self satisfaction the men feel when they are superior to the woman.

The main character knows John loves her, but it is the oppression she feels that bothers her so. Her husband expresses his love for her but at the same time imposes his will on her. He hinders her from having her own thoughts. "…He is very careful and loving, and hardly lets me stir without special direction…"(507) The last few words of this quote show how John did...
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