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The Yellow Wallpaper ORIGINAL THESIS

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The Yellow Wallpaper ORIGINAL THESIS

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  • October 27, 2004
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In the story "The Yellow Wall-Paper", by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, readers watch a woman as she descends into madness. The first time I read this story nothing more occurred to me than a woman with a mental condition finally lost it. Now that I have dug deep into the story I realized there is absolutely nothing wrong with the woman, except her husband. As a direct result of the way he treated her and constantly belittled her, out of loneliness and desperation she ended up going insane.

The story begins with the couple moving into a summer house. From the very beginning the main character was not all that fond of the house, but as will be explained later, her feelings were inconsequential. As the narrator describes the house, in one of her journal entries, this is also where she begins to refer to herself as being "sick".

The narrators husband John first demonstrated his insensitivity to his wives's feelings as they were moving in the house. While selecting a bedroom, she had wanted one downstairs. "I don't like our room a bit. I wanted one downstairs that opened on the piazza and had roses all over the window, and such pretty old-fashioned chintz hangings! But wall paper and slept on a bed that was nailed to the floor.

Through out this story there are constant references to her "condition". The narrator often speaks about how she must get better. All of this is a result of the isolation she feels on both a physical and emotional level. John spends a lot of time outside the house, the little time he is home, John doesn't't have much to do with his wife. Although there is someone home during the day with her, all she really needs is a caring and loving husband.

The narrator makes numerous attempts to talk to her husband, and at no time through the story does he actually open up and listen. An example of this, "I thought it was a good time to talk, so I told him that I really was not gaining here, and that I wished he would take me away." Instead of...