Advance English VU
16 October 2014
Character Analysis – Narrator (The Yellow Wallpaper)
The narrator of “The Yellow Wallpaper” is a paradox: as she loses touch with the outer world, she comes to a greater understanding of the inner reality of her life. This inner/outer split is crucial to understanding the nature of the narrator’s suffering, more specifically her deaerating mental state, and unwilling to be social or deal with relationships. At every point, she is faced with relationships, objects, and situations that seem innocent and natural, but that are actually quite bizarre and even oppressive. The whole story of “The Yellow Wallpaper” is really just the narrator’s attempt to avoid acknowledging the extent to which her external situation stifles her inner impulses. From the beginning, we see that the narrator is an imaginative and highly expressive woman. She remembers terrifying herself with imaginary nighttime monsters as a child, and she enjoys the notion that the house they have taken is haunted. Yet as part of her “cure,” her husband forbids her to exercise her imagination in any way, especially with not letting her write even though she feels it is therapeutic, she makes sure no one is around when she is about to do something that she believes John will not approve of her doing. Both her reason and her emotions rebel at this treatment, and she turns her imagination onto seemingly neutral objects—the house and the wallpaper—in an attempt to ignore her growing frustration. Her negative feelings color her description of her surroundings, making them seem uncanny and sinister, and she becomes more and more fixated on the wallpaper. As the narrator sinks further into her inner fascination with the wallpaper, she becomes progressively more dissociated from her day-to-day life. This process of dissociation begins when the story does, at the very moment she decides to keep a secret diary as “a relief to her mind.” From...
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