Literature Essay The Yellow Wallpaper

This is the essay Luna Perez Muñiz and I made about The Yellow Wallpaper which was due to Saturday the 2nd.

In “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins it can be said that “madness” or “the loss of  sanity” is one of the most important and notorious themes of the story. We can see how both protagonists, the woman and his husband, start losing their minds in their own way and how they do not realize about their own insanity but about the other’s.

On the one hand, it can be said that the wife starts losing her sanity from the beginning of the story. She is diagnosed to be ill by her husband and to “cure” her she is isolated in a room from other people, including her child. There is when she starts imagining things with the wallpaper. This wallpaper and her isolation of course make her lose her mind more and more added to the fact that she feels very sad for her illness and for not being able to do anything she wanted (she couldn’t even write). A very important event happens in the story which shows a clear sign of this madness, which is when she starts seeing a woman in the yellow wallpaper. She sees her move and has mixed feelings about it, “It is like a woman stooping down and creeping about behind that pattern. I don’t like it a bit.” She is not thinking clearly at this point of the story because of the methods that were used to cure her. So she loses her senses.

But these methods used for her illness do not mean that John, her husband, is the villain of the story and is out of his senses too. He uses these methods because he thinks are the right thing for her. He is trying to help her but he does not know that what he is doing just makes her wife worse. This is curious because John the physician is the one who should be knowing what he is doing. But anyway, he also is the one who is not supposed to be mad, or even to faint at the end of the gothic story, when usually women are the ones in distress. But again, he is, and at the end of the story there is a scene that proves it. When the woman is totally calm is her room and John comes knocking and pounding very loud. “How he does call and pound!” The narrator is complaining about the noise John is making. “Now he’s crying for an axe.” Here we notice something is not the way it was in the mind of the husband. He has to be extremely desperate to be crying for an axe, but there was nothing strange happening inside the room. And also after she says that the key is on the outside beside the door, he knocks and shouts offhandedly. “”Open the door my darling!” […] “I can’t” said I “The key is down by the front door under a plantain leaf””. So if the key was downstairs, she was locked there, why would John want to come in and open the door if he wanted her inside? What has happened to him? These are clues that the author gives us readers to reflect about this last scene. It could be said that John lost his mind due to stress or excess of work,or just to play with the gothic and with the setting.


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