The Yellow Wallpaper: An Argumentative Essay on Why the Narrator Would Have Gone Insane Eventually Without Treatment
In the story “The Yellow Wallpaper”, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the narrator speaks in first person. She is also the protagonist of the story and is diagnosed with temporary nervous depression, which is actually postpartum depression. The setting is in the country around the early 1900's. The house they are renting is a colonial mansion that has not all been kept up. She is a very repressed woman by very domineering her husband. She spends most of her time in her bedroom where there is hideous yellowing wallpaper that becomes her primary focus and is the ultimate cause of her insanity in the end. I believe, however that she would have ultimately succumbed to insanity in the end due to the fact that she had a family who didn’t take her illness seriously and her only outlet to coping with her life, writing, had been forbidden. In the end, the wallpaper became her constant source of fixation and allowed her freedom of sorts.
First, she had a husband, John, whose total control in his dual role as husband and doctor to the narrator. John is absolutely certain of what is best for his wife that he dismisses her viewpoint in a patronizing manner forcing her to remain silent when she tries to show any sort of opposition to him. He calls her “a blessed little goose” (Gillman, 1899) and is dismissive of her smallest wishes, such as when he will not move the family to the downstairs bedroom because he did not want to give way to her “fancies.” Further, his dry, clinical rationality renders him uniquely unsuited to understand his imaginative wife. John knows his wife in a superficial way. His intent was not to bring her harm, but his refusal to see that she was truly ill by treating her as a “case” or a “wife” and not as an individual, he helps destroy her and ultimately proved to be dangerous.
Secondly, the narrator was a...