The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

1348 Words 6 Pages
During the time when Gilman was growing up, women had defined domestic roles and their husbands were the dominating force. In turn, there were women who gained a voice and defied the oppressive male community; one of those voices being Gilman’s. Locked away in a mental and physical prison of her husband’s machination, the protagonist of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper is the embodiment of the struggles faced by women seeking freedom from the restraints placed upon them by men. The narrator remains nameless throughout the story in order to depict the wife as a figurative representation of women in society; women were treated lesser than that of males. In the story, this nameless woman is the wife of a “physician of high …show more content…
In this story, the word “physician” is used a great deal, symbolizing the authority granted to him because he carries the ‘all-so-mighty’ physician’s license. Due to the years of schooling and a male dominated occupation, he is the judge and decision maker. Furthermore, being the physician of high standing, John attempts to treat the wife through “phosphates or phosphites—whichever it is, and tonics, and journeys, and air, and exercise, and [is] absolutely forbidden to “work” until [she] is well again” (1). Of course, he is not a wronged husband for attempting to nurse his wife with that treatment; but he is wrong for being ignorant of his wife’s situation. John does not understand how serious and destructive his wife’s condition is and dismisses it accordingly as “temporary nervous depression—a slight hysterical tendency” (1). What he thinks is hysteria, is actually something more serious than that, which is now dubbed ‘postpartum depression.’ Very ironic indeed, as “John is away all day, and even some nights when his cases are serious [at the hospital]” (3). This abandonment substantiates John’s ignorance of his wife’s condition as it implies the purposeful avoidance of his wife’s circumstances. As one would think, John is a very arrogant man. He has an exaggerated sense in his abilities as a physician

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