Journal#5 Carol Lin
The yellow wallpaper
Through the self-description of this female narrator, it presents that she is different from her husband. The female narrator is more sensitive while her husband is sensible. She observes the surroundings very carefully and imagines many possibilities of things she sees. Her husband will laugh at her fantasy and try to pull her back to reality. "John is practical in the extreme. He has no patience with faith, an intense horror of superstition, and he scoffs openly at any talk of things not to be felt and seen and put down in figures."
As a pair of wife and husband and also a pair of patient and doctor, the unequal relationship between them is quite understandable. The female narrator shows a weak and passive attitude, which is held by traditional women. And her husband gives us a strong figure for he is a man and a doctor. The husband is patronizing and caring his wife in his own way. The wife dares not against her husband and obeys his will apparently. "I began, and stopped short, for he sat up straight and looked at me with such a stern, reproachful look that I could not say another word." "So I take pains to control myself-before him, at least, and that makes me very tired."
The physician-husband cures his wife by so-called "rest cure", which is used to cure patients with depression or mental problems. But actually we know that the wife doesn't agree with his treatment. She thinks she needs pleasant work, with excitement and change, and care from her husband. In fact, "rest cure' isn't proper to postpartum depression patients or any other similar kind of ones. It neglects the equal importance of physical and mental conditions of a patient. This could lead to a serious consequence like what happens in this story.
Since the female can't outlet her depression and the pressure from her husband, she starts to reflect her real desire into an imaginary figure, which is a woman who is also stuck within a wall. The wall (or the wallpaper) is the symbol of a constraint of traditional society, marriage, and maybe patriarchal literature and the creeping woman is her self-projection. She really wants to find a way out in this world control by men. But after struggling in vain, she goes crazy. It's only in her madness that she can creeps out her limits and get free. She isn't able to face the danger or reality. It's easier to hind behind the pattern. (the protection of family and the way she's used to be)
For we women, this story does provide lots to think. Do we depend on men too much? Does the society look lower of women in many respects? We should be aware now to recognize our roles and make the most of our ability. I don't believe there is any woman wanting to be locked behind limits, no matter what kind of limit it is. So I hope no more yellow wallpaper exists in the world and women can walk straight like any other man, not creeping.