The Yellow Wallpaper
Student : Joyce Chen ³¯¶hªY 485220526
In the beginning of the story, the story tells us that its setting is about a old house in countryside. In page 246, there are some paragraphs about the surroundings. From them, we can feel that this house is far away from the other houses and inside there is a garden which might be deserted for years. What we should mention is there are "gates" and "lock". It says that this house s just like a prison!
Then, we take a look at the room that the narrator lives. It is a big, airy room and its windows are barred for little children. It seems normal, but those "bars" make this room more and more like a prison. Next, we see the wallpaper. Its color is repellent, almost revolting, and is a kind of unpleasant color - unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight. As to the patterns on it, they "confuse" the eye, "irritate", and "provoke" study. All of the signs there make us feel uncomfortable. That is why the narrator will lose herself on imaging this strange wallpaper and make the story goes on...to sum up, this setting is a closed, isolated and lonely place and arranged for John to "imprison" his wife.
These story talks about a wife who has a post-partum depression so her husband, John, arranges her to live in another place as her "therapy". Then, she goes there for three weeks and she lives with her husband's sister and her baby. John often can't stay with her if he has serious cases. In the beginning, the wife she felt this house is strange for her, but her husband don't believe it. As the time goes by, she never gets better because she can't get along with others and write. She feels that there is something terrible and not normal in the patterns of the wallpaper. Sometimes, she can see that there are eyes, and sometimes she sees a woman! She starts to observe her activities and she tries to help her. At that time, she doesn't want to leave this room and she peels off the paper in order to help that woman to come out. Then, she sees that that woman creeps. She locks herself in her room and creeps just like that woman does. After her husband arrives, he opens the door and then, he sees what she does in her own room. He faints to the ground and she creeps over his body...
I think that in this story there are three main characters to analyze. The most important is the relationship between the wife and her husband, John. John plays an important role in this story. It's obvious that he is a typical traditional husband. Why do I feel that? First, he seems to love her wife deeply because he "sacrifices" his heavy business to help her. Actually, he often leaves his wife along in the house. He calls his wife "little goose" so it reflects that he regards her just like a little girl. It also means that she can't have her "own" opinions, she can't neglect her husband's willing, especially for his prescription because he is a "professional", "highly respected" doctor in his field. At that age, he is right. As to the narrator, her personality changes in the process of the story. In the beginning, she follows and agrees her husband's arrangement for her; even she doesn't think so in her heart. She might be a social and open person, but she has to press her real thoughts and real feelings down. After she arrives the house, she gets alone frequently. She is forbidden to write and having social life with others. In this way. she loses the only way to express her feelings and she becomes have many illusions about that "strange" wallpaper. She can't stop her thinking and frightening about the illusions so she tells to her husband. For so many times, John refuses to believe her words. That lets her to get worse and worse. Then, she finds a woman; I think that is the reflection of the wife. The woman is tripped in wallpaper, just as the narrator is tripped in this isolated and closed house. She helps the woman to come out. That is "she" who really wants to live this terrible place. In other's point of view, she might be crazy, but in fact she becomes more and more independent. She has the courage to change the situation, in her way.
John's sister is just like a "jailer" in this "prison". Her job is keeping watching at her and regulates her life.
Theme and point of view
This entire story is talking about the relationship between the husband and the wife. According to the background of this story, it happened in early 19th century. At that time, the husband is the most powerful person in the family and in the marriage. As to this story, John is the example. He has done many things for his wife, but those efforts are based on the material side. He never wants to really considerate his wife's feeling inside; even he is a physician! After I have read this story, I feel that John regards his wife as a "canary" - put in the elegant, expansive place. She needn't to have her own thoughts and her feelings are not "important". (At least, not as important as her husband's) This story is from the first person point of view so we can see the world of the narrator clearly. Under such heavy physical and mental pressure, she changes. Finally, she gets out of the "prison", even in a tragical way.