The Yellow Wallpaper Characters

The Yellow Wallpaper Characters

In the short story created originally by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper”, the female narrator intentionally unnamed, the main character, is driven to an unstable neurologic state of mind. Ironically, the narrator’s husband John, a credible physician whose honest intentions are to rehabilitate the woman, finally provoking her to the edge of insanity. As the story plot continues the narrator’s nervousness intensifies so insidious.

The Yellow Wallpaper Narrator

The narrator can best be described as a round character, that lacks the ability to express her personal opinions, and which struggles to exert self-control over her situation. The relationship with her husband the protagonist starts as been stable, but believes John, as a physician is often unable to understand her actual mental condition. To add to her struggles, his brother also a physician and Jennie her sister in law, both play a flat characters whom are supportive towards the narrator, although believed by the woman, are not unable to comprehend her situation and add to the conflict.

According to Linda Wagner-Martin in the article “The Yellow Wallpaper: Overview,” she describes the relationship between John and the narrator, as a father and daughter relationship stating; “His wife is the child, and she doesn’t know even the simplest things about what ails her. ” (Wagner-Martin par. 3) This indicates how the woman to a certain level felt imprisoned her family. In addition to her family, the woman also faces other struggles including the unpleasant wallpaper, which feeds to the raising action.

The Yellow Wallpaper Main Character

Although, the narrator becomes fond of many aspects of the rented home including the “delicious garden”, (Gilman page 548) she cannot seem to ignore the provoking wall pattern that lies in her upstairs bedroom. As a result, the woman secretly writes her thoughts on paper, and begins to acknowledge that there is something intriguing about the wallpaper. The day becomes night, and the night becomes day, the woman’s mask becomes replaced. As her mental illness becomes more apparent, the tone of the narrator is one of obsession. While at night when her illusions become ever ore compelling towards the wallpaper, and the urged to find the hidden mystery lying behind the pointless paper has never been more intrigued, her focus shifts from reality to solitary. As a result from many limitations placed by John including her hobby for writing, the narrator is not able to relief her stress, ultimately leading her to a crisis. What before seemed to be boring pointless pattern, now became a living mystery waiting to be solved. Furthermore, the woman begins to suspect of John and Jennie saying, “He seems very queer sometimes, and even Jennie has an inexplicable look. (Gilman page 554) These shows that the narrator mental illness has exacerbate. At the reached of the story’s climax the main character has a startling revelation, she is convinced that not only was the pattern moving, but also waiting for the right opportunity to escape was a trapped female! The narrator has seen the women creep before many times. Sometimes the woman wants to help her escape. So, when the unfortunate women begin to make the escape the narrator desperately tries to help, “I pulled and she shook. I shook and she pulled, and before morning we had peeled off yards of that paper. (Gilman page 557) In reflect to Wagner-Martin in the article “The Yellow Wallpaper: Overview,” she explains how the narrator unconsciously creates an illusion of her self representing the struggles she faces against John, and how she feels suffocated under his control. (Wagner-Martin par. 6) Finally the scene, in which the narrator mask is dropped, I believed is found towards the end of the story, “fainted… and right across my path by the wall, so that I had to creep him every time! ” (Gilman page 559) This ending could have many interpretations, but I believe at that very moment the narrator has encounter a state of mental relief.

What I found to be an important in the story is when the narrator describes the wallpaper pattern, as been “round and around and around…” (Gilman page 559) Deborah Evans in her critical essay “Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Overview” furthermore explains how the narrator feels encircle with no escape from the gripping pattern that holds her trapped. (Evans par. 5) Throughout the plot the author of the story “The Yellow Wallpaper” intentionally leaves many unfilled blanks for the creative mind to explain and explore. From the narrator’s perspective I found a hidden character that was anxious to reclaim independence.

Works Cited

Evans, Deborah. “Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Overview. ” Feminist Writers. Ed. Pamela Kester-Shelton. Detroit: St. James Press, 1996. Literature Resource Center. Web. 21 Dec. 2012.

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. “The Yellow Wallpaper. ” Literature The Human Experience. 10th Edition. Boston, New Work: BEDFORD/ST. MARTIN’S, 2012. 547-559. Print.

Wagner-Martin, Linda. “The Yellow Wallpaper: Overview. ” Reference Guide to Short Fiction. Ed. Noelle Watson. Detroit: St. James Press, 1994. Literature Resource Center. Web. 21 Dec. 2012.

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