The Writing Is On The Wall: They Yellow Wallpaper

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade October 2001

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When first reading Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper", the nature of the story doesn't appear to be a complicated one. The narrator tells of the house that her husband and she are occupying temporarily. As any good talkative housewife from the era, she explains that she thinks that the house is haunted, because of the cheap price. John, her husband, a vastly more sensible person than herself, doesn't agree with her assessment of the situation. This opposition: the narrator and her husband, is what "˜sets the stage' for one of the main conflicts of the story.

At first glance, the major conflict of the story appears to be between the narrator and her husband. She is a sickly woman, with problems that hinder her from doing anything more than write. John, her husband and physician, opposes her sickness and explains: ""¦there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression"¦" Her constant desire to experience something out of the ordinary, something that has nothing to do with her illness, is what fuels the blaze of the conflict between her and John.

The basis for an argument about her unwavering desire to experience new things came from a disagreement as to the location of the couple's bedroom. The physician, the logical, the sensible man, chooses the old nursery for her to recover her health in. His logic, as always, is simple, the room had more than one window, it's airy, and was big enough for two beds. But, the appearance of the room was not at all appealing to her: "It was a nursery flat"¦the windows are barred for little children"¦the paper (is stripped off) in great patches all around the head of my bed, about as far as I can reach"¦I never saw a...

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