Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s classic short story, "The Yellow Wallpaper" tells the story of a young woman’s gradual descent into psychosis. In Paula Treichler's article Escaping the Sentence: Diagnosis and Discourse in The Yellow Wallpaper, Treichler argues that John's diagnosis serves a restraint on the narrator's behavior. In The Yellow Wallpaper, the male influences of John, and the narrator's brother dictate her diagnosis and situation. In "The Yellow Wallpaper," what is the relationship between the narrator and her husband? From "The Yellow Wallpaper," why does John faint? "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, published 1892 in The New England Magazine. Accordingly, the wallpaper develops its symbolism throughout the story. Vergona believes that John's treatment of the narrator, including his refusal to remove the yellow agitated the narrator's mental illness. Treichler says, "As she steps over the patriarchal body, she leaves the authoritative voice of diagnosis in shambles at her feet. What is the central theme or the main theme of "The Yellow Wallpaper?". John dismissed the narrator's concerns as women's speech. As a woman the narrator is powerless over her condition. She takes on the role of two characters. At the time, it was believed that if a woman exercised her brain too much, her blood would rush there, away from her reproductive organs, and this would throw her bodily functions off-balance. John, the narrator's physician husband, describes her mental illness as "temporary nervous depression" but she feels her illness is more serious. The narrator is not allowed to do anything under the "rest cure" pioneered by Weir Mitchell, the doctor referenced in the story. Here the narrator suggests that her illness is more serious than "temporary nervous depression", but she feels powerless because of John's public diagnosis. While reading The Yellow Wallpaper it becomes apparent that John's treatment of the narrator is not working. When she tries to explain to him how she feels, he makes light of her thoughts, obviously convinced that, because he is a physician, he knows what's... (The entire section contains 3 answers and 685 words.). 61–77. I agree with both interpretations of Gilman's work. John doesn't give the narrator any control over the treatment of her illness. Because they were thought to have delicate bodies and sensitive minds, women were thought to be extremely susceptible to any disorder that could affect their emotional state. Despite the narrator's pleas, that she has a more serious illness, John refuses to alter his course of treatment. The narrator describes the yellow wallpaper like a painting, she writes "Looked at in one way each breadth stands alone, the bloated curves and flourishes, a kind of 'debased Romanesque' with delirium tremens- go waddling up and down in isolated columns of fatuity"(Gilman). It is regarded as an important early work of American feminist literature for its illustration of the attitudes towards mental and physical health of women in the 19th century. eNotes.com will help you with any book or any question. John discourages the narrator from speaking and thinking of her illness. The wallpaper makes the narrator feel uncomfortable, but as a male authority figure John has the final say over the wallpaper. Treichler says, “I use ‘diagnosis,’ then as a metaphor for the voice of medicine or science that speaks to define a women’s condition.” In the late 1800s, when The Yellow Wallpaper takes place, men controlled the institutions of science and medicine. Can we believe everything that she says? According to Treichler's article Escaping the Sentence: Diagnosis and Discourse in The Yellow Wallpaper, the yellow wallpaper is a metaphor for women's speech. In "The Yellow Wallpaper," is the narrator reliable or unreliable? Named because of their connection to the nerves, or emotions, the nervous diseases were particularly common among women. John's treatment and diagnosis may have worsened the narrator's condition. Who are the experts?Our certified Educators are real professors, teachers, and scholars who use their academic expertise to tackle your toughest questions. eNotes.com will help you with any book or any question. When the narrator suggests that she is not mentally better John says,"My darling, I beg of you, for my sake and for our child's sake, as well as for your own, that you will never for one instant let that idea enter your mind"(Gilman). In the 18th century, this type of illness was categorized as one of the nervous diseases. Can we believe everything that she says? Educators go through a rigorous application process, and every answer they submit is reviewed by our in-house editorial team. The rest cure, then, called for perfect and complete "rest": no reading, no writing, no working, really, no thinking. ©2020 eNotes.com, Inc. All Rights Reserved, What is the central theme or the main theme of "The Yellow Wallpaper?". Further, to call any mental ailment affecting a woman "hysteria" belittles the problem; it makes it seem as though the woman's constitution is simply weak, her will to improve her... (The entire section contains 2 answers and 679 words.). When the narrator suggests that John remove the yellow wallpaper in her room because it makes her feel uncomfortable, John refuses. Therefore the narrator's illness, left untreated, progressed until she had a breakdown, and tore down the wallpaper. Top subjects are Literature, History, and Law and Politics, Latest answer posted March 24, 2011 at 6:41:08 PM, Latest answer posted October 02, 2017 at 12:39:18 AM, Latest answer posted July 13, 2018 at 6:44:19 AM, Latest answer posted September 10, 2017 at 1:21:04 PM, Latest answer posted September 29, 2019 at 6:53:16 PM. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime. This is absolutely true in the case of The Yellow Wallpaper. Treichler, Paula A. Vergona says, "Instead of working with her towards getting better, he isolated her as if she needed to be alone to get better," Vergona continues, "I believe that being alone was the problem for her.". The front pattern does move - and no wonder! The woman behind shakes it.” At the end of The Yellow Wallpaper, the narrator tears the yellow wallpaper from the walls. Treichler says, "Once pronounced, and reinforced by the second opinion of the narrator’s brother, this diagnosis not only names reality but also has considerable power over what that reality has to be: it dictates the narrator’s removal to the ‘ancestral halls’ where the story is set and generates a medical therapeutic regimen that includes physical isolation, ‘phosphates and phosphites’, air, and rest.”, The narrator's diagnosis was imposed upon her by her husband John, and verified by her brother; it is noteworthy that these two figures are both men. In "The Yellow Wallpaper," is the narrator reliable or unreliable? 1/2, 1984, pp. What does the ending of the story "The Yellow Wallpaper" suggest about the woman behind the... 5 educator answers In the story "The Yellow Wallpaper," describe the room that the narrator was in.