What's Up, Doc?

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Charlotte Perkins Gilman's short story "The Yellow Wallpaper."

"He said I was his darling and his comfort and all he had, and that I must take care of myself for his sake, and keep well" (5).

It seemed to me that John treated the narrator as more of a patient/child than his wife. He constantly giving her medicine and even refers to her as "little girl" (5). Besides the wallpaper, how John treated her (in the emotional sense) caused the narrator's insanity. He wouldn't take her seriously or let her do anything.

http://jerz.setonhill.edu/EL266/2009/09/gilman_the_yell/

4 Comments

Meagan Gemperlein said:

If this comment posts twice...I apologize.

This is the second time I have read this story and it seems to me that her husband isn't her husband. He's really just her doctor and she, in her state of confusion, thinks he's her husband. That would explain the insensitivity at times and the constant giving of medicine.

Kayla Lesko said:

Hmm... I never thought about it that way before. But he does say something along the lines of "Think of our child." to the narrator.

Peaches Ostalaza said:

He does treat her childlike and it did jump out when he referred to her as "little girl". I thought it was kinda weird too how they seem to have slept in seperate beds or maybe that was jus me.

Dave said:

Meagan- I had never thought of John being her husband as part of her delusion, but that makes sense as she says her brother is also a doctor and agreed, but nothing else about him. That could indicate that she's on her second doctor, or that John got a consult from another doctor. Either way, it would seem a bit suspect if the only doctors she has seen are related to her.

The childlike treatment could be saying more about the Doctor/mental patient relationship in that era, rather than the husband/wife one.

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