November 03, 2004

Twisted inside herself

Initially, the woman in The Yellow Wallpaper is angered by the fact that her brother and her husband do not belive she is sick, and the fact they will not let her work. However, by the end of the story she is progressively worse, to the point where she is tired by doing the simplest things.

There are 180 listed psychological diseases diagnosed by symptomatic behavioral changes, and the lady in the story definitely does experience behavioral changes.

In the beginning, she wants to work, and is all about going out and doing things

"I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good (Gilman 1)."
"I am glad my case is not serious (Gilman 4)."

It is after the Fourth of July that we begin to notice her extreme change in attitude.

"Of course i didn't do a thing (Gilman 6)."
"I cry at nothing, and cry most of the time (Gilman 6)."
"Half the time now I am awfully lazy, and lie down ever so much (Gilman 7)."
"It is getting to be a great effort for me to think straight (Gilman 7)."

I have often wondered what exactly it is that makes the main character go insane. Is it:
A) The house and the wallpaper itself
B) Her desire to convince others she truly is sick
C) Her desire to escape and get away and not being able to

I think that the main character in this story begins to put things into the wallpaper, to make her own shapes, to satisfy her own imagination. When you were little did you ever play the cloud game? You would look up at the sky, find a cloud, oh it looks like a puppy, or a dragon, or some other animal or object. It may not have been shaped exactly like your desired object, or even remotely close, however, because you wanted to, you made it into that, you saw whatever it was you wanted to see. I believe this is what she does pertaining to the wallpaper. "I didn't realize for a long time what the thing was that showed behind, that dim sub-pattern, but now i am quite sure it is a woman (Gilman 9)."
I think she begins to imagine a woman in the wallpaper, trapped much like she is. On page two, we find out the windows of the room are barred, and she declares of the wallpaper woman:"...she just takes hold of the bars and shakes them hard (Gilman 12). Shortly after that, she begins to associate herself with the wallpaper womans characteristics. After she sees the woman out, i believe she begins to get jealous, whereas she begins to characterize the woman, so that perhaps she may get out too. She sees the woman creeping by daylight, and then declares: "I always lock the door when i creep by daylight. I can't do it at night, for i know John would suspect something at once (Gilman 12)." I also believe she feels a loss of control, and one way to regain this is to help the woman, and to control what is in the wallpaper and when the woman comes out. "Besides, I don't want anybody to get that woman out at night but myself(Gilman 12)." I think she really begins to believe she is the woman around this point, or is in the process of becoming her. "I believe John is beginning to notice, i don't like the look in his eyes (Gilman 13)." What is he beginning to notice? Her actions? The fact that she is the other woman and is trying to hide it? She goes into a midnight frenzy about this point, shaking and pulling paper off, trying to free the woman. The next day, she locks the door, throws away the key, and proceeds to peel off the paper, freeing the woman from her wallpapered bars."I wonder if they all come out of that wallpaper as i did?" She questions of the creeping FREE women she sees outside her window. She however, still wants to live a sheltered life, creeping only in the room and not outside, she realizes her freedom is short lived and she will have to go back in at night. Her last comment to her husband "Ive got out at last...in spite of you and Jane, and Ive pulled off most of the paper, so you can't put me back." He then faints. Here is where most begin to differ their opinions. I blogged slightly on this last year, and two of my fellow classmates last year, both in class again this year, think the narrator died. I however, do not think so, im not sure what John saw when he walked in the room, perhaps more people coming out of the walls and creeping? Maybe he saw a complete room that wasn't messed up at all, meaning all she sees is in her head, maybe he saw a destroyed room, and his wife, whom he thought was getting better, crawling on the floor. She was, as she began to state "Better in body perhaps, but not in mind." This was began on page 9 and John cut her off, however, i believe this is the idea that was in her head. Which also leads me to believe that either she knew she was going insane, or she was doing this out of spite. Almost like, "Look, you didn't believe i was sick, here i am INSANE."

Posted by Lori Rupert at November 3, 2004 07:54 AM
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