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English

The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Introduction

“The Yellow Paper” by Charlotte Perkins is a story told from the first-person point of view of a woman who is a doctor’s wife. Point of view is a technique used by the writers to tell who is narrating the story. A story can be told using first-person, second-person, third-person points. Writers use point of view to give a story meaning and express personal or character emotions. Thus, the point of view of a story is how the writer wants the readers to understand the story. The first-person standpoint of view gives readers the ability to access the woman’s thoughts. The first person enables the readers to feel the narrator’s experiences. “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Gilman is a story told from the main character’s point of view, i.e., the first-person point of view of the woman who suffers from a nervous disease. The purpose of this essay is to understand Gilman’s story point of view and how this point of view helps the readers understand the story and the main character in the story.

The Yellow Wallpaper from the Point of View of a Doctor’s Wife

Gilman’s story is told from the first person point of view; thus, the writer uses the main character, i.e., the doctor’s wife, who suffers from a nervous condition, to tell the story. The first-person point of view gives the readers access to the main character’s thoughts. Thus, the story is told from the first-person point of view, and it is not debatable. The point of view limits readers to women’s thoughts, hence helping the readers to experience a feeling of desperation and isolation like the doctor’s wife in the story.

The point of view of “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Gilman makes the readers feel isolated. This is because the readers have access to the women’s thoughts; hence, the point of view is limited. Also, the point of view is limited in the story since the story is told in the present form, and the wife has no benefits from her thoughts (Gilman 328). This causes the readers to experience isolation throughout the story as the woman does. Thus, the point of view in the story does not enable the woman to see that the men in her are the cause of her nervous condition and that she will never be able to overcome her condition. As the story continues, the readers feel sympathy towards the woman who is repressed and victimized. The readers sympathize with the woman because she is only trying to find her voice in a patriarchal society.

The main character of “The Yellow Wallpaper” story is the narrator, “the woman.” The narrator cuts an isolated figure as she loses touch with society but focuses on the understanding of her thoughts. The point of view of her thoughts helps in understanding the narrator’s suffering. No matter what she thought or tried to do, she was seen as an inferior being. She was subjected to the control of a male-dominated society, and she was required to obey the guidelines laid out by her husband and his brother. The more she thought of her frustration, the more she came to understand that, like her, women of that time suffered the same fate of male domination. For instance, she could not write without a man’s approval. Forbidden from working and from helping with domestic jobs, she feels helpless until she feels better. She disagrees with the idea that she cannot work, but she can’t act on it, and she starts feeling helpless (Gilman 330). Also, she is depressed by the fact that she is expected to fully accept that her own ideas are just desires and only men’s views can be trusted in her life. As her thought deepens, she sees herself trapped in yellow wallpaper. The narrator uses this to show the female imprisonment within the domestic sphere.

The character of the narrator does not change throughout the story. The changing description of the wallpaper in the story illustrates the stages of the narrator’s illness. First, she didn’t like the wallpaper as it imposed on her. As the story continues, she starts to pick the aspects of the wallpaper she didn’t like. She later becomes obsessed with the wallpaper, and she starts seeing a woman trapped in the wallpaper in the same way she felt trapped. Together, they rip the wallpaper down, the woman in the wallpaper disappears, and the narrator becomes insane.

The narrator’s actions are motivated by her suffering. She suffers from nervous conditions, and she is still confined to the house, making her feel lonely. Although she cannot physically act on her thoughts, her thoughts about the action of ripping down the wallpaper are motivated by her suffering. The narrator’s messages show how male-dominated society oppressed women.

Conclusion

In conclusion, we have seen that the novel “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Gilman uses the first-person point of view of the doctor’s wife to narrate her story. The first-person viewpoint gives readers access to the thoughts of the doctor’s wife. Thus, this limits readers to the thoughts of the woman and how she describes her inner self and the outside world. The viewpoint helps the readers to experience the isolation the wife feels throughout the story. The narrator is portrayed as a young woman who is newly married and is suffering from depression and is treated by her husband. The woman has a highly imaginative character, which enables readers to feel her pain. The writer uses the narrator to show how men have responsibilities over women such that women’s ideas are unacceptable and mere fancy. Therefore, the story shows how women are treated unfairly by men and society.

Works Cited

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins Stetson. The Yellow Wallpaper: According to Solomon. Ediciones El Pais, 2016.

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