Narrator’s Emotional Conflict in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper

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Narrator’s Emotional Conflict in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper

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The title is important because it references the yellow wallpaper the lady is trapped inside at the end of the story. The wallpaper could have been any other color; however, the color yellow fits best because it is bright and cheerful. It is ironic how the color of the wallpaper is so happy and optimistic while the lady trapped inside the wallpaper is in despair. Personally, I do not like the color yellow. It is too bright and too loud. I prefer subtler colors. The wallpaper changes from something ordinary to something suffocating. The narrator feels like she is enclosed by this wallpaper. It is representative of the domestic sphere because the domestic sphere is most often closed off from the rest of the world. What happens in the house stays in the house. This is prevalent in cases of domestic abuse and domestic violence, where neighbors are completely unaware of the abuse that is going on. The victim usually doesn’t let anybody know about their pain and suffering. The narrator says “what can one do?” as a sign of giving up hope. She has fallen too deep into her depression and doesn’t think that there is a way out. It ends with her losing her mind and tearing apart the wallpaper that the woman is trapped in, not realizing that it is just her imagination. Her loneliness manifests itself as a sort of vision of a woman trapped inside the wallpaper.

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“The Yellow Wallpaper” deals with emotional conflict as the narrator feels her husband looks down upon her. She can’t do anything except blindly trust her husband even though he completely ignores her concerns. He’s the doctor and thinks he knows best. The conflict is never resolved; it only escalates. The characters seem very real to me because this is a very realistic scenario. I can definitely see how being trapped in one’s household can lead to such feelings of hopelessness, and in the extreme case, a psychotic breakdown. One of the main themes of the story is loneliness, because the main character feels very lonely in her own house. Even when she is with her husband, she feels lonely. I did expect a longer, more drawn-out narrative because the story seemed to be moving slowly. I thought there would be more to it. The central purpose behind the story is to show people how lonely and painful depression can feel. It is also important to take the concerns of others seriously, and not to dismiss them because of any perceived “experience.” This purpose is very important and meaningful because it can be applied in our daily lives to people all around us. People like our friends and family could be hurting and we may not even know about it. So it is important to always check on how our loved ones are feeling. The role of women in the text seems to be to “stay happy” and focus on their family or children. They are supposed to stay home while the husband goes off to work and take care of the household. Historically this has always been true, as women were not even allowed to work until much later. There was a “sphere of domesticity” where the entire lives of women remained inside the household. There is an even greater pressure and stigma placed on single mothers in today’s society because not only are they judged for raising a child alone, but they are expected to do it flawlessly. The narrator grows more restless when her husband isn’t around, and I think her relationship with him deteriorates because he treats her in a belittling way.

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