Effects Of Isolation In The Yellow Wallpaper

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Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” follows an unnamed woman as she struggles with an unspecified mental illness. The narrator and her husband, John, temporarily move to a colonial mansion. While there, the narrator becomes increasingly more obsessed with the yellow wallpaper that covers her bedroom. This obsession increasingly grows until she eventually breaks down at the end of the story. However, while the narrator is struggling with her mental illness, John brushes it off, continually saying that nothing is wrong with the narrator. He is completely oblivious to her mental state until the conclusion of the story, when he sees the full effect of his oversight. Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” shows us that maltreatment, particularly neglect and isolation can have diminishing and possibly drastic effects on a person with mental illness. John, who is a doctor, diagnoses his wife with what he deems “temporary nervous depression-a slight hysterical tendency” (Gilman 317). From the beginning, John dismisses his wife’s mental illness and does not see the toll her mental state is taking on her. Even at this point in the story, her illness is much…show more content…
The growing intensity of her illness mirrors her growing obsession with the yellow wallpaper in her room. In the beginning, the narrator is able to speak of other things, such as the house and her husband. However, even then, she goes into excruciating detail about the wallpaper. She writes paragraphs on the wallpaper while simply mentioning other aspects of the house, such as the garden and the greenhouse (Gilman 317-318). This detail shows the reader that the narrator has an irregular fascination with the wallpaper, a fascination that only worsens as the story continues. This obsession mirrors the narrator’s mental illness; it is early established but becomes more apparent as the story
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