Quest for Freedom in The Yellow Wallpaper

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Quest for Freedom in The Yellow Wallpaper

The short story "The Yellow Wall-Paper" written by Charlotte Perkins

Gilman is a cry for freedom. This story is about a woman who fights for her

right to express what she feels, and fights for her right to do what she wants

to do. The narrator in this short story is a woman whose husband loves her very

much, but oppresses her to the point where she cannot take it anymore. This

story revolves around the main character, her oppressed life, and her search for


There are many male influences in this woman's life and although they

may mean no harm, push her over the edge. The main character's husband, John,

and her brother are well-known physicians. They use their power to control the

main character, perhaps subconsciously, to feel what they think a woman should

feel. For example, the woman tells the men she is sick but they believe

differently. "John is a physician, and perhaps- (I would not say it to a living

soul, of course, but this is dead paper and a great relief to my mind-) perhaps

that is one reason I do not get well faster. You see he does not believe I am

sick!"(507) The men are under the impression that what they say goes and

therefore the woman has no choice but to follow. "He knows there is no reason

to suffer and that satisfies him."(508) This quote illustrates that the men are

in control. If they strongly believe nothing is wrong, then nothing must be

wrong. It is a feeling of self satisfaction the men feel when they are superior

to the woman.

The main character knows John loves her, but it is the oppression she

feels that bothers her so. Her husband expresses his love for her but at the

same time imposes his will on her. He hinders her from having her own thoughts.

"...He is very careful and loving, and hardly lets me stir without special

direction..."(507) The last few words of this quote show how John did not let her

have any freedom because he was always there. John acts as if he knows what the

main character feels at all times.
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