The narrator in “The Yellow Wallpaper” knows she is sick, but the men in her life do not think she is seriously ill. Her husband, John, and her brother are both physicians of high standing, so she does not know what to do when they diagnose her as being perfectly healthy. Even though she does not agree with their remedies she has no say over them. She admits with discomfort, “So I take phosphates or phosphites-whichever it is, and tonics, and journeys, and airs, and exercise, and am absolutely forbidden to “work” until I am well again”(Gilman 956). Although she would know if she was sick and what would make her feel better more than anyone else, she is forced to go along with her husband’s elaborate plan for her path to recovery. “Every time the narrator speaks, she is interrupted and contradicted until she begins to interrupt and contradict herself” (Ford). Although the narrator is a woman, she has a male discourse because her husband speaks for her.
The story teller does not like her room and desires to stay in one downstairs that opens o...
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...l. Men thought they knew what was best, and ignored the desires of the women. The women had no choice but to go along with the men’s choices. Nineteenth century women did not have much of a role in society, and it was meant to stay that way. “The Yellow Wallpaper” is classified as a feminist text because it portrays the desire for women to escape the society that has neglected them for so many years.
Ford, Karen. “The Yellow Wallpaper’ and Women’s Discourse.” Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature 4.2 (1985):309-314. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism. Ed. Lawrence J. Trudeau. Vol. 182. Detroit: Gale, 2013. Literature Resource Center. Web. 18 Mar. 2014.
Gilman, Charlotte. The Yellow Wallpaper. Making Literature Matter: An Anthology for Readers and Writers. By John Schilb and John Clifford. 5th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2012. 954-967. Print.
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