The Narrator of The Yellow Wallpaper
In “The Yellow Wallpaper” the narrator becomes more depressed throughout the story because of the recommendation of isolation that was made to her. In this short story the narrator is detained in a lonesome, drab room in an attempt to free herself of a nervous disorder. The narrator’s husband, a physician, adheres to this belief and forces his wife into a treatment of solitude. Rather than heal the narrator of her psychological disorder, the treatment only contributes to its effects, driving her into a severe depression. Under the orders of her husband, the narrator is moved to a house far from society in the country, where in she is locked into an upstairs room.
This environment serves not as an inspiration for mental health but as an element of repression. The locked door and barred windows serve to physically restrain her: “the windows are barred for little children, and there are rings and things in the walls.” The narrator is affected not only by the physical restraints but also by being exposed to the room’s yellow wallpaper is dreadful and fosters only negative creativity. “It is dull enough to confuse the eye in following, pronounced enough to constantly irritate and provoke study, and when you follow the lame uncertain curves for a little distance they suddenly commit suicide – plunge off at outrageous angles, destroy themselves in unheard of contradictions.”
All through the story the yellow wallpaper acts as an antagonist causing her to become very annoyed and disturbed. There is nothing to do in the secluded room but stare at the wallpaper. The narrator tells of the haphazard pattern having no organization or symmetrical plot. Her constant examination of and reflection on the wallpaper cause her much distress. During her isolation the narrator becomes obsessed with the yellow wallpaper: “I determine for the thousandth time that I will follow that pointless pattern to some sort of a conclusion.” The treatments which call for isolation, was a respective factor. The narrator did not believe isolation would cure her disorder. Social contact and outside stimulation were her desires. “I sometimes fancy that in my condition if I had less opposition and more society and stimulus, but John says the worst thing I can do is think about my condition.” She was cut off from society and forbidden from seeing her baby. It is not natural to be confined to little social contact for large amounts of time. Society provides a...