In The Yellow Wallpaper Why Is The Main Character Spending Time At The Colonial Mansion?

Updated 30 September, 2024
In “The Yellow Wallpaper”, the main character’s husband, John, rents an old colonial mansion for the summer. Being a physician himself, John believes that spending time in the mansion will help his wife to recover from her “temporary nervous depression”.
Detailed answer:

In the story “The Yellow Wallpaper'' by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the author writes about a woman who lives in a huge mansion, where her husband took her for vacation for three months. It's an aristocratic place. The main character believes she is sick, but her husband, who is a doctor, believes that she is not actually sick, but having temporary nervous depression. He decides that being here in this mansion will help her. However, his wife doesn’t like the place, she feels it is queer and haunted. She complains in her diary, “John does not know how much I suffer. He knows there is no reason to suffer, and that satisfies him.”
As a form of treatment, the unnamed woman is forbidden from working and is encouraged to eat well and get plenty of exercise and air so that she can recuperate from what he calls a ‘temporary nervous depression-a slight hysterical tendency’, a diagnosis common to women in that period. The woman hides her journal from her husband and his sister the housekeeper, fearful of being accused of overburdening herself. The room’s openings are grilled to prevent children from climbing through them, and there is a gate across the top of the stairs, though she and her husband have access to the rest of the house and its adjoining estate. The author depicts the effect of under stimulation on the narrator’s mental health and her deterioration into psychosis. With nothing to stimulate her, she becomes obsessed with the pattern and colour of the wallpaper. Towards the end of the story, she imagines there are women creeping behind the patterns of the wallpaper and comes to believe she is one of them. Eventually, she locks herself in the room, now the only place she feels safe, refusing to leave when the summer ends.

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