As a Jane Austen –Oscar Wilde- all things classic and vintage buff, I had to elect Literature in English in A Levels to subdued my obsession for classics and thought why not use this love for better and actually learn something. Through my learning experience I encountered some amazing pieces of literature and fell in love again and again with the words and imagery of Matthew Arnold, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Adrienne Rich, John Keats and even Shakespeare. But the ambiguous, beautifully woven words of Charlotte Perkins Gillman in “The Yellow Wallpaper” left me in a state of desperately wanting more rich literature to devour.
An intangible narrative of a woman and her struggle to be someone that she wasn't this story has a depth that can incite feelings that may have been buried deep in your mind. Her constant fight within herself brought upon her insanity which was inevitable from the initial stance of the story but it was her journey to the moment of absolute madness that was captivating yet so relatable.
The narrator’s faithfulness towards her husband and his doubt that he had for her was a sign of that unutterable, agonizing phase when you let go of everything and the person that you pretend to be is the person you can be, depersonalizing yourself, hence falling into the pits of darkness and sorrow. John’s behavior towards his own wife, treating her as a though she was crazy when she was not and repeatedly treating her like a child making his wife revert to her childlike fantasies only contributed to her insanity. John forces his wife to repress her imagination. While her "habit of story-making" might have found a healthy outlet in writing, repression of her habit instead damages her. By this stage in the story I began to tamper with my thoughts of the reality of John’s love for his wife. Was she just a trophy wife or did he had genuine love for her?
In “The Yellow Wallpaper”, writing is a healthy means of self actualization denied to the narrator. The narrator portrays writing positively in the story, believing it will help her with her depression. Others around her, however, heavily disapproved of her writing believing it to be a tiring activity.
Psychologist, Rosenhan at al and his experiment: “Being Sane in Insane Places” is highly correlated with The Yellow Wallpaper in my perspective. The estate was lonely in itself and the yellow wallpaper had become an evident source of both comfort and melancholy for the narrator, burdening her with unwanted feelings and imaginations which were either repressed by her husband or by her own self.
I don’t think I could summarize the entire story and come up with a viable jest just yet, but in the end The Yellow Wallpaper is a story of a truth we tend to pay no heed to; the truth that we are dysfunctional human time bombs waiting to explode into the realm of insanity – the question is: are we ready to face our insane self’s? Would we ever be able to ready?