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How the Setting Affected the Narrator of “the Yellow Wallpaper”

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Essay title: How the Setting Affected the Narrator of “the Yellow Wallpaper”

The “Yellow Wall Paper “by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, is a chilling study and experiment of mental disorder in nineteenth century. This is a story of a miserable wife, a young woman in anguish, stress surrounding her in the walls of her bedroom and under the control of her husband doctor, who had given her the treatment of isolation and rest. This short story vividly reflects both a woman in torment and oppression as well as a woman struggling for self expression. The setting of “The Yellow Wallpaper” is the driving force in the story because it is the main factor that caused the narrator to go insane.

The geographic setting of “The Yellow Wallpaper” adds irony between what the main character does and the connotation you get when you think about the location of the story. The village in the story is never named, but from the text, one can conclude that it is along the Pacific Ocean from the quote, “Out of another [window] I get a lovely view of the bay and a little private wharf belonging to the estate” (401). The text also reveals that the house is “A colonial Mansion, a hereditary estate.” (399). This leads us to believe that this house is in the south where big plantation mansions such as this one were common. These descriptions lead the reader to believe that the weather would be beautiful. Ironically, the main character does not take advantage of the good weather, and stays inside her room.

The physical setting of the room that the main character occupies has a great affect on her well being throughout the story. When the main character first walks into the room she states, “It was a nursery first, and then the playroom and gymnasium, I should judge, for the windows are barred for little children, and there are rings and things in the walls” (400), this shows us, the reader how the main character thought of her room in the sense that we can feel her emotions dropping in this sentence. Furthermore, we most certainly cannot leave out the wallpaper. This wallpaper which had lain on the wall since the houses beginning was a disgusting yellowish color, evoking the tastes of yellow into the main characters mouth. “The color is repellent, almost revolting: a smouldering… a sickly sulphur tint in others.” (401) this quote shows that the main character is disgusted with the not only the color of the wallpaper, but also the she uses the word sulphur which evokes a rather grotesque smell in the reader.

Finally, the year that this story was published played a crucial role as to why the narrator never got the treatment for her illness. For example, we can look at the first page of the book where the narrator says “You see, he does not believe I am sick! And what can one do?” (399) because her husband John is a physician he should be able to diagnose her properly, but yet he does not. He insists that she is only in a state

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