Control Your Own Life
Control Your Own Life The theme of Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” is what can happen when one let someone else control his or hers life - Control Your Own Life introduction. In the story, the wife becomes mentally ill because she lets her husband control her life and as the story progresses the reader can see that her condition worsens because she does not think for herself. The story shows how the wife writes about her and her husband, John, in the journal, her imaginations in the yellow wallpaper and on people, and the moment she goes completely insane.
In “The Yellow Wallpaper”, the journal she kept reveals how much she lets her husband controls her life. One example of this is when she writes, “I…am absolutely forbidden to work until I am well again. Personally, I disagree with their ideas…I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good” (Gilman 2). She obviously has her own different opinions, but she never speaks of them openly. As a result, she only writes them down in her journal.
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This is why she takes the responsibility of the result that her husband controls her so much because she never fight back about her own opinions. She wants to have change; however, she lets John control her life and make her unhappy. She even knows that she is angry with him, but she just blames it on a nervous condition that John says she has. The real reason she is angry with him is the fact that he does not let her do what she wants to do, but she denies this.
Another example, “I don’t like our room a bit. I wanted one downstairs…But John would not hear of it” (Gilman 3) also shows how much she lets her husband control her. Once again she disagrees with his judgment, but goes along with him anyways, and this is one of the main things she should have done for herself. Because she goes along with his judgment, her condition begins to worsen. In the story, her condition begins to worsen when she begins to imagine people and things in the wallpaper.
The first thing that gives evidence that her condition is worse is when she says, “I always fancy I see people walking in these numerous paths and arbors” (Gilman 5) she sees these people because she wishes that she could be free to walk in those paths and arbors. At this point, in her heart she is beginning to feel caged and isolated with others. She really dislikes the room that she is in because of the wallpaper, but because John wants her to stay in the room she begins to study the wallpaper and try to find things that she likes about it.
However, this only makes things worse for her condition. Since she studies the wallpaper so much that she begins to see a woman trapped behind the patterns in the paper trying to get out. She does not know it at the time, but the woman is herself. This signifies that she is trapped behind her husband’s controlling words, and is trying to free herself. After she sees this woman in the wallpaper she becomes this woman and tries to free herself, but goes completely insane.
At the moment when she says “I suppose I shall have to get back behind the pattern when it comes night, and that is hard! It is so pleasant to be out in this great room and creep around as I please! ” (Gilman 16), she has think herself become this woman behind the wallpaper. Therefore, she is tearing down the paper so that she can’t be trapped behind it. This signifies that she is trying to keep her husband from controlling her any longer. “‘I’ve got out at last,’ said I, ‘in spite of you and Jane. And I’ve pulled off most of the paper, so you can’t put me back’” (Gilman 16).
When she says this, she means that she has freed herself from him in her mind, but even though she fells that she has freed herself, she still gone completely insane. Only bad things will result from one letting someone else control one’s life. This is what happens to John’s wife when she goes completely insane because she always did what he told her to and she never did anything for herself. Even though she may feel like she has freed herself in her mind she will never be normal again. After all, if she did not let John control her life so much, her illness probably will never get worsen in the first place.