The Yellow Wallpaper
Notable Scenes & Passages:
Open Road Integrated Media, 2015. 34 pages. Kindle edition.
2: “John is a physician, and perhaps--(I would not say it to a living soul, of course, but this is dead paper and a great relief to my mind)--perhaps that is one reason I do not get well faster.”
4: “he takes all care from me, and so I feel basely ungrateful not to value it more.”
15: “He says no one but myself can help me out of it, that I must use my will and self-control and not let any silly fancies run away with me.”
20: “The fact is I am getting a little afraid of John.”
28: “He asked me all sorts of questions, too, and pretended to be very loving and kind. As if I couldn’t see through him!”
The story is told through the eyes of the female protagonist, and therefore we are privy to her internal distress and confusion. However, would we read her husband John differently if we did not have access to her inner thoughts? Could John pass as a concerned and loving husband?
How does John use his medical authority to exercise power over the female narrator?
Throughout the story, the female protagonist is separated from her newborn baby. What are your initial impressions? Do we observe a form of patriarchal control over female reproduction and motherhood?
There are two other women in the text who aid John in his mistreatment and imprisonment of his wife. What are your thoughts on this? How do women comply with patriarchal values and dictates, instead of subverting or challenging them? How do other women perpetuate or enable the pain and suffering of those victimized by abusive male partners?
John confines the female narrator to the nursery. How does this particular imposition reflect men’s infantilization of women? What are other ways in which women are infantilized in Western societies writ large?