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The Bars of Freedom

             People have many different views of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper." Guy Noir believes that the narrator in the story "has been involuntarily (and unknowingly) admitted into a mental hospital" (Noir 2). However, there are no direct statements in "The Yellow Wallpaper" that refer to the narrator in a mental hospital at all. The narrator's understanding of her surroundings, the woman in the wall, and John's treatments seem to identify the opposite of what Guy Noir states. This woman is trapped, but it is not in a mental institution.
             The narrator uses a pen and paper as a journal of her innermost feelings. She often writes, "I think," "I wish," and "Personally," (Gilman) which proves that she knows and recognizes her surroundings. She fully understands her situation and realizes where she is. She gives a very graphic description that is not how one would normally view a mental institution. .
             "The most beautiful place! It is quite alone, standing well back from the road, quite three miles from the village. It makes me think of English places that you read about, for there are hedges and walls and lots of separate little houses for the gardeners and people" (Gilman).
             If the narrator was in a mental hospital she would know it, and she would hate it. Even though the yellow wallpaper repulses her, the room is beautiful and full of "windows that look all ways, and air and sunshine galore," (Gilman). The narrator is thrilled about the vacation to the mansion, not expecting to become trapped.
             The woman in the wall she sees is the narrator herself. John S. Bak can agree when he states, " This "faint figure" who shakes the bars "just as if she wanted to get out" is invariably the narrator herself." The woman in the wall is not "one or many of the other patients in the mental hospital," (Noir 3). Karen Bernardo also agrees with Bak. She says, "We see that the protagonist and the woman in the wallpaper are identical; in other words, the woman in the wallpaper is a projection of herself.

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