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The Yellow Wallpaper Response

             In The Yellow Wallpaper, originally published in 1899, Charlotte Gilman presents the internal dialogue of a woman diagnosed with "hysteria- and for whom total rest has been prescribed. In the short story, the patient is slowly driven mad by her cure, prescribed by her physician husband, and is cut off from any intellectual pursuits whatsoever. The misdiagnosis of depression and anxiety leads the woman on a downward spiral that eventually causes her to perceive the yellow wallpaper in her room as a projection of herself. The woman is eventually able to regain self-empowerment by tearing down her barriers, in the form of the wallpaper in her room.
             The narrator initiates the story by describing a beautiful, but prison-like house, run by the protagonist's husband that both realistically and symbolically confines his wife. The husband keeps his wife incommodious for two probable reasons. First, the husband was a physician and despite his good intentions, ignorantly prescribed the worst treatment imaginable for depression, inactivity. Second, most likely due to society at the time, the man arrogantly perpetuates an ideological prison that subjects and silences his wife. The husband prescribes a remedy for his wife, a woman, which he would not also recommend for a man. Because the doctor's decision was based on no physiological or proven psychological difference between man and woman, the doctor's rational is not merely medical, but sexist. Society supported the sexist idea that did not believe a woman should enjoy creative expression, mental stimulus, or access to things that fulfill her. These beliefs influenced the husband's decision to confine his wife physically which also lead to her psychologically imprisonment. .
             Further evidence of John's sexist and psychological ignorance reveals itself when he refers to his wife as "little girl- and repeatedly coos such phrases as "blessed little goose- or "bless her little heart- when speaking to her.

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