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Erin Kate Ryan 7 November 2000 Major Women Authors Short Paper The Unnamed Woman Name Identity and Self in Charlotte Perkins Gilmans The Yellow Wallpaper Charlotte Perkins Gilman presents in the short story The Yellow Wallpaper a narrator of dubious identity If a reader infers that the reference at the end of the story to Jane is indeed self-reflexive a dichotomy between the Jane of which she speaks and the character who creeps about the room becomes apparent This division within the single heroine can be best understood when viewed as such within this nameless speaker are in fact two women and as the actions of one recede the other becomes dominant Indeed the reader sees two separate identities or selves within the narrators captive body the proper-Jane persona the suitably-named dutiful and lucid wife of Dr John and the nameless savage and hysterical woman a reflection of whom the raconteur sees lurking behind the wallpapers exterior pattern As proper-Janes affectations dissipate those of her unsociable doppelganger fluidly fill in the gaps in the speakers psyche The protagonist in The Yellow Wallpaper provides the reader with very few concrete details of her person She is a woman mother daughter sister cousin sister-in-law and physicians wife She is an ordinary person She isif one were to attempt a succinct monikerMrs John Yet this Mrs Johnthis mother this wife this Janegradually discards the traits which adorn a decorous woman of society The primal villainous character Mrs John becomes at the end of the story embodies everything that is not acceptable in Victorian society She neglects her child abandons her household duties becomes increasingly paranoid and believes that she knows her medical condition better than her doctors In addition to her near-maniacal obsession with the yellow wallpaper the speaker begins staying awake all night and sleeping through the day She at times creeps about during the daytime an action she admits is hardly
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