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The Dominant/Submissive Relationship Between the Husband and Wife in The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Word Count: 1,627
In this short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman the dominantsubmissive relationship between an oppressive husband and his submissive wife pushes her from depression into insanity Flawed human nature seems to play a great role in her breakdown John the main characters husband a noted physician is unwilling to admit that there really might be something wrong with his wife This same attitude may be seen in her brother who is also a physician While this attitude and the actions taken because of it certainly contributed to her breakdown it seems to me that there is a rebellion spirit in her Perhaps unconsciously she seems determined to prove them wrong As the story begins the woman - whose name we never learn - tells of her depression and how it is dismissed by her husband and brother You see he does not believe I am sick And what can one do If a physician of high standing and ones own husband assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression - a slight hysterical tendency - what is one to do Gilman 176 These two men - both doctors - seem completely unable to admit that there might be more to her condition than just stress and a slight nervous condition Even when a summer in the country and weeks of bed rest dont help her husband refuses to accept that she may have a real problem Due to their refusal to accept the idea that there may be something wrong with Johns wife they create a situation in which she begins to feel even more isolated and oppressed because of their inability to listen to what she has to say about her mental state Throughout the story there are examples of the dominant - submissive relationship She is virtually imprisoned in her bedroom supposedly to allow her to rest and recover her health She is forbidden to
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