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Unnamed main character ?!?!I have just finished reading the Yellow Wallpaper when i...

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roopz10 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 10, 2010 at 7:08 AM via web

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Unnamed main character ?!?!

I have just finished reading the Yellow Wallpaper when i realized that all the other characters including the nanny have a name , except for our MAIN CHARACTER!!! I am absolutely sure that other readers would have identifed this fault , if i may say. Is it a form of symbolism to show just how important women were in the 19th century ?? I actually thought about that but i then realized that many of the minor characters had names. So please come and discuss with me your different thoughts on this matter. As it is always good to have different viewpoints. Please contribute to this discussion... =]

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ask996 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted April 10, 2010 at 9:17 AM (Answer #2)

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Charlotte Gilman Perkins’ short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” is an interesting read. One thing to consider is that Perkins herself suffered from what we now know to be “post partum depression.” Failing to name the main character is not a flaw, and while we can’t really know why she did it, we could speculate. One possible reason could be that by denying the main character a name, she is representative of every woman who has gone through this type of situation. Failing to name her could be representative also of her brother’s, husband’s, and caregiver’s failure to recognize her as a real person.

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cetaylorplfd | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted August 4, 2010 at 9:09 AM (Answer #3)

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I agree with the above post.  Leaving the narrator unnamed is not a flaw, and writers will use this technique to suggest that the character is representative of a larger population.  In addition, the narrator remains virtually "unseen" by the members of her family, so her being unnamed represents this invisibility as well.

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