Where is love in the relationship between the narrator and her husband in "The Yellow Wallpaper"?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This is an interesting topic.  I am confident that there is love in the relationship between the narrator and her husband.  I don't sense that he is abusive to her or is one that seeks to humiliate his wife.  However, what he does to her, even if it is done out of "care," is quite oppressive to her.  Her voice is silenced, or even smothered.  I think that this is where their relationship lies.  There might be love present, but there is not respect present.  The arc of the relationship between them is one where the husband does not respect the needs of his wife.  Rather, is convinced it is "nerves" and does not authenticate that her experience might be fundamentally different, one that needs to be understood with a voice that needs to be acknowledged.  The fact that the narrator can only experience this validation through the wallpaper is reflective of the lack of respect present in this relationship.  In the end, love is there.  Yet, the desire to control or to take care of someone else is smothering the identity and experiences of the narrator, who finds that her voice must be heard and respected no matter what, reflecting the ending of the story.

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