In "The Yellow Wallpaper," what are the narrator's feelings toward her husband?

1 Answer | Add Yours

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The picture that we are given of the narrator in regards to the way she feels about her husband is that she is clearly trying very hard to be a loving and devoted wife. She does not argue and she does not try and persuade him that his ideas about her health and what is best for her is wrong, and she tries to overtly show him that she is being obedient to his requests, such as the way in which she hides her writing and tries to rest in bed.

However, in spite of this, what comes out of the narrative of this brilliant story is the way that the narrator is incredibly frustrated by her position as a sick woman, and how her own ideas and opinions are automatically disregarded and discounted because of her status. Note the way that she begins her narrative by saying that because her husband is a physician, this is why she is not getting better faster. Consider how she presents her hopeless position:

If a physician of high standing and one's 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?

The way that she repeats this final phrase, "What is one to do?", many times only serves to reinforce the profound helplessness of her position. Thus we can see that, although she loves her husband and wants to please him, at the same time, she is incredibly frustrated by the way that he refuses to listen to her own opinion and ideas about what is best for her.

We’ve answered 317,367 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question