What does John do for a living in The Yellow Wallpaper? How does the narrator feel about this profession?

John is a doctor for a living, and the narrator blames John's profession for her continued illness. Because he cannot locate any physical reason for illness, he does not believe that she is actually sick. He believes that her illness is totally imagined, and so he treats her like a sort of petulant child who just craves attention.

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The narrator of The Yellow Wallpaper, who is married to John, says that he is a physician,(a doctor), and she actually believes that his profession "is one reason [she does] not get well faster." Because she does not show any physical symptoms of illness, John does not actually believe that she is ill at all. He has been telling her friends and family that there is not actually anything "the matter" with her except for a "temporary nervous depression," a sort of female hysteria that is all the result of her own inclination and imagination. Ultimately, this infantilizes the narrator and makes her feel dismissed and disempowered.

In addition to the narrator's husband, her brother is also a doctor, and his diagnosis of the narrator is precisely the same as John's. She is directed to take tonics and long walks, get fresh air and exercise, and never work. The narrator says, "Personally, I disagree with their ideas." She believes that if she could engage in work that she enjoys, do something that provides her with mental stimulation, and participate in activities that she enjoys and finds exciting, her health would improve. She feels that she gets "unreasonably angry" with John sometimes; this seems to be because she resents the fact that he does not listen to her, either as her husband or as a doctor.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on February 23, 2021
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