What is the point of view of "The Yellow Wallpaper"?

The point of view of "The Yellow Wallpaper" is first-person subjective. This gives us a privileged insight into the consciousness and thought-processes of the main character. The story concerns what's going on inside her mind, so this is the appropriate point of view to use.

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Had the story been told from a third-person omniscient viewpoint, a God's-eye perspective, if you like, then it wouldn't have been nearly as effective. T,hen the unnamed woman in the story would've been treated like an object of study. She would've been seen the same way as her husband, a doctor, sees her: as a patient.

It would've been much harder, therefore, for us to understand what was happening to her, what kind of experiences she was having, and what she was seeing in the yellow wallpaper. Readers would've been presented with a one-dimensional character, a stereotyped madwoman, which would have been at odds with the author's intentions.

As it is, the first person subjective viewpoint helps us gain a degree of empathy with the narrator. We share her frustrations at not being able to lead a normal life due to the dubious course of treatment being administered by her husband. We're also able to gain a better understanding of just how it is possible for her to see a character in the yellow wallpaper that stands as a symbol of her present condition.

From a feminist standpoint, the first person subjective viewpoint is crucial to telling the narrator's story. Otherwise, her story would be told by men, almost certainly in an unsympathetic light. The doctor's wife would be easily dismissed as just another madwoman, someone whose story doesn't need to be told.

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The story "The Yellow Wallpaper" is told from the point-of-view of a first person narrator, an unnamed woman who is being kept in a large upstairs bedroom as a cure for what appears to be postpartum depression. She is said to be suffering from a nervous disorder.

We know we are encountering a first-person narrative from the first line, in which the narrator refers to "myself."

The first person narration creates a sense of immediacy and intimacy: we are privy to the direct thoughts of the narrator. Further, she appears to be taking us into her confidence and trying to get us to side with her against her husband John (although she claims she is simply writing to her "dead paper"). For example, she notes that John and her brother are doctors, but that "personally" she does not agree with their diagnosis as to how her condition should be treated. This draws us into her world and causes us to also question her treatment.

This first-person narration is also highly subjective, especially as there is no authorial voice or omniscient narrator to correct her misconceptions for us. However, her evident increasing separation from reality and rationality reinforce the idea that her condition is not being treated correctly.

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The point of view in which this powerful short story is told is the first-person subjective. The phrase first-person means that the narrator uses the first-person pronoun "I" and is a participant in the events taking place in the story. The word subjective means that the narrator is telling us about these events as they are taking place, as she is living them, and not afterward; a big clue to this is that her verbs are in the present (rather than past) tense. She says that her husband, "John[,] laughs" at her and that he "is practical in the extreme." She talks about how she is feeling in the present, saying, "I get unreasonably angry with John sometimes," and the like. It is because of this perspective that the audience must piece together the evidence of the narrator's mental deterioration throughout the story. She feels that she's being quite reasonable in many respects and presents her ideas about the wallpaper as though they are typical rather than strange (that there is a woman living behind the first layer of the design, etc). The narrator becomes quite unreliable, adding to the tension and sense of menacing unease created by the story.

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