In what ways is the narrator's husband implicated as part of her predicament in "The Yellow Wallpaper"?unsure of how to answer it

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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As much as Dr. S. Weir Mitchell, whose rest therapy of quiet and solitude for the narrator of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" restricts her psychological healing, so, too, does the patriarchal attitude of the narrator's husband, John, repress the narrator, exacerberating her nervous depression. Adhering blindly to the domineering and unsolicitous theories of Mitchell, John ignores the wishes of his wife to be outside in the beautiful garden.  When she protests against being confined alone in the "atrocious nursery" with the hideous wallpaper which disturbs her artistic nature by its unsymmetrical pattern and color that "commits every artistic sin," John puts even more stress upon her by insisting that she remain in this room where she feels imprisoned:

I don't like our room a bit.  I wanted one downstairs that opened on the piazza and had roses all over the window, and such pretty old-fashioned chintz hangings!  But John would not hear of it.

In a patronizing manner, John tells the narrator that they have come to this house "solely on [her] account."  And, he laughs at the narrator's protests against this atrocious wallpaper, saying "that nothing was worse for a nervous patient than to give way to such fancies."  Indeed, he even "insists" that the room is doing her good when she has voiced repeated protests. 

Then he took me in his arms and called me a blessed little goose, and said he would go down to the cellar, if I wished, and have it whitewashed into the bargain.....John has cautioned me not to give way to fancy in the least.  He says that with my imaginative power and habit of story-making, a nervous weakness like mine is sure to lead to all manner of excited fancies, and that I ought to use my will and good sense to check the tendency.

At every turn, John frustrates the creative nature of the narrator which in truth would be the very thing to help heal her depression.  The narrator herself declares,

I think sometimes that if I were only well enough to write a little it would relieve the press of ideas and rest me.

With her imagination denied and repressed, it becomes perverted; thus, the narrator projects her imaginings upon the "inanimate thing" of the wallpaper. Her obsession with this wallpaper and the "inharmonious" objects in the room occurs because her husband has ridiculed her wishes and denied her any outlet for her depression in his adherence to the philosophy of Dr. Mitchell and the cultural wisdom of a patriarchal Victorian society.

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