What is the meaning behind why John does not want the narrator to write?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The significance of the husband not wanting his wife to write represents a form of silencing of voice.  Throughout the story, this becomes clear.  John "tut- tuts" the narrator's growing challenges.  He dismisses them as "needing rest" or laughs away her concerns.  The fact that he does not want her to write is representative of this.  If the narrator writes, it gives voice to her thoughts, something of which John has not shown himself to be appreciative.  At the same time, if she writes, it becomes a form of resistance, something that wil allow the narrator to define in her own sensibility.  This flies in the face of the husband who is committed to this notion of rest is all that his wife needs.  At the same time, I think that John's desire to not resist writing is an element of control.  If the narrator is able to write, she is able to do something that the husband, himself, cannot control.  In the desire to substantiate the patriarchal notion of "husband knows best," he suppresses her need to express herself, to seek a different path, and to articulate her thoughts in writing.

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The Yellow Wallpaper

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