It’s normal for some to say they see or hear something only for it to simply be their imagination, never to see those things again. Though is it as normal for someone to see and even hear things more than once? To the point that the things they hear leaves them awake at night, convinced they are not alone even when no one else believes them due to the fact others can’t see or even experience what goes on within the mindset of that person. Charlotte Perkins Gilm’s The Yellow Wallpaper gives us a glimpse to what exactly it’s like to see the same things these people do.
The woman in this story appears to have this exact problem. From the very beginning of the story we know this is a first person point of view, as we read we will have a chance to see into her mind, what exactly tortures to the point she is constantly paranoid and what contributes to her “nervousness depression”. It is clear to us that this woman suffers of schizophrenia, describing the “strange, provoking, formless sort of figure” by the yellow wallpaper. These hallucinations she sees creeping on the wall design she detests so much plague her mind as she fights to secure her grip on reality. It’s mentioned that not only this woman’s husband is a medical physician but so is her brother, yet neither men believes she is ill in any way, saying she needs nothing more but fresh air, exercise and a quiet place to stay in, which resulted the woman staying in a nursery, where her condition only grows worse.
The description of the setting touches upon almost each of the five senses, having us envision the breath taking home the woman now stays, yet for the protagonist, despite the beautiful scenery of the house, she can feel the eerie atmosphere emitting from the house which she cannot explain. With each passing day, the pressure and stress she feels within this house only grows as she feels this presence within the home and sees the figures plastered against the dreaded wall all to the point she slowly looses her sanity.
Now while her husband, John, does not believe she contains any serious condition, his concern only grows through out the story as he sees his wife worsen, going through drastic measures where he isolates his wife, preventing her from writing as it’s clear this woman is writing in secret, as well with preventing her to walk outside or even see other people. He is constantly reminding her that she is in control of her own mind, how she must pay no mind, clearly indicating that is not as simple as he believes this is. With the condition she has, not matter how hard she tries, she cannot simply pay no mind to the images she sees as for tricks of the mind are just as real as her husband before her.
But much like many other patients who have been diagnose with schizophrenia soon begins to question the world around her, question the people around her, doubting their love for her as well as doubting her trust for her husband and believes that there could be a chance he wants her trapped. Even after she had found the “answer” of the walls, we see her final descent into madness, now questioning her own reality.