The Yellow Wall Paper Re-narrated by John

The Yellow Wall Paper Re-narrated by John


My wife hasn’t been doing well recently. Not too long ago I rented a colonial mansion in the country so she could get some rest and relaxation while I tended to my real patients. The place is perfectly refreshing. I thought a nice summer vacation would be all she needed to clear her head. At first, I didn’t think anything serious was wrong with my wife, perhaps some nervousness or something else that could be reasonably fixed.

Right after we moved in, she told me that there was something strange about the house, and she could felt it. I knew that she was still a bit nervous because she hadn’t gotten used to the new environment. It happens to anybody, so I just told her that what she felt was a draft, and shut the window for her. Then she felt completely relieved.

I set her up in a room that was once used as a nursery. It was the most logical room, as my wife needs all the sun and air she can get, and this room is very spacious and open with plenty of air circulating through. Immediately my wife protested and wanted a room closer to the ground floor but as a physician, I let her know this is what’s best for her. She immediately had the problem with the wallpaper in the room. I told her I would re-paper it but I got so busy with my real patients that I put it off for a while until I realized if I changed the wallpaper, it would just be something else that would end up getting the best of her and before you know it, I would be remodeling the whole entire mansion and we’re only supposed to be here for 3 months, so I let her know it’s her nervousness and this is one of the things she has to overcome if she wants to feel better.

Unfortunately, her condition, her nervousness or whatever it is seems to be worsening. She is looking better physically and her diet seems to have improved. There’s even a glow in her face now that’s been missing since she fell ill. In her own mind however, she thinks she’s getting worse. I keep assuring her she’s doing better even if she doesn’t realize it. I really do think this is what’s best for her, letting her overcome her problems by her own control and will.

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night and found my wife fondling the wallpaper. I asked her what was wrong and told her not to go wandering around like that. She told me how she wasn’t getting any better and how she wanted to go home immediately. I told her this was not an option. The repairs weren’t done on our home and if I truly thought she was in any serious danger, I would take her away from here. I assured her again she was getting better whether she noticed it or not. I told her to get some sleep and we would talk in the morning. She asked if I would be going away by myself and I had to once again assure her I wouldn’t be going anywhere and once our lease was up we would be back in our own house after a nice little trip. After some more reassuring, I finally got her to go back to sleep.

I am a confident man, and I know what’s best for my wife and whether she likes my practices or not, I really do feel this is the best way for her to sort out the problems she’s currently having. Soon she will realize she’s actually feeling better and we can leave this time behind us. I really do believe this is a small bump in the road that we will eventually get over and my wife will be back to her old self. Perhaps even at some point we can look back at this time and laugh about how upset she was when she first saw this old tacky wallpaper.




To write the re-narrated version of “The yellow Wall Paper”, I intended to make the gap of their perspectives between the protagonist and her husband stand out in complete contrast in the story. The original story is narrated in the first-person point of view of the protagonist, who is John’s wife. In first-person narration, what can be shown is limited to his/her observation and thoughts, so it tends to be slanted and conveyed directly to the reader.

Especially in the story, she is restricted from contact with outside society and her living place is limited within the mansion for her treatment: in addition, she is forbidden from imaginative activity such as fantasy and writing. The conditions appear to drive her even more crazy. The story is told in an extremely subjective and distorted way by her abnormal perspective. However, this narration style effectively works to transmit to the reader the creepiness and horror of the story.

Regarding the experimental re-telling assignment, to begin with, I wondered which narrative style would best convey “the Yellow Wall Paper” in another interesting way. At first, I considered what if the story was narrated in third-person omniscient narrator. It would be like, for example, “she thinks the color of the wall is revolting,” or “She sees the shadows of women creep all over the house.” I thought that the manner of the story would become much less creepy and lost its horrific tone in this style. After consideration I decided to re-tell a portion of the story from John’s point of view in a first-person limited narration. It was a really interesting experiment; because in contrast to his wife, John is a type of person who only takes a practical view. So the story is being shown from a completely opposite point of view. In the original narration, the story features some horrific aspects. However, once the narrator shifts from the wife to John, the re-telling leaves just a common aspect of a story about the husband who is a physician struggling to treat his wife with her sickness, and the horrific and odd features are entirely faded out; because, John is, again, extremely practical and he never trusts anything not to be felt and seen and put down in figures. Through the process of re-telling and comparison of those two, I can reaffirm that the couple would never be able to understand each other.

Comparison between the original story and the re-telling

First of all, she describes the mansion as “I would say a haunted house” “there is something queer about it” in the very beginning. While in John’s narration, he describes it as “Perfectly refreshing.” Also, He strongly believes that her nervousness would be reasonably fixed as long as she follows his advice from his medical opinion. Although those opinions toward her symptoms goes quite wrong and has an opposite effects, but he never doubt his own opinion. She is getting worse and worse but he never listens to her appeal. In the re-telling version, he describes the room as “the most logical”, “this is what’s best for her.’’ However, she doesn’t like the room at all. She describes the wall paper as irritate, repellent, and revolting… etc. Their feelings never mesh with each other. In the original story the wife already feels uneasy about her living quarter but John her always logical husband sees nothing but black and white so he find hers troubles to be nothing to be worry about over the long term.

The segment highlighted in the retold version is the segment where The Wife seems to start slipping away from reality. In the original version of the story The Wife has trouble communicating with her husband with how she feels and once she finally does he attempts to comfort her and she acts like she felt comforted by his words but we as the reader know she doesn’t feel comforted and is actually more worried about bothering John than her own condition.

In the retelling however, John is so confident in his practices and beliefs that he doesn’t even notice how sick his wife really is. Her sickness is too abstract for him to pick up on, so in his mind he is doing a good job. Again, the contrasting versions of the story show one side as being filled with horror and dread and the other side as a doctor treating his wife the way he was taught how and seemingly succeeding even if that’s not really the case at all.

In Conclusion, changing which person narrates the story drastically changes the reader’s perception. On one hand you have a woman losing her mind and not knowing what do about it and on the other hand you have a man trying to care for his wife and thinking he is doing a good job at it because he is so stuck in his ways.

While I personally enjoyed being able to change the perspective of the story, I think ultimately the original perspective from the wife’s point of view is the best way to tell a story like this. It does a good job of drawing you in on a personal level because you know exactly what this woman is going through and it’s not left as a mystery.

Due to the characteristics of John’s personality he is better as a secondary character. There is never a time in the original story where you feel like John is maybe doubting himself and his practices. Overall, I think doing a part of the story from John’s point of view was an interesting perspective to visit, but may not be the best way to get the most out of this story.

Sethe’s experiences give us a hint as to why she ended up taking her daugher’s life

No one can conclude if what Sethe did to her baby was the right thing to do or not. However, we can see how Sethe reaches her decision to kill her baby rather than have herself and her children deal with the tragic life of slavery again through her reflections.

When Paul D visited Sethe and the two talked in the kitchen, Sethe told Paul D about the time a “school teacher” and his nephews raped her. She explains to Paul D how they took her milk and beat her with cowhide while she was pregnant and made a “tree” on her back.

In the chapter starting on pg. 28 and also the chapter starting on pg. 74, The recollection of Sethe’s escape and details of her delivery was described through Denver’s mind. Sethe runs away wandering around through the woods while being six months pregnant with “her feet which were so swollen she could not see her arch or feel her ankles.” The delivery of Denver was very hard and the The pain and fear that Sethe faced must have been beyond imagination.

After overcoming these horrible experiences of slavery, she finally started her new life with Baby Suggs and her children. After her escape and overcoming all of the previous experiences she went through, Sethe was very pleased to be able to raise her children on her own.

In my opinion after reading all of Sethe’s recollections and experiences of her slave life and attempted escape, it is kind of understandable to me why she would kill her baby. After experiencing a little amount of freedom and then being caught again and forced back into slavery, she doesn:t want her children going through the same experiences she went through and to be treated like merchandise. At the same time she doesn’t particularly want to kill her own child but in the end that is the decision she chooses.

Getting to know more about Brooklyn is exciting

I enjoyed my visit to the Brooklyn Historical Society because we got to see the old maps and photos from the late 1800s and it was interesting to see how things have changed and stayed the same since then.

When I moved to Brooklyn a few years ago I instantly fell in love with it and wanted to learn more about the area. Brooklyn is rather large so getting to learn a little of its history was fun. I enjoyed the story “Only The Dead Know Brooklyn” because the “Big Guy” in the story is curious about Brooklyn just like I was when I first moved here and still am.

Sometimes I bike around Brooklyn with no real destination in mind and I feel like at the end of the story when the Big Guy speaks of “drowning” in Brooklyn he is referring to drowning in a river of curiosity because there is so much to see and learn about Brooklyn. I can relate to that feeling very well and I think I feel the same way The Big Guy feels toward Brooklyn.

At the Brooklyn Historical Society, I saw a map in 1874 and a photo in 1958. (for details, see below). Even though things may have changed as far as what they look like now, I think the division of the areas of Brooklyn are mostly the same as far as the map goes. In the photo you can see a real change with the train station being simpler and the all houses being lower.

Map: Atlas of New Utrecht, Kings County, New York, 1874
from Brooklyn Historical Society

Photo : View From N. end of 62nd s. station B.M.T. 60th st. looking N.E. 1958
from Brooklyn Historical Society[gallery]



Utopia and Dystopia in the two stories by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

First of all, to define the terms “Utopia” and “Dystopia” in a dictionary, Utopia is an ideal place or state which has any visionary system of political or social perfection. Dystopia is the antonym of “Utopia” which is defined as a society characterized by human misery, as squalor, oppression, disease, and overcrowding.
Between the two stories “The cottagette” and “The yellow wall paper”, it is obvious which one is which. The cottagette shows us an example of a liberal form of marriage even in an era where people’s attitude toward the gender roles is very conservative. Whereas “The yellow wall paper” shows us how strictly the wife is controlled by her husband.
In the cottagette, Mr. Mathews proposes to Malda a condition in their marriage that she musn’t do house work but must keep doing what she loves as an embroidery artist, and he takes the part of cook which he has been for his life. People’s idea of typical gender roles today is getting more equivocal in their marriage comparing to the setting of the story in early 20th century. People tend to respect what their partners do regardless of their sex in the modern society. However, Mr. Mathews idea must be an unusual surprise. The outcome of their marriage life isn’t written in the story. So we’re only able to imagine if Mr. Mathews suggestion would work well for them. It might be a tough challenge in the time, or might successfully work. In any case, I believe his is the novel approach and respectful thought toward what she does is the very factor of Utopia which actually means the progress of a woman’s right.
On the other hand, in the Yellow Wall Paper, Mr. John’s attitude toward his wife is oppressive about her self-expression, although he really loves her and worries about her as both positions of a husband and a doctor. We could read that he never intended to hurt her from the context. However, I think he doesn’t see her as an person rather as his possession. So she should not have any duties and also any rights. I believe human beings construct their identity and the meaning of their existence through interaction with others in the society or express themselves freely. What if your freedom of expression and exchanges with others are taken away because you are supposed to be an obedient wife and exist as just an accessory to your husband. Nervous breakdown could occur at any moment like it happened to John’s wife.