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Does the narrator agree with her husband's diagnosis and treatment of her condition? Who else supports his diagnosis? What effect does this on her?

"The Yellow Wallpaper" Discussion" Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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In Part II, the narrator sees John's sister, Jennie, through the window, noting that she is a caring and perfect housekeeper. The narrator knows that Jennie spies on her and reports to John so she must make sure not to let her see her writing. The narrator also acknowledges that Jennie probably agrees with John on her diagnosis and believes that the writing has made her sick. As soon as the she hears Jennie coming up the stairs, the narrator puts away her writing and assumes a “restful” position.


John gives the narrator tonics and medicines to help with her recovery, but primarily directs her to stop writing. According to Weir Mitchell’s theory, any sort of creative activity will have a detrimental effect on the patient. The narrator does not agree with this part of her treatment and hates not being allowed to write while she rests; she suspects that work would actually speed her recovery. She has been writing occasionally in a small journal, but it is exhausting to do so in secret. The narrator also believes that her condition would improve if she were allowed to have more company. However, John tells her that such stimulation will only aggravate her nervousness.

John's sister Jennie agrees with his diagnosis, the narrator, however, believe that Jennie is trying to take her place.


The Yellow Wallpaper