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Super Wallpaper Lady Essay, Research Paper

Super Yellow Wallpaper Women

A hero is defined as “a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability” (MW). Throughout literature a male character is usually blessed with the heroic role. “The Yellow Wallpaper” appears to contradict that statement. The narrator in this story tries to overcome and destroy women’s oppression. She appears to be mentally unstable and so it is hard to distinguish her as a heroic figure. Although the narrator in “The Yellow Wallpaper” appears to be loosing her mind she is in actuality a magnificent hero in disguise.

A hero must have an evil villain. A villain’s main objective is to find the hero’s weak spot and cause a lot of chaos in their life. The hero must stop this villain and make him cease his evil ways. In the story, John, the narrator’s husband, a physician, appears to take the roll of the villain. He is not actually out to harm his wife but he will not use all of his resources to help her like a normal husband should. The husband just will not listen to his wife. She claimed that she was very sick but he thought otherwise. The narrator says:

“If a physician of high standing, and one’s own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression-a slight hysterical tendency-what is one to do”(1213)?

The narrator believed that the house they were living in was a major contribution to her illness but her plea, was ignored. The narrator says “I really was not gaining here and I wish he would take me away” (1218). John’s not listening to the narrator is an ideal characteristic of an evil villain. The real reason why she was sick was because something inside her wanted to get out. The evil villain husband appears to be holding our hero hostage, not letting her trapped soul escape. In the end the narrator rips down her wallpaper to offset her villain. The narrator says “Now why should that man have fainted? But he did, and right across my path by the wall so that I had to creep over him every time” (1222). In most cases a villain dies but this villain was shown who the boss is.

A hero usually has a sidekick. A sidekick is the hero’s friend that usually is taken hostage by the villain. The women in the wallpaper tends to fit this description. The narrator treats her as a friend that she watches every night. The narrator says “I don’t want anyone to get that women out at night but myself” (1219). A sidekick’s courage never surpasses that of the hero. The narrator seems to have a lot of courage when she is constantly speaking with her villainous husband without the slightest fear. But the sidekick appears to be afraid of John because she does not make her presence known unless he is asleep. So the villan holds her hostage in the wallpaper during the day. There is a good possibility that the woman is the narrator’s sidekick.

A hero must have an obstacle to overcome that hinders them and others. The narrator seems to be very sick but her husband John will not help her get better. He treats her with outdated medical treatments and he will not try newer ones. The narrator says “I take phosphates or phosphites-whichever it is-and tonics, and air exercise and journeys, and I am absolutely forbidden to work until I am well again. Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good” (1213). If she could only have treated herself then she probably would have become more mentally stable. Though it seems the narrator is sick, her sickness is actually symbolic of her old fashioned ways of living as a women. To overcome this obstacle she becomes a new more modern woman.

Another obstacle that the narrator had to overcome was her sidekick’s confinement. She appeared to be trapped in the wallpaper as if it were a jail cell. The narrator says “As soon as it was moonlight and that poor thing began to crawl and shake the pattern, I got up and ran to help her” (1221). To leap over this obstacle the narrator tries to free her sidekick from the wallpaper. The narrator says “I pulled and she shook. I shook and she pulled, and before morning we had peeled off yards of that wallpaper” (1221). To overcome the obstacle of freeing the women in the wallpaper she destroyed her captive structure.

The most important trait a hero must have is the ability to give up their life for what they believe in. At the end of the story, the narrator releases her sidekick. Right then it appears that our mentally ill narrator losses her life. The narrator says “I’ve got out at last,’ said I,’ in spite of you and Jane.’ And I’ve pulled off most of the paper so you can’t put me back” (1222). The narrator, whose name is finally hinted as being Jane, does a good deed by releasing her partner. She gives up her life of old womanhood to be replaced with new womenhood like a hero.

It is strange to say someone is a hero when there chatting with and ripping down wallpaper, but it symbolizes something far more than that. Here, insanity was the ancient style women, one that wears big dresses, does all the cleaning and takes care of the kids. The narrator was tired of this man-oppressed life and she became a women who wanted to share the chores of life with her husband. The narrator was going to change regardless and she even stepped over her husband to finish her transition. Not only is she a hero in the story she is heroic to all women.

COMIC RELIEF

Look, who is that, an escaped mental patient, a women’s lib activist, no its Super Wallpaper Lady. She rips off wallpaper faster than an interior decorator, stronger than an oppressed women, able to leap villainous husbands in a single bound.

MS- Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary at Webster.com, (July 19, 2000)

Western Literature in a World Context by, Paul Davis, Gary Harrison, David M. Johnson,

Patricia Clark Smith, John F. Crawford.


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