The Yellow Wallpaper
by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Character Role Analysis
John, and the rest of patriarchal society
On the face of it, John is the primary obstacle standing in the way of the narrator’s desires to pick her own bedroom, spend her time writing, and hang out with friends. He tells her where to sleep, what medicines to take, whom she can hang out with, and even whether her health is improving. To pin John down as the bad guy, however, would be to miss an important component of the story. The narrator’s brother holds many of the same opinions as John, and one of the narrator’s female friends also receives poor medical treatment at the hands of a male doctor. To shorten matters, although John may represent the greatest antagonist within this story, he serves as an embodiment of greater antagonistic societal forces.