The Yellow Wallpaper
by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
The Yellow Wallpaper Madness Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Section.Paragraph)
I always fancy I see people walking in these numerous paths and arbors, but John has cautioned me not to give way to fancy in the least. He says that with my imaginative power and habit of story-making, a nervous weakness like mine is sure to lead to all manner of excited fancies, and that I ought to use my will and good sense to check the tendency. So I try.
I think sometimes that if I were only well enough to write a little it would relieve the press of ideas and rest me. (2.22 – 2.23)
John forces the narrator to repress her imagination. While her "habit of story-making" might have found a healthy outlet in writing, repression of her habit instead damages the narrator.
I never saw so much expression in an inanimate thing before, and we all know how much expression they have! I used to lie awake as a child and get more entertainment and terror out of blank walls and plain furniture than most children could find in a toy-store. (2.70)
Since her husband repeatedly treats her like a child, the narrator begins reverting to childlike fancies.
"Better in body perhaps--" I began, and stopped short, for he sat up straight and looked at me with such a stern, reproachful look that I could not say another word. "My darling," said he, "I beg of you, for my sake and for our child's sake, as well as for your own, that you will never for one instant let that idea enter your mind! There is nothing so dangerous, so fascinating, to a temperament like yours. It is a false and foolish fancy. Can you not trust me as a physician when I tell you so?" (5.16 – 5.17)
When she expresses her own opinions, John treats the narrator as though she were crazy. This leads to actual mental illness.