Point of View in the Yellow Wallpaper

1032 Words5 Pages
An unreliable narrator is one whose narration is not credible and their audience may not always believe what the narrator is telling them. The point of view Charlotte Gilman’s first person narrative, The Yellow Wallpaper, allows the audience to see the struggle of sanity versus insanity within the narrator. Gilman leaves the reader questioning the narrator’s reliability, due to the narrators declining mental stability. The narrator’s skewed perception of her mental health unfortunately means the serene environment will not provide the rest needed to recover from her depression. Such isolated atmosphere and forced solitary confinement eventually envelops the narrator in her insanity. While receiving conflicting information from the narrator herself, the reader becomes aware of the narrator's decline in mental health. In Charlotte Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”, the narrator’s skewed perceptions of her surroundings and mental state, along with her inconsistent narration, reflects her incomprehension of the reality of her declining mental health leaving the audience left in a similar state of confusion. The narrator and her physician husband, John, rent a mansion for the summer so she may recuperate from what is described as a nervous condition. Although the narrator does not believe that she is actually ill, John is convinced that she is suffering from a “temporary nervous depression” (Gillman 12), and prescribes rest and isolation as her treatment. She is confined to bed rest in a former nursery and is forbidden from working or writing. In the narrator’s eyes, she is living in an old nursery at the top of an ancestral hall due to an unspecific psychological illness. She continually expresses gratitude that her illness is not too serious, but she has the wrong perception of her mental health and unfortunately, the isolated atmosphere eventually envelops
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