Protagonist’s Responsibility for Predicament Faced in the Yellow Wallpaper

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The protagonist in the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman has entirely no responsibility for the predicament she faces. The protagonist is affected by the environment that she is in as well as by what she is forced to do with her time while having the psychological disorder that she has. The combination of the disorder, her disliked surroundings, and being forced to do what she does not want to are what in the end, causes her to be at such a terrible state. Unable to control any of these things, she is ultimately not responsible for what happens. Gilman’s main character can do nothing about the psychological disorder that she has. Though her husband and brother want to help her, their misunderstanding of the condition makes them unable to provide a way for her to help herself. She wants and tries to overcome her disorder, but never succeeds. At one point in the story, it is shown to us that the main character gives effort to heal her psychological problem, announcing, “I take pains to control myself” (598). Not knowing the severity of her condition is another reason why she is unable to find a way to overcome it. She thinks that her “case is not serious” (599). With no control of her environment and surroundings, the main character in the short story is led to her slow decline in mental health. In fact, she has as little control as to the point where she cannot even choose what room she and her husband is to have. Even though she “[does] not like [their] room a bit. … ”, she is left with no choice since her husband “… would not here of it” (598). Later in the story, we learn that she is also limited to what people she is to be around; her husband will not let her have her Cousin Henry and Julia over to visit. To top everything off, she additionally has no power over where she is to go in terms of residence. Her husband is the

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