The Yellow Wallpaper

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The Yellow Wallpaper Fourth Entry Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The narrator feels almost too weak to write, but she needs to express herself in some way to find relief. She has lost strength, and John administers a whole range of treatments. She tries to convince him to let her leave the house and visit her cousins, but cries and cannot finish.
The diary is the narrator’s only remaining outlet for self-expression. John’s treatments ignore her true sickness. Her failure to convince him to leave shows their inability to communicate, as she is trapped by her husband’s authority.
Themes
Mental Illness and its Treatment  Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Domestic Life Theme Icon
Outward Appearance vs. Inner Life Theme Icon
Self-Expression, Miscommunication, and Misunderstanding Theme Icon
John carries her gently upstairs in his arms and reads to her until she is too tired. He tells her she must use her self control and not allow her silly fancies to take over, since he loves her too dearly to see her unwell.
Here, John is a sympathetic, loving husband. He too, though, is trapped by traditional gender roles, which leave him completely unable to understand his wife’s inner life.
Themes
Mental Illness and its Treatment  Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Domestic Life Theme Icon
Outward Appearance vs. Inner Life Theme Icon
Self-Expression, Miscommunication, and Misunderstanding Theme Icon
The narrator finds one positive side to living in the nursery: it means that her baby is not exposed to the horrible wallpaper, and can be happy and well. She has stopped mentioning the wallpaper to her husband and Jennie, but she watches it more and more closely. She can make out the dim figure behind the pattern more clearly now: it is the repeated shape of a woman, stooping down and creeping around. She wishes John would take her away from the house.
The baby is a reminder of the role that the narrator is neglecting. Her relationship to the wallpaper becomes more secretive, as her isolation grows and her self-expression is restricted to this diary. The woman trapped within the wallpaper is almost a new companion. She senses a danger in this realization.
Themes
Mental Illness and its Treatment  Theme Icon
Gender Roles and Domestic Life Theme Icon
Outward Appearance vs. Inner Life Theme Icon
Self-Expression, Miscommunication, and Misunderstanding Theme Icon