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the yellow wallpaper

Loving Villain/ A Villain With A Good Heart
A human being is not a one-dimensional creature. Most of the times there are many sides to a person
which does not let us define them into a single characteristic. Charlotte Perkins Gilman in her “The
Yellow Wallpaper” depicts the story of a woman with psychological problem whose husband John
although wants her to be better again but is not sympathetic to her problems. John’s character in the
story lets us see that a person may be the villain of another’s story, but it does not mean he is wholly
evil. In the story, John does love his wife and tries to make her feel better but his insensitive words and
doing things inconsiderately hurts her feelings. Even though because of his controlling nature, bossy
attitude, he is careless, neglects her as a patient and wife and fails to be a good husband; his intention
towards his wife is always good and thus he may be a villain for his wife but is not a bad person
In the story, John being a reputed physician believes that his wife’s condition is not serious and thus acts
callously when she says something or expresses her wishes. the story is written in the time period of the
late 1800s when not much is known about mental conditions and their cures. So even though John
knows that his wife has not been feeling well, he does not believe that she has a serious condition and
needs special treatment. “You see he does not believe I am sick!” “He knows there is no reason to
suffer, and that satisfies him.” He just says that she needs to change her air and take complete rest
without doing anything. Moreover, he neglects her when she says that she needs to do something in
order to feel better, but he forbids her. “There comes John, and I must put this away, - he hates to have
me write a word.” Even when his wife believes that writing may help her voice her emotions and cab
help her, John does not believe it and even instructs Jennie to keep watch over her so that she does not
do any kind of work and only rests as per his instructions.
John does care about his wife in his own way, and it is seen in the way how he leases a mansion to care
for her. However, his obstinate way of handling stuff and bossy nature negates everything he does for
her in her eyes. In some parts of the stories there are glimpses of how much John loves his wife and
wishes for her to be well. “He said I was his darling and his comfort and all he had, and that I must take
care of myself for his sake and keep well” Here it can be seen that John genuinely adores his wife and
thinks of her as precious. On the other hand, John is an egoistic male who believes he knows the best
about his wife’s condition and ignores jane or silences her when she tries to voice her concerns over her
own health. Once when his wife is trying to tell him that even though she might be well physically,
mentally she is still suffering. John stops her immediately and asks her not to let these kinds of
dangerous and foolish ideas into her head. He says, “It is a false and foolish fancy. Can you not trust me
as a physician when I tell you so?" all of John’s unsympathetic words and deeds push his wife away from
her. there comes a point when Jane starts to get angry at John and John still dismisses her feelings and
tells her to control herself. At the end, he starts to monitor every little thing his wife does but still does
not listen to what she has to say properly, and all of this makes her even more paranoid. She writes in
her diary, “The fact is I am getting a little afraid of John.”
John is an extremely practical human being and his very concrete views of the world and belief in his
own knowledge make him an inadequate husband for his mentally sick wife. His intention towards his
wife is always pure. However, his way of callously forcing his wife to get better does not work and makes
him a villain in his wife’s eyes. She starts to first get angry at him, then becomes distrustful towards him
and finally even becomes scared of him. But as George R. R. Martin says, “Nobody is a villain in their
own story. We’re all the heroes of our own stories.” John may have been a villain in his wife’s story but
he himself never believes that he is doing anything wrong. Moreover, he believes that whatever he is
doing will help his wife and even his wife never questions his love for her. Thus, to say that John is
absolutely evil will be wrong as he is a villain for his wife but not a cold hearted person in general.