A Comparison of the Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Gilman and Porphyria's Lover by Robert Browning

In the story, The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Gilman and the poem, Porphyria’s Lover, by Robert Browning, both have a theme called mental illness portrays many emotions and how they evolve in the person who is dealing with this illness Mental illness is “a disorder that affects your mood and thinking behavior” (Mayoclinic). In the Yellow Wallpaper, a doctor and his wife who is also his patient, settles into their new home Since he is her doctor, he convinces himself that he can cure the “illness” of his wife when in fact she was never ill to begin with.

He shows his treatment for his wife by the “rest cure” thinking that she would feel comfortable that way, when instead it made her condition worser To begin with, it was Johns fault for making his wife‘s madness because he never took her seriously. In the poem, Porphyria‘s Lover, Porphyria comes home to her lover after being in a rain storm and begins to show affection towards him but in return, he ends up murdering her.

In this case, the mental illness comes from a theory of not wanting anyone else to have what he has so he murders his lover thinking it was for her own good.

But in both, The Yellow Wallpaper and Porphyria ‘s Lover, two narratives show consequences of unequal relationship in which the male partner has control over the femaleBoth Gilman‘s story and Browning’s poem feature male characters who want to help their female partners In the Yellow Wallpaper, the female has anillness and becomes very possessive about her bedroom wallpaper, “still I will proudly declare that there is something queer about it” (Gilman 647).

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She believes that she can fix her illness herself but instead, her husband John thinks he knows what’s best for her. To cure her illness, John demands that his wife stays in their bedroom and meant to, “repaper the wallpaper but afterwards, he said I was letting it get the better of me” (Gilman 649). She describes the room to be an old nursery that has barred windows for little children and explains to the reader how awful the wallpaper wast Her description of the wallpaper was, “It was dull enough to confuse the eye in following” and as she scopes out the room she continues her examination by saying that if one can, “follow the lame uncertain curves for a little distance they suddenly commit suicide”.

Even though she continues to feel something off about the house, she still fuels a desire to have company, go outside, write or do work but she is forbidden to do so, “I believe that congenial work, with excitement and Change, would do me good” (Gilman 648) The only thing she can do is sit in her room while trying to cure her illness but is not doing her any good If anything, this leads to her becoming even more possessive of the wallpaper claiming that she, “will follow that pointless pattern to some sort of conclusion” knowing that she is not the only one in the room When John is off at work, she scopes around the room to find any evidence that there is something wrong with the wallpaper, She notices that there were torn off spots of the wallpaper claiming that it was out of hatred towards it The floor, “is scratched and gouged and splintered, the plaster itself dug out here and there, and the bed that was left here, looks like it has been through wars” (Gilman 650).

She envisions a woman creeping around the room behind the wallpaper and seems to, “shake the pattern as if she wanted to get out” (Gilman 652) At first she was not sure, but later on kept analyzing the walls and saw a figure of a woman. With these clues that she finds, her obsession reaches its peak when she begins to tear down the wallpaper to save the woman. She gets angry “enough to do something desperate” and starts creeping around the room just like the woman behind the wallpaper (Gilman 655), John comes home and finds his wife, mentally ill and not herself anymore and faints. He realizes what he has created and only has himself to blame In Porphyria‘s Lover, the gender role of who has the mental illness switchest It is now the male who has the illness and feels competitive, more so, possessive over Porphyriashe comes home to snuggle up with him on the couch and begins to show passion towards him She whispers how she loves “him and begins to show, “her smooth white shoulder bare” (Browninglln his mind, he thinks that she is, “giving herself to me forever” and wants him to know that by this sexual move (Browning).

He claimed that, “Porphyria worshipped me, made my heart swell and it still grew” (Browning),As of everything that is occurring he is overwhelmed that he is hers and no one else‘s and plans on having that for the rest of his life. This is overwhelming feeling leads to his mental illness by becoming emotionally attached to Porphyria, He says that he is, “debating on what to do” with all this love that he is feeling, In return, he ends up murdering Porphyria, by strangling her throat with her blonde hair and assumes that she, “felt no pain”, thinkingthat the murder is what she wanted He continues to assume that he did the right thing and that, “god has not said a word” (Browning) His obsessive love with Porphyria was everything that he wanted and did not want anyone else to have what he has. As a result he physically and mentally claims her love as his and seems satisfied In both story and poem, even though there were reversed roles of who was mentally ill, it became clear that one was accidently forced to become mentally ill, thinking that he was only trying to do what he thought was right and the other also, thinking what he did was right but with initially having the idea of murdering his loveri

One of the signs for being mentally ill would be, “obsessive compulsive disorder” and this was shown in both story and poem (NAMI). In the Yellow Wallpaper, John should have been more open and listen to what his patient would have to say about her treatments. She was never given a chance to speak up and ended up destroying herself becoming something that you would normally see in a horror film In Porphyriu’s Lover, he became so involved with thinking of what to do with all this love that his lover is giving him, He should have thought twice before murdering his lover and with that result, she is no longer present to continue their relationship togetheri For people who are becoming or diagnosed with this, “cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, peer support groups and other community services can also be components of a treatment plan and that assist with recovery”, all of which John did not do considering he was a doctor (NAMI). He just left her to fend for herself in a way which made things worse, But with Porphyria’s lover, she did not know what was heading her way or even expected it, so this became a quick to reaction to what he thought was what she wanted and does not feel guilty about what he has done So in both The Yellow Wallpaper and Porphyria’s Lover, they both demonstrate the consequences of unequal relationships creating this mental madness

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A Comparison of the Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Gilman and Porphyria's Lover by Robert Browning. (2022, Nov 10). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/a-comparison-of-the-yellow-wallpaper-by-charlotte-gilman-and-porphyria-s-lover-by-robert-browning/

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