The yellow wallpaper is a story dominated by the protagonist, as she is isolated from the world and society except for the servant girl Jennie and her husband John. The advantages of using first person narrative in this article are the strong emotional and mental link with the protagonist, which can be portrayed much more effectively than any other perspective of the story. Also the point of view on Johns and the other characters, however few, actions and comments are biased to the protagonists thoughts and feelings.
The protagonist also has a closer relationship with the audience than if it were in another perspective and the reader had more segregation from the main character. The first person perspective allow the protagonist to collude with the reader, this collusion would not be possible with third person perspective and second person perspective could only give another persons view of the events and with this story they would have had to have been a fly on the wall.
The protagonist can make the reader sympathize with her in a way which can portray her as the victim of isolation with the only mental stimulus being the maddening, encompassing visage of the faded and tattered wallpaper that invades her thoughts and cognitions overwhelmingly to such an extent that it destroys all sense reality in her mind. “I never saw so much expression in a thing before, and we all know how much expression they have”, this quote show her collusion with the reader and the conversing of her, at this stage, fascination with the paper.
The protagonist can get the reader involved by sharing secrets that “he [John] hates to have me write a word” but she still secretly journalises the events until the last couple of days when she seems to be writing the events as the happen, as if part of her obsession is to document her discoveries of the encapsulating wallpaper that enthrals her. A biased opinion can be given by the first person narrative, this opinion shows John to be acting against the will of the protagonist, but because of her social place at the time it was seen as wrong for her to question him so she puts her views on paper “you see he does not believe I am sick!
And what is one to do? ” The story cannot portray Johns reasons for her confinement or his banning of writing and any mental exercise. The first person view can show the deterioration of the protagonists’ mental state as she slides into delusion. At the beginning of the text she admits that there is something wrong “I never used to be so sensitive. I think it is due to this nervous condition. ” But later on she shows here blatant derangement “This bed will not move!
I tried to lift it and push it until I was lame, and then I got so angry I bit off a little piece at the corner – but it hurt my teeth” this shows her unthinking and irrational nature, she noticed earlier on that the bed is nailed to the floor. The language of the text alters showing her slowly shifting mental state. The story begins with normal language typical of the era that it was written in but it slowly becomes more erratic and obsessive.
The language also becomes more darkly descriptive as her perception changes: “It [the wallpaper] sticks horribly and the pattern just enjoys it! All those strangled heads and bulbous eyes and waddling fungus growths just shriek with derision” this is a much less bright and colourful portrayal of her environment than before. Before she presents the paper as “One of those sprawling, flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin. ” this is a less obsessive and much brighter view of the paper.
This story of “The Yellow Wallpaper” would not have the same powerful effect on the reader if it were written from another point of view. The protagonist could not collude with the audience, she could not ask rhetorical questions and she could not make the reader involved with her defiant, secret acts of writing. The reader could not feel as if they were hiding with her and the reader could not be persuaded to take her side on the issues arising from the paper and her confinement.
The whole script would be a hollow and boring case study of a seemingly mad woman if it was not told by her, she brings life to the story. The protagonist could not ask “but what is one to do? ” with the same half asking the audience. I think that the effectiveness of the first person perspective in “the Yellow Wallpaper” is much more involving for the reader and it makes the story seem more real than any other way of writing.