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Yellow Wallpaper and Narrator Unreliability sample essay

After reading many short stories I have decided that “The Yellow Wallpaper” is the best example to illustrate narrator unreliability. There are many reasons why the narrator was unreliable in this story and one of them is because she lied about the way she was feeling. She would even lie to herself by saying she was getting better, however her condition was only getting worse. Although, this was her husband’s fault because he wanted the idea of getting better to get into her head. Another reason that has to be taken into account is that she is telling this story from the first person and the first person is always unreliable because everyone sees everything differently and they also depict the truth differently. She is very mentally unstable and disturbed and the amount of credibility she can give to the story is very limited.

The reader knew that she was mentally unstable right from the start of the book when it is said, “but John says the worst thing I can do is think about my condition.” (Gilman 78) This is also ironic because the narrator can only help but to think about her condition throughout the story. She also left out information for example, “I have found out another thing, but I shan’t tell it this time! It does not do to trust people too much.” (89) This shows that the narrator has found something on the wallpaper but chooses not to tell the reader because it cannot be trusted.

Her condition is only getting worse to the point where she starts seeing a woman behind the wallpaper and it gives her excitement and tricks her into believing that she is getting better. A quote to prove this is, “Life is very much more exciting now than it used to be. You see I have something more to expect, to look forward to, to watch. I really do eat better, and am more quiet than I was.” (87) This quote goes to show that the narrator sees a woman behind the wallpaper and feels like she is getting better, but in reality she is only seeing herself trapped and getting worse, therefore making the narrator unreliable.

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