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Irony in The Yellow Wallpaper

Irony Examples in The Yellow Wallpaper:

The Yellow Wallpaper

🔒 4

"It strikes me occasionally, just as a scientific hypothesis,—that perhaps it is the paper!..."   (The Yellow Wallpaper)

Ironically employing scientific jargon, the narrator sublty mocks her husband’s superiority. Here, she turns his “wisdom” on its head, running her own scientific experiment and observing her husband’s strange behavior.

"I am a doctor, dear, and I know. ..."   (The Yellow Wallpaper)

In an effort to establish his credibility and superiority over his wife, John asserts that since he is a doctor, he knows better than she. Readers should note the irony as he states that the narrator is getting better when she is clearly only getting worse. The narrator tries to stand up for herself, but John patronizingly quiets her again, saying “Bless her little heart!”

"And dear John gathered me up in his arms, and just carried me upstairs and laid me on the bed, and sat by me and read to me till it tired my head...."   (The Yellow Wallpaper)

In another instance of infantilization, John coddles the narrator and lays her down to rest. Notice the irony as John asks the narrator to take care of herself, when in fact his very treatment of her—his prescriptions, his isolating her, and his complete oppression of her every choice—has caused her to descend into madness.

"frieze..."   (The Yellow Wallpaper)

The word “frieze” is a term in classical architecture for the space between the architrave and the cornice, above the columns in the upper horizontal portions of a building. Along with the diagonal breadths, the horizontal breadths add to the mayhem of the wallpaper. In total, the narrator envisions the maddening interplay of the vertical “columns of fatuity,” the diagonal breaths “of wallowing seaweed,” and the horizontal breadths in the frieze.

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