The narrator's acceptance of the repression inflicted by her husband is evident early in the story. After commenting on her suspicions about the house, the narrator says of her husband, "John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in a marriage." This comment, though simply meant as an aside, establishes the denigrating quality of the husband-wife relationship. Yet the particularly disturbing aspect of this interaction is the way in which the narrator passively accepts John's patronizing attitude. This is a recurring theme throughout the story. Though John refuses to believe that the narrator suffers from anything more than a nervous depression, the narrator's constant response is "But what is one to do?" The repetition of this phrase indicates the way in which the narrator assigns herself a sense of helplessness. And this seems to be the narrator's downfall. She begins to adopt John's language when she says, "I take great pains to control myself -- around [John] at least, and that makes me very tired." By using his vocabulary to describe her own condition, she becomes restricted by John's rigid and limited capacity of emotion and feeling.