Analysis of The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Gilman


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Analysis of The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Gilman

The "Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Gilman is a great story about the repression of women in the late 1800's but is still representative of issues faced by women today. She writes from her own personal experiences and conveys a message that sometimes in a male dominated society women suffer from the relentless power that some men implement over women.
The narrator is suffering from a mild depression that her physician husband has prescribed complete bed rest in order for her to recover. During their summer vacation, she is confined to a room at the top of the house where she can see the world passing her by day in and day out. Her brother who is also a physician concurs with her husband's prescription leaving her with no option but to succumb to the torment of being left alone in the room with the yellow wallpaper.
She is left with no choice but to stare at the wallpaper endlessly and begins to see things within the pattern. She insists there is a woman behind the paper "and she is all the time trying to climb through. But nobody could climb through that pattern-it strangles so" (667). This is representative to women's power being "strangled" by man and that there are women everywhere trying to escape and break free from the suppression and she sees herself as one of those woman behind the wallpaper creeping around trying to get out.
The narrator tears and rips at the wallpaper by day to release the image from behind the pattern that haunts her at night. During the day she refrains from looking out the windows because "there are so many of those creeping women" and she begins to "wonder if they all came out of the wallpaper" as she did (668). She represents the struggle of being so close to freedom from the dominating male society but not able to free her spirit from confines of her own world just yet.

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To suppress a social being, as women very much are, is to suppress the spirit and soul of that person. The narrator was a product of society that keeps women at the lowest segment and she ultimately prevails over her husband, as well as herself, in freeing her soul and providing inspiration to other women to go ahead creep around openly and freely in order to save their sanity.


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