As American society progresses, so do the cultural expectations held for women. However, during the 1800s, women were viewed as inferior and were all together categorized under the domineering man. In “The Yellow Wallpaper”, Charlotte Gilman uses irony, dialect, point of view, and symbolism to illustrate the theme—dangers of subordination of women in marriage, and also the demonization of women in society all together.
In the opening of “The Yellow Wallpaper”, the narrator describes the setting, but gives very little about herself. “It is very seldom that mere ordinary people like John and myself secure ancestral halls for the summer” (Gilman 376). It can only be assumed the narrator is a woman because [she] is married to a man, John, in the 19th century and is said to just of had a baby. Nonetheless, this anonymity of the female narrator strengthens the argument by supporting the faceless label given to women. While some critics have named the narrator ‘Jane Doe’, others have taken to naming her Charlotte, due to the autobiographical relationship Gilman has with this story (Rao 39). By combining the first-person narrator and the present tense narration, Gilman allows readers to see only what Charlotte sees and how she sees it. This gives readers the insight to the feelings of entrapment, isolation, and unreality that Charlotte eventually experiences. Her decline into true madness is gradual and her narrative voice seems to be very level-headed, even when she describes events that one knows are impossible—such as the creeping women in the garden or the woman struggling to free herself from behind her room’s wallpaper—that readers might misinterpret this as a ghost story, rather than an account of Charlo...
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...Journal Of The Australasian University Of Modern Language Association 105 (2006): 35-53. Literary Reference Center Plus. Web. 5 Dec. 2014.
Wiedemann, Barbara. "The Yellow Wallpaper." Short Fiction: A Critical Companion (1997): 64-72. Literary Reference Center Plus. Web. 5 Dec. 2014.
Barth, Melissa E. "The Yellow Wallpaper." Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition (2004): 1-2. Literary Reference Center Plus. Web. 5 Dec. 2014
Rao, K. V. Rama. "The Yellow Wallpaper -- A Dynamic Symbol: A Study Of Charlotte Perkins Gilman 's Story." Poetcrit 19.1 (2006): 38-44. Literary Reference Center Plus. Web. 5 Dec. 2014.
Kerr, Calum A. "Literary Contexts In Short Stories: Charlotte Perkins Gilman 's "The Yellow Wallpaper." Literary Contexts In Short Stories: Charlotte Perkins Gilman 's 'The Yellow Wallpaper ' (2006): 1. Literary Reference Center Plus. Web. 5 Dec. 2014.
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