Written to portray the suffering of women during the nineteenth century, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s, The Yellow Wallpaper, in an intriguing semi-autobiographical short story. Gilman uses symbolism to enhance the reader 's understanding of mental illness, in particular, Gilman strives to portray the true hardship of being a woman with a mental illness. To create this meaning, Gilman uses symbols such as deteriorating wall paper, the colour yellow, and the image of bars. Though this short story was written for a nineteenth century audience, it’s message created through symbolism rings true for those trying to understand mental illness today.
One of the first symbols Gilman brings to importance is the wallpaper, which is a direct reflection of the narrators deteriorating health.This is made evident through the evolution of the wallpapers pattern, she fixates on over the duration of her stay in the nursery. Initially, the narrator does not want to stay in the nursery with the wallpaper even stating that, “I never saw a worse paper in my life.”(Gilman, 191) Through the use of this quotation it is revealed to the readers that the decision to stay in the yellow wallpapered room was not the narrators, but is made by her husband, who also serves as her physician. Believing the nursery is the best place for his wife to stay, the narrator 's husband creates the focus for her hysteria. Throughout the short story the narrator 's descriptions of the yellow wallpaper begin to alter to the point where she no longer rejects it, but embraces it’s presence. No longer does she “want to go outside...For outside...everything is green instead of yellow.”(191) The narrator’s reason is replaced by hysteria, which continues to worsen until the wallpap...
... middle of paper ...
...ay out of this mental cage. Gilman accurately presents the importance of the bars as a symbol in The Yellow Wall-Paper when describing how closed off and encaged a person with a mental illness may be from the world, physically, socially and most significant, mentally.
Perkins Gilman wrote The Yellow Wall-Paper to portray her own suffering as a mentally unstable woman in the nineteenth century, but she achieved much more than that. Through her use of symbolism, Gilman aids the readers knowledge of mental illness without explicitly stating it as such. The use of symbols such as the sickly colour yellow, the encircling bars, and the surrounding of the crumbling wallpaper, portray the severity of mental illnesses. Gilman’s massage of mental illness is brought to life through her vivid use of these symbols, and therefore can be easily understood by any audience.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- "The Yellow Wallpaper" by the American writer Charlotte Gilman published in 1892 displays a gothic theme of the gender divide and inequality between men and women in this time period . This short story follows the journal of a woman who is struggling with a serious mental illness , and how she is perceived and criticized by others close to her. Throughout the story we see her descend from sanity due to the lack of knowledge at the time, as well as the mistreatment of women. Gilman craftily conveys this woman 's experience in such an accurate way because she herself suffered from a similar illness and was put under the "rest cure”.... [tags: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper]
1361 words (3.9 pages)
- ... Based on the narrator’s description of the room, the reader learns that the “windows are barred for little children” and that there are “rings and things in the walls” (534). Using these observations, the narrator determines that the room was first “a nursery, then playroom and gymnasium” (534). However, taking a closer look at the setting of the room, the reader realizes that the narrator isn’t exactly seeing things as they are and probably is in denial. From the reader’s perspective, the room is most likely one of a patient in an insane asylum.... [tags: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper]
1089 words (3.1 pages)
- ... With this in mind, a new outlook on her degrading mental state can be reached in regards to her inability to express herself due to the resting cure. The main character frequently references her desire to do any amount of creative exercise, saying that it would “… relieve the press of ideas and rest [her]”(239). As the story progresses, her creative intuition is turned into a negative force, as she becomes obsessive over the patterns within the yellow wallpaper. She talks of the various figments that she sees within the wallpaper, such as a “pattern [that] lolls like a broken neck and two bulbous eyes” (239).... [tags: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper]
991 words (2.8 pages)
- Charlotte Gilman’s short story “The Yellow wallpaper” is about a woman who retreats into an obsessive fantasy, due to the fact that she feels imprisoned in a marriage where she has little to no say in her own life. We learn in the beginning of the story that our character suffers from a nervous disorder, that we now know today as post-partum depression. In the search for a treatment our Narrators husband, John, prescribes “Rest Therapy”. The “Rest Therapy” that is prescribed prevents her from “working”, seeing friends, and enforces isolation.... [tags: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper]
1168 words (3.3 pages)
- PPPP Inequality is something that 's plagued almost every society throughout time. Whether it be one 's skin color to the paycheck a person makes, its a prominent disbalance that 's thrown off every culture. One group subjected to such torment has been females. Women were disparaged against well into the 20th century and were only seen fit for domestic functions. Charlotte Gilman 's short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper” challenges the social normalities of the early eighteenth century. While back in its time period this novel was read as a tale of horror, now being a more cultivated society, audiences can depict this short story for what Gilman truly intended.... [tags: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper]
1749 words (5 pages)
- Sometimes the only way to stay sane is to go a little crazy. Charlotte Gilman presents this ideology throughout her short story The Yellow Wallpaper. In this narrative, the ongoing struggle of a mentally insane woman, who is being medically treated by her husband, is told from her perspective. The controlling husband feels as though his way of medical treatment will eventually cure his wife’s mental state. As he becomes more adamant in his medical treatment, it is only pushing his wife further into an unstable mental mindset.... [tags: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper]
727 words (2.1 pages)
- ... Davison also defends Gilman’s writing reflects how gender is a vital component in society and men and women are judged in different ways. However, Davison states that Female Gothic is an unconventional female conduct guide that allows women not to limit themselves to marriage and motherhood. Usually, Gothic literature tends to lean on the romance with a supernatural element as well as the human emotions where those feelings are typically hidden away from society. Davison expresses that the “repressed anxieties are explored and exposed” (55).... [tags: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper]
1532 words (4.4 pages)
- The Way Out Discrimination is a common conception that is widely spread out due to the sad occurrence of gender segregation. Many have implemented similar frustrated feelings toward this subject in works of art and literature. Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the author behind the well-known short story The Yellow Wallpaper, faced similar problems of that of the main character in her short story. The narrator in the story finds herself in an uncomfortable state of problems. In The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman the narrator faces a physical conflict with her husband, and a mental conflict with The Wallpaper, but these conflicts eventually lead to a solution to the story.... [tags: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper]
1748 words (5 pages)
- ... The protagonist crept to move toward what she desired, freedom. Gilman made the protagonist childlike to illustrate how the image men had of women as childlike drove women to breakdown. Next, the pattern of the wallpaper reflects the mixed feelings of the narrator herself. It is dull, irritating, repellent, unclean, and suicidal (Gilman, 469). The wallpaper is described as follows: One of those sprawling flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin. It is dull enough to confuse the eye in following, pronounced enough to constantly irritate and provoke study, and when you follow the lame uncertain curves for a little distance they suddenly commit suicide — plunge off at outrageous a... [tags: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper]
1001 words (2.9 pages)
- 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.... [tags: The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Gilman]
301 words (0.9 pages)