Analysis of The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Gilman

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Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses her short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” to express her opinions about feminism and originality. Gilman does so by taking the reader through the terrors of one woman's psychological disorder, her entire mental state characterized by her encounters with the wallpaper in her room. She incorporates imagery and symbolism to show how confined the narrator is because of her gender and mental illness.
Gilman incorporates strong imagery throughout "The Yellow Wallpaper" to set the scene for the story and foreshadow the certain madness that is to come of the narrator. As the story progresses, so does the woman's declining mental status. An example of how imagery is used to display the inferiority of women is the fact that the woman in the story is confined to the old nursery room for most of her time. Gilman describes the room as "It was nursery first and then playroom and gymnasium...windows barred for little children" (Gilman 311). The woman focuses often on the wallpaper of the nursery. It is described as, "flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin..the color is repellent...a smoldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight." The fact that she focuses so meticulously on the yellow wallpaper shows her crazed psyche. Later in the story, the narrator writes, "There is a recurrent spot where the pattern lolls like a broken neck and two bulbous eyes stare at you upside down...up and down and sideways they crawl...those absurd unblinking eyes everywhere" This makes the reader feel uneasy and explicitly details the madness of her neurosis.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses her short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” to express her opinions about feminism and originality. Gilman does so by t...

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...she sees in the wallpaper is trapped behind the pattern, just like the narrator is trapped in the room. The woman’s mental status gets so deteriorated that she has a breaking point when she “escapes” her imprisonment. The author writes, “Then I peeled off all the paper I could reach standing on the floor” (320). Taking down the wallpaper symbolizes her finally freeing herself.
Charlotte Gilman accomplishes her goal of spreading awareness about the oppression of women by forcing the readers to dig deep into The Yellow Wallpaper. The imagery and symbolism in the story is powerful. The woman’s emotional downfall is disturbing but the narrator until she exclaims, "I've got out at last, in spite of [John] and Jane. And I've pushed off most of the paper so you can't put me back" (172). The ending symbolizes the freedom for women that Gilman would like to see in the world.
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