Diction In The Yellow Wallpaper, By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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In “The Yellow Wallpaper”, the author, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, through expressive word choice and descriptions, allows the reader to grasp the concepts she portrays and understand the way her unnamed narrator feels as the character draws herself nearer and nearer to insanity. “The Yellow Wallpaper” begins with the narrator writing in a journal about the summer home she and her husband have rented while their home is being remodeled. In the second entry, she mentions their bedroom which contains the horrendous yellow wallpaper. After this, not one day goes by when she doesn’t write about the wallpaper. She talks about the twisting, never-ending pattern; the heads she can see hanging upside-down as if strangled by it; and most importantly the…show more content…
One of the first jarring uses of such harsh, blunt diction is in her third entry when she talks about the pattern and says the lines “suddenly commit suicide” (Gilman). She then goes on to discuss the color, calling it “repellent” and “revolting” (Gilman). She uses words similar to this throughout every entry: “atrocious”, “dreadfully depressing”, “constant irritant”, “torturing”, and “infuriating” are just a few examples (Gilman). Each one of those examples described the wallpaper. Gilman’s staggering word choice allows the reader to be able to understand and even begin to feel the same way her unnamed narrator does. She creates a disturbingly ominous mood which rattles the reader to the core. The reader doesn’t understand fully what is happening, receiving only hints from a very limited viewpoint, until the end when the pieces suddenly begin to fit together. Even then, the reader is left with an unsettling feeling and an uncertainty of what had just happened. Not only does Gilman’s word choice create a distinct feeling in the reader, but it characterizes the narrator as well. The narrator is supposedly writing all of this in a journal which means the words are her own, not the author’s. Creating an environment using such blunt, harsh language, forms an image in the reader’s mind of what type of person the narrator is. By making the narrator use this…show more content…
It is not simple repetition of single words, but discussions she has over and over again. On almost every page the unnamed narrator mentions the horrid color of the wallpaper. Once she notices the woman for the first time it is almost all she talks about. Gilman first mentions the woman on page six then again on seven, the entirety of nine, ten, and suddenly becomes the woman on page eleven. The narrator doesn’t seem as if the wallpaper means so much in the beginning; it is just a minor annoyance, but throughout the story she becomes more and more infatuated with the wallpaper. The wallpaper is first mentioned on page two when the narrator first describes the room. Since then, there is not a single entry that does not mention the wallpaper. By entry four, the wallpaper suddenly knows it’s having an influence on her, then entry five is almost entirely about the wallpaper. As an example of how obsessed the narrator becomes, entry twelve contains 41 lines and 28 of those lines are directly discussing the wallpaper or a characteristic of it and nine discuss the woman in the wallpaper which means a mere four lines do not speak of the wallpaper. She will veer off track every now and then to talk about something else, but she always goes right back to the wallpaper until it is the only thing her entries are about. By providing the reader with this slow descent into
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