The story ends with the woman’s husband breaking down the door to find her creeping around the wallpaperless room. After witnessing this the husband proceeds to faint as the wife continues to creep around the room. At face-value of this story is the showing of false ideas and insanities of a woman who is mentally ill. The people that are portrayed in this story by the narrator are the narrator, her husband John, and the sister-in-law and housekeeper Mary. The conflict of this short story is the struggle to stay within the grip of reality.
The “woman” behind the wallpaper is a symbol of women being trapped by mental health. The narrator even says she is the woman who is trapped behind the wallpaper. The woman the describes the wallpaper as a prison, she says, “…worst of all by moonlight, it becomes bars!” (Gilman 426). Gilman is trying to show readers that women have no say in what happens to them when they have mental health problems. The narrator says “Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good.” she knows what she needs but no will believe her.
The protagonist believes that there is a woman trapped by the wall, and that this woman only moves at night with the night light. The allusion to this light is not in the beginning of the story, but in the end. “She begins to strip of the wallpaper at every opportunity in order to free the woman she perceives is trapped inside. Paranoid by now, the narrator attempts to disguise her obsession with the wallpaper.” (Knight, p.81) In the description of the yellow wallpaper and what is seen behind it there are sinister implications that symbolize the closure of the woman. It implies that any intellectual activity is a deviation from their duties as a housewife.
At first she describes the paper as repellant, revolting and horrid. According to a work analysis “Her visions of the creeping women and the woman trapped behind her bedroom’s wallpaper symbolizes her own binding and oppression.” (Barth). This can be proven because towards the end of the story the Narrator locks herself in the bedroom and is able to “creep” around as she pleases. She states “I suppose I shall have to get back behind the pattern when it comes night, and that is hard!” (489). Gilman symbolically relates the pattern of the wallpaper as the Narrators relationship with John.
The focus of her surroundings is narrowed to the point that she exists only in the bedroom, fearing the outdoors and limiting her contact with other people. The wallpaper provides the foundation for her fantasy world and represents breaking away from the confinement of her prescribed treatment and the loss of her sanity. The narrator is unable to fulfill her intellectual needs, whether it is by writing, interacting with friends and family, or experiencing changes in her prescribed daily routine. The wallpaper develops details and animation as the story progresses and symbolizes the confinement, struggle and acceptance of one woman's struggle with debilitating depression. Bibliography: Works Cited Gilman, Charlotte Perkins.
By the end of the story she actually thinks she is the woman who had been trapped in the wallpaper and has finally escaped from it. In Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”, the narrator seems trapped both mentally and physically. Her husband, John, keeping her away from others because of her nervous condition is one cause of her feeling trapped
“The story examines one woman’s descent into madness due to inactivity.” She also states that it examines the struggles between marriage and career, social expectations and personal goals. The story is about a woman being trapped in her marriage, she’s trying free herself. The narrator ends up going insane because she’s forbidden to write the only thing she can do is rest. The struggle between marriage and career is that John is her husband and her doctor. During the story he’s trying to cure her depression and doesn’t act much like her husband as he does her doctor.
One of the most startling scenes in Jane Eyre is when finally it is revealed that Mr. Rochester has been keeping his wife in his attic, in an attempt to keep her away from the eyes of society, and of course, his and Jane's. It is at once a tragic and horrifying scene as the woman comes into the view of the innocent love-struck heroine, who had no notion of Mr. Rochester's insane wife in the attic before the moment she is revealed. While Jane Eyre was a work of fiction, it is not such a far leap for a modern viewer to think that this would have been how Victorian families hid or dealt with their insane relatives, but was this sort of treatment of the mentally ill at home and under lock and key really the case? Or was Jane Eyre simply a work of fiction with little to none of it ground in reality at all? In this essay, the treatment of the mentally ill during the Victorian period both in the asylums and at home will be examined, as well as whether or not their actually was a mad woman in the attic.
These critics pick apart the story and view other works by Gilman to compare and contrast the differences in her works. In the first critical review, “Gender and Pathology in The Yellow Wallpaper” Juliann Fleenor states that Gilman struggled with the concepts of being a mother, motherhood, and with creation as well. In Fleenor’s comparison to the stories he states how in all the stories the home is their prison, insane asylum, and often their death place. In the story Fleenor also points out how Gilman is disgusted, awed, and frightened of her own body functions. He believes that a major theme of the story involves punishment of becoming a mother.
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gillman, is a feminist short story. It is about a woman who is mentally ill and gets misdiagnosed by her controlling husband. He puts her in a room saying doing nothing will cure her. While in the room she becomes captivated by the yellow wallpaper. She starts to see a trapped woman in the wallpaper.