Essay On Symbolism In The Yellow Wallpaper

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This paper will look at the many symbols hidden in “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. This is important to prove that Gilman hid many hints implying that “The Yellow Wallpaper” is not merely a gothic story but a story making a connection between sexual roles put down by men and insanity. First of all, the setting of the story is significant. The house the protagonist and John rented has barred windows, hedges, walls, and gates that lock. These all suggest the wife’s confinement to the home. The nailed-down bed is suggestive of the wife who is also unable to move around freely. It can be imagined a house like a dungeon from the description of the house and it suggests the situation of the main character caged like a bird by…show more content…
Is the house really haunted as the narrator suggests in the beginning and is the woman a ghost? No, the woman inside the wallpaper is the narrator’s Doppelganger. A symbolic parallel between the women trapped in the wallpaper and the situation of the wife who is trapped by her mental illness and household, which she has no control over. The woman in the wallpaper could be the representation of a woman who loses her normal mind and becomes impossible to keep and control her by herself. Lastly, although the ending of the story is very ambiguous it is also symbolic. John comes into the room and faints, finding the narrator “creeping.” The very last sentence of the story is, “But he did [faint], and did right across my path by the wall, so that I had to creep over him every time!” (Gilman, 478). John may have been given female characteristics by fainting since women faint at the slightest shock. Nevertheless, there is much debate whether the narrator is the winner or the loser. The main character in “The Yellow Wallpaper” crawls and creeps behind the wallpaper. Creeping could be seen as defeat for she was only left with animal characteristics. She is unable to retain her sanity and her individuality therefore she is a failure. The act of creeping over, being on top of John, indicates her power over John. She is free to do whatever she wants and John cannot stop her because he is
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