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.
Her use of sensory words to describe the wallpaper and how is she is seeing things within the paper show she is not in her rational mind. The woman claims the wallpaper smells yellow (Gilman); a color cannot be smelled. Her senses are heightened because of this wallpaper. In her depiction of the wallpaper’s design, the narrator writes in great detail the images she is discovering. The curves of it “commit suicide”, the patterns “crawl” and “creep”, and there are “unblinking eyes are everywhere” (Gilman).
The narrator in the story is the woman with postpartum depression, and as she is slipping away from reality she starts to become an unreliable source. The woman starts assuming the situation that she has no tangible evidence. “No wonder the children hated it!” she talks as if children really did stay in the room with the yellow wallpaper, and she knows they hated the room for a fact (Gilman 419). The woman also starts to say that those same children made marks such as the “smooch” and the “bedstead is fairly gnawed” (Gilman 425-427). She wonders what has happened to make those marks, but the narrator soon reveals that she “can creep smoothly on the floor, and her shoulder just fits in that long smooch around the wall…” and “I got angry so I bit off a little piece at one corner” (Gilman 427-428).
The outside pattern, I mean, and the women behind it is as plain as she can be”, (197). The reader may infer the narrator is feeling more frantic t by the (!) mark she uses in the sentence. And she is becoming more agitated about being alone in her room and the part of the quote, “it becomes bars”, implies she feels like a prisoner. In addition, the quote’s second sentence is more evidence of her illness getting worse; since she now sees a person trapped in the yellow wallpaper who she identifies with.
This “cure” eventually leads to the decrease of her mental stability as she becomes more and more obsessed with the wallpaper. In order to convey a story with so many themes lots of literary devices were used. In “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses symbolism and characterization to explore themes about the lack of understanding of women and their mental health. The narrator of the story, though unnamed, represents a stereotypical woman with mental illnesses in that day and age. “Many details, like the lack of a name, argue against her individuality,” (Ford 1).
The second instance is her way of talking about "The Yellow Wallpaper." The third is the remarkable ending, where she seems to lose herself in her rebellion against her husband John. Jane’s "nervous weakness" comes over her several times throughout the story, and in the context of Freud’s analysis of hysteria I will distinguish her problems (10). One problem is that Jane describes to the reader the so-called nursery, but she is actually talking about her bedroom with the barred windows. Jane states, "The windows are barred for little children, and there are rings and things in the walls"(4).
Deconstructionist criticism rejects the traditional assumption that language can accurately represent reality. The author, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, writes this piece in such a way that the reader must read between the lines to get the true meaning of the story. For example, the main character peels back the wallpaper every night in her room not only because she is depressed but because she sees the woman as being trapped. All she wants to do is free her from her captivity. This resembles and shows imagery of the woman and her life.
The conflict of this short story is the struggle to stay within the grip of reality. There is an underlying meaning in this story. The one that has been picked up by some readers is the idea that the narrator, the mentally ill woman, is the woman that is trapped inside of the wall paper. The woman in the wallpaper is trappe... ... middle of paper ... ...nnot be put back into the wallpaper and she will forever be the demented lady that creeps along the wall. The predisposition of sex does have an effect on how this story is read.
The illogical pattern that decorates it, reflects the absence of logic in her mind. The very color of the paper depicts the illness that yellows her sight and imprisons her within an unpredictable life. The wallpaper is at first a great annoyance to Jane; she claims that it is confusing and contradicting. Because her disease confuses her mind and contradicts her logic, the paper parallels her mental state at this point. Desperately attempting to unravel the mystery she imagines in the wallpaper, she becomes obsessed with deciphering its meaning.
then she ... ... middle of paper ... ...way. Mentally Jane and Bertha have completely gone mad, ending in death and complete psychosis. In conclusion, the three women end up with different fates, they all face similar conditions within their lives. Each woman deals with their circumstances differently and it impacts not only their lives but also the men’s lives that they interact with throughout the story. Both authors highlight the key issues surrounded by the lack of power that women have, isolation, and mental health illness within the Victorian time period through their characters and enlighten the reader to the similarities and differences between the themes that Brontë and Gilman both address.