From the “gouged and splintered” floor to the chewed bedstead, each mentioned object contributes to the story’s eerie setting as well as to the narrator’s confinement (229). Objects such as the bolted bed and the bars on the window symbolize the narrator’s inability to do as she pleases, yet another factor which constrains her. At the center of it all is the yellow wallpaper. While the narrator at first regards the yellow wallpaper as “repellant” and “revolting,” she slowly becomes more and more entranced by it and, more specifically, that which lies behind it (227). She begins to imagine a woman inside the wallpaper, looking for escape behind the pattern which entraps her.
The Truth Hidden Behind Madness Throughout the short story The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman the reader can identify how the narrator’s interpretation of the yellow wallpapers changes as she becomes mad and fixated on the pattern hidden within. As the story progresses, the viewer can discover how the wallpaper becomes significant to the narrator, through her fascination with the ostensibly formless pattern, and urge to figure out what it means. The pattern within the unsettling yellow wallpaper is a vital symbol within the text because as the narrator’s interpretation of the pattern changes, the wallpaper figuratively begins to reflect how she feels trapped. The narrator’s obsession with the patterned wallpaper is compelled
At first sight she describes the wallpaper as, “[o]ne of those sprawling flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin,” (Gilman 648) declaring she had “…never saw a worse paper in [her] life.” Although her husband strictly forbids her to journal, Jane, continues to confide to her journal writing, “…this is dead paper and a great relief to [her] mind…” (Gilman 647). As the story progresses Jane writes that she is getting much worse and so does her fixation with the yellow wallpaper. She spends much time alone in this room with barred windows and bolted furniture. The confinement she is experiencing leads her to begin hallucinating a creeping woman through the wallpaper. As a creative woman Jane falls into her demise due to lack of mental stimulation slowly but surely her obsession takes over and the yellow wallpaper is all she looks forward to.
The insanity is rooted in the narrator's inability to fall easily into that mould. Gilman's descriptions of the wallpaper are really eloquent delineations of the restrictions and constraints placed upon women. In short, the wallpaper is what all proper women are supposed to be; the narrator is one woman who is unable to adapt and, hence, she becomes a lunatic. The narrator's first description of the wallpaper puts forth most plainly what the nature of women is believed to be: "dull enough to confuse the eye in following, pronounced enough to constantly irritate and provoke study, and when you follow the lame uncertain curves for a little distance they . .
“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, tells the story of a woman struggling with her insanity. While the insanity is obvious, where it comes from is allusive to the reader. It is possible that her environment could spark the changes in her mental state, but her husband is not innocent in the matter. When environment and marital pressure are combined, Jane tries to escape from it all by trying to free herself. Jane’s new home seems to make her feel very uncomfortable from the beginning of “The Yellow Wallpaper” when she states “that there is something queer about it.” She says that John tells her the vacation home will be a good place for her, but even seems unsure of that proclamation herself (Gilman 956).
Her hatred of the wallpaper symbolizes her hatred of her oppressive marriage and her role in society. She criticizes women 's role in the world, when she notes that John 's sister wouldn 't want to be any more than a housekeeper. She recognizes that her only present purpose is "to dress and entertain, and order things”. All of these things increasingly affects herk mentally and emotionally and slowly leads to her becoming
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.
The narrator is terrified to step over the line shows her minds and emotions are being trained to comply with her husband’s orders. Ironically, John perceives the narrator as the patterns, he is not interested in further exploring her inner thoughts other than her general thoughts. The author of the paper “"The Yellow Wallpaper” and Women's Discourse”, Karen Ford, argues that “The wallpaper, in fact, sometimes appears like male discourse in its capacity to contradict and immobilize the women who are trapped within it” (311). The narrator later saw emergence of, “a woman stooping down and creeping about behind that pattern” (Gilman 652) in the sub-pattern and it represents her compliance to her inner thoughts of being free. The woman in the wallpaper, much like the narrator, was only
Every time she thinks about writing in the journal, she relates how tired it makes her. Throughout the story, John speaks out against her writing, because he feels that it contributes to her depression but she writes anyway, feeling that she is getting away with something. John treats her as if she were ill not depressed. John being a physician, not a psychologist, prescribes her medication that is for someone who is physically ill, not experiencing psychological distress. The journal becomes an outlet for her true feelings that she believes would get her incarcerated if anyone else heard them.
She began to recover only when she returned to her art and writing, and subsequently wrote "The Yellow Wallpaper" to alert others to the perils of the rest cure and its attempt to stifle creativity. It raises the question, stated by Conrad Shumaker, "What happens to the imagination when it's defined as feminine (and thus weak) and has to face a society that values the useful and the practical and rejects anything else as nonsense?" (590). The answer provided by Gilman is that it becomes uncontrollable and has the potential to destroy a person's sanity. In "The Yellow Wallpaper," the narrator suffers from postpartum depression, diagnosed by her husband John as "hysteria."