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Isolation Can Lead to Insanity in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Yellow Wallpaper

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Insanity

Being left alone for long periods of time can certainly mess with a person’s way of thinking. Isolation can often lead to insanity as you are alone with your thoughts and are able to go deep into exploring your mind. Someone with an unstable state of mind needs to express themself rather than being secluded, because this leads to them being in a state of forced inactivity which is destined for self-destruction. In “The Yellow WallpaperCharlotte Perkins Gilman uses irony, symbolism, and epiphany to show how the narrator’s fragile state of mind can easily be altered by isolating her.

The irony between the two characters shows us how the narrator has a false sense of how a marriage should be. “John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in a marriage” (Gilman 478). It is ironic because in a healthy, normal marriage, no one expects for a husband to laugh at his wife, but the narrator finds it to be completely normal. The narrator truly believes that her marriage is normal and that everything is fine, when in fact her husband has tricked her into going to an abandoned insane asylum in hopes of curing her. Another ironic moment is when John’s course of treatment backfires. John believes that taking his wife to an old asylum and locking her in a bedroom will be the cure for her for her depression, but it does the complete opposite. The narrator states, “I’ve got out at last, in spite of you and Jane. And I’ve pulled off most of the paper, so you can’t put me back” (Gilman 489). Both John and his sister believed that by isolating the narrator she would eventually become sane, but they failed to realize what was really wrong with her. John’s state of ignorance and his stubbornness lead him to misjudge the situation a...

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...men have more authority and are better than woman and he dismissed all his wife’s fears, which led to her madness. The narrator eventually breaks from the chains that her husband had put on her, which shows how anyone can escape from entrapment. By tearing down the yellow wallpaper the narrator finds a kind of liberty and freedom from her submissive relationship with her husband. “The Yellow Wallpaper” is a great story that demonstrates how a person needs stand up for him or herself to be free of what is holding them back from life.

Works Cited

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. “The Yellow Wallpaper.” The Norton Introduction to Literature. Ed.

Kelly J. Mays. Shorter 11th ed. New York, W.W. Norton & Co., 2013. 478-489. Print.

Hudock, Amy E. "The Yellow Wallpaper." Masterplots II: Women’s Literature Series (1995): 1-

8. Ebsco. Web. 23 Mar. 2014. (Hudock)