Metaphor In The Yellow Wallpaper

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Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s, The Yellow Wallpaper, analyzes the issues that mentally ill women face, the feelings of isolation from your loved ones which can lead to disparity. In this time the piece was written in, women with mental illness were not believed to have actual illnesses. For example, “hysteria” is claimed to be a women’s illness, which trivializes the real suffering these women are facing. Perkins displays her case as an extended metaphor for male dominance, and that women need to be heard, which can be analyzed through both woman vs. society and woman vs. self.
The main character, who is also the narrator is facing both woman vs. society and woman vs. self. The narrator is slowly slipping into madness, and it
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The wallpaper in itself could be a metaphor for the narrator’s own writing and how her husband does not support it, an example of woman vs. society. In the last pages of the short-story the narrator begins tearing the paper from the walls in a fit of angst, Gilman writes, “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 328). The narrator feels liberated from pulling the paper off the walls, symbolizing that she is growing tired of the restrictions her husband (or society) places on her, and will not continue to follow them. An illustration of the conflict man vs. self as well as man vs. society; the narrator feels the unconscious desire and also her conscious thoughts that she is supposed to obey her spouses wishes that lead to the destruction of her rational self. The Yellow Wallpaper addresses the conflicts of man vs. society and man vs. self. Women in the time period are far too often expected to be silent and dutiful to their spouses and the narrator struggles to meet these expectations while slowly slipping into psychosis. The narrator Charlotte Perkins Gilman displays is a metaphor for the oppression women endure from men and how it affects them mentally. The gender roles must be reversed in order for women to achieve true liberation from the restrictions placed upon
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