Her husband decided to force her to have a strict bed rest by separating her from her only child. He took her to recuperate in an isolated country estate all alone. The bed rest her husband forced into made her mental state develop from bad to worst. The Yellow Paper is a story that warns the readers about the consequences of fixed gender roles in a male-dominated world. In The Yellow Paper, a woman’s role was to be a dutiful wife and she should not question her husband’s authority and even whereabouts.
Although, for her, she has nothing more to focus on she trusts her imagination to pass the time. Over time she becomes more and more obsessed with the yellow wallpaper, which leaves her in shock. “The wallpaper becomes a projection screen of the narrator growing fright.” (Berman, p.47) This means that the narrator goes to herself on the wall. The isolated woman in the yellow paper is her own reflection. Something that the narrator still does not realize, she only feels the need to release the woman trapped in the wall.
“A Map for Rereading: or, Gender and the Interpretation of Literary Texts” New Literary History 11, no. 3 1980. 451-67 Treichler, Paula. “Escaping the Sentence: Diagnosis and Discourse in “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Tulsa studies in Women’s Literature. 1984.
17 (1989): 193-201. Haney-Peritz, Janice. "Monumental Feminism and Literature's Ancestral House: Another Look at 'The Yellow Wallpaper'" Women's Studies. 12 (1986): 113-128. Kasmer, Lisa.
If a woman were sterile, her purposefulness diminished. While the Cult of Domesticity intended to create obliging and competent wives, women frequently reported feeling trapped or imprisoned within the home and within societal expectations put forward by husbands, fathers, and brothers. Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s tantalizing short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” tells the horrifying tale of a nineteenth century woman whose husband condemns her to a rest cure, a popular approach during the era to treat post-partum depression. Although John, the unnamed narrator’s husband, does not truly believe his wife is ill, he ultimately condemns her to mental insanity through his treatment. The story somewhat resembles Gilman’s shocking personal biography, namely the rest cure she underwent under the watchful eye of Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell in 1887, two years after the birth of her daughter, Katherine.
She recognizes that she gets "unreasonably angry with John sometimes" and later wishes he would get his own room. She dreads him coming home because she enjoys exploring the wallpaper and wants to free the woman imprisoned behind it, which symbolizes her own individuality. The narrator feels trapped by both her husband and surroundings, it is clear to assume that the woman she sees behind the wallpaper is a symbol of herself. In The Yellow Wallpaper Gilman seems to go out of her way to express the symbolic relationship between the real and wallpaper woman. Much like the protagonist, the wallpaper woman is described as “all the time trying to climb through.
The setting of the room symbolizes the loneliness the narrator is undergoing. The narrator has her mind encased that there is a woman struggling and in her solitary room, she feels its true and she is even seen fighting for her. The author used the room to symbolize what the main character was going through all alone in the isolated estate where she was brought by her husband. The yellow paper played a distinct reason for the narrator’s madness. In her writings, she explains that the more she became insane, the more the wall paper became a big issue to her that is why she smudged ultimately.
Treichler, Paula A. "Escaping the Sentence: Diagnosis and Discourse in The Yellow Wallpaper"' Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature. 3 (1984): 61-77.
Haney-Peritz, Janice. "Monumental Feminism and Literature's Ancestral House: Another Look at 'The Yellow Wallpaper'" Women's Studies. 12 (1986): 113-128. Kasmer, Lisa. "Charlotte Perkins Gilman's 'The Yellow Wallpaper': A Symptomatic Reading."
“The Changing Role of Womanhood: From True Woman to New Woman in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” “Academic and Event Technology Services. Dr. Jim Wohlpart, 27 July 1988. Web. 18 Nov. 2011. http://itech.fguc.edu/falculty/wohlpart/ara/gilman.htm.