Repression in The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

1216 Words5 Pages
The Yellow Wallpaper: Repression

"The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Gilman is sad story of the

repression that women face in the days of late 1800's as well as being

representative of the turmoils that women face today. Gilman writes "The

Yellow Wallpaper" from her own personal experiences of having to face the

overwhelming fact that this is a male dominated society and sometimes women

suffer because of it.

The narrator, being female, is suffering from a "temporary

depression". She states right from the beginning that "John is a

physician, and perhaps--(I would not say it to a living soul, of course,

but this is dead paper and a great relief to my mind)-- perhaps that is

the one reason I do not get well faster." The narrator sets up the story

to convey a certain opinion of the repercussions a woman faces in the care

of a man. She obviously loves her husband and trusts him but has some

underlying feeling that maybe his prescription of total bed rest is not

working for her. The story mentions that she has an older brother who is

also a physician and concurs with her husbands theory, thus leaving her no

choice but to subject herself to this torment of being totally alone in

this room with the yellow wallpaper.

She stares at this wallpaper for hours on end and thinks she sees a

woman behind the paper. "I didn't realize for a long time what the thing

was that showed behind, that dim sub-pattern, but now I am quite sure it is

a woman." She becomes obsessed with discovering what is behind that

pattern and what it is doing. "I don't want to leave now until I have

found it out". The narrator with absolutely nothing else to do is reduced

to staring ...

... middle of paper ...

... indeed imprison the woman because you have no way of knowing what has

happened before or what is to come. We imprison her more because we make

judgments of a thirty second clip that could possibly affect our bias for

the movie or the story itself before we have a chance as an individual to

read the story or watch the movie.

As a female in 1995 reading this story, I had this overwhelming

desire to free this narrator from her husband and the rest of the males in

her life. She wanted company, activity and stimulation. Which any woman

of that time or this time should be freely allowed to have. Gilman did an

outstanding job of illustrating the position that women of that time, and

to an extent, of this time as well, hold in their society. This story

should hold a place in every woman's heart who is struggling to find her

place.
Open Document