Symbolism In The Yellow Wallpaper

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Written to portray the suffering of women during the nineteenth century, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s, The Yellow Wallpaper, in an intriguing semi-autobiographical short story. Gilman uses symbolism to enhance the reader 's understanding of mental illness, in particular, Gilman strives to portray the true hardship of being a woman with a mental illness. To create this meaning, Gilman uses symbols such as deteriorating wall paper, the colour yellow, and the image of bars. Though this short story was written for a nineteenth century audience, it’s message created through symbolism rings true for those trying to understand mental illness today.

One of the first symbols Gilman brings to importance is the wallpaper, which is a direct reflection
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Yellow has classically been used to symbolize sunshine, the brightness of the day, wealth, and happiness. However, in Gilman 's short story, the colour is utilized to illustrate darker ideals. Gilman illustrates a distinct air of both discomfort and disgust towards the colour itself in the beginning as the narrator uses heavy adjectives to describe the awful shades, words such as “smouldering unclean yellow”(Gilman, 191), “sickly sulphur”(191), and “lurid orange(191)”. These words conjure the picture and further the meaning of the colour to represent sickness in The Yellow Wallpaper. Yellow itself is used to represent the pestilence, and the grim suffering of the narrator due to mental illness. This is furthered as Gilman allows the narrator to delve in deeper, to compare the sickly shade of yellow to the narrator’s previous experiences by stating, “it is the strangest yellow, that wallpaper! It makes me think of all the yellow things I ever saw - not beautiful ones like buttercups, but old foul. bad yellow things.” (197). Gilman expedites the idea of yellow as a symbol for the darkness of disease as the narrator begins to feel more comfortable with the colour as evidenced in her choice of words. These effects are illustrated as the narrator begins to document a smell that occurs around the home which Beverly A Hume builds on, stating…show more content…
Early on the reader is introduced to bars in the narrator 's description of the room that her husband has somewhat forced her to stay in. Beverly A Hume expands the significance of the bars in the following
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