The Hidden Meaning of Charlotte Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper

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Charlotte Gilman’s work The Yellow Wallpaper is an incredible scheme that keeps the whole story the author wants to present behind the outer one the story of a demented woman kept in a nursing house. The fundamental idea about the outer surface and the inner essence covered by it is both implemented into the structure and expressed by the message of the story. The recount of the psychological metamorphosis that the character undergoes is hidden behind the matter-of-a-fact story about a mad woman and her visions in a gloomy room with yellow paper on the walls. The understanding of the mental recovery the character experiences is contingent on the reader s ability to distinguish between the cover and the essence below it as applied in the structure of the story.

The Yellow Wallpaper revolves as a monologue on behalf of the main character a woman suffering from a nervous breakdown and at times it looks like a journal. Fro many readers the character s condition seems to be deteriorating as she retells her visions in the nursing house. This initial impression, however, is misleading because the story in its entirety is a perceptive analysis of one s own process of mental recovery, in which the character traces the stages through which she goes to restore her lost identity. Starting with the true-to-life depiction of a woman, staying in a nursing home, under the care of her seemingly loving and highly competent husband-physician, the story more and more looses its concreteness of action and plunges into the abstract pictures that are being born in the character s mind. The information about the family relations between the woman and her husband, John, are interwoven ...

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...ilar nervous breakdown. As she declares, however, this wallpaper actually saved her from her illness. In her visions from the wallpaper she discerned her own imprisoned mind trying to escape the bars that her husband has imposed on her. No matter how disconnected and how irrational this plot may seem after the first reading, it is a perfectly constructed symbolic recount of the unnoticed changes that take place in people s minds rather in their explicit actions. Thus through a system of symbols with constant connotations, the author conveys a detailed description of her recovery from the realization of her state to the open act of opposition against her husband. Gilman s work is unique not only because of its complex subject such as a deranged person is but mostly because of the subtle inner structure of the plot that reveals the essence of the story.

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