Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" is a deceptively simple story. It is easy to follow the thirteen pages of narrative and conclude the protagonist as insane. This is a fair judgement, after all no healthy minded individual becomes so caught up with "hideous" and "infuriating" wallpaper to lose sleep over it, much less lock herself in a room to tear the wallpaper down. To be able to imagine such things as "broken necks" and "bulbous eyes" in the wallpaper is understandable, irrational and erratic designs can form rational patterns in our minds, but to see a woman locked inside of the "bars" of the wallpaper and attempt to rescue her seems altogether crazy. Her fascination with the wallpaper does seem odd to us, but it easy to focus on the eccentricity of her interest with paper and lose sight of what the wallpaper institutes: her writing. It is her writing that keeps her sane, the wallpaper that makes her insane, and from these two very symbolic poles the short story rotates. Gilman's short story is not simply about a lonely woman's descent into madness, but is symbolic of previous and contemporary women writer's attempt to overcome the "madness" and bias of the established, male dominated literary society that surrounds them.
Gilman creates a horrific tone that helps explore the idea of freedom and confinement within a certain place. The story is created to follow the situation of the narrator and how slowly she begins to deteriorate psychologically due to the wallpaper. The narrator is never assigned a name, therefore it can be assumed that the story is suppose to serve as a voice for the women who have been in a similar situation and have lost their freedom and say on their own lives. However, the narrator appears to come from a wealthy family with privilege so there cannot be this idea that all women who have been through this form of depression and inequalities have experienced it in the same form. Through the use of imagery, the reader was able to understand and clearly visualize the situation in which the narrator is in and see how she has begun to slowly deteriorate, even though she is finally freed in the end of the story, or at least that is what is assumed. “The Yellow Wallpaper” is indeed a very profound image of what it was like to be a female during the 19th century while emphasizing the themes of freedom and confinement. Even though it illustrates the impact that confinement can have on a person, it restricts the situation to fit only women who had similar social backgrounds as the narrator, which is
Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story, “The Yellow Wall-Paper”, is a first-person narrative written in the style of a journal. It takes place during the nineteenth century and depicts the narrator’s time in a temporary home her husband has taken her to in hopes of providing a place to rest and recover from her “nervous depression”. Throughout the story, the narrator’s “nervous condition” worsens. She begins to obsess over the yellow wallpaper in her room to the point of insanity. She imagines a woman trapped within the patterns of the paper and spends her time watching and trying to free her. Gilman uses various literary elements throughout this piece, such as irony and symbolism, to portray it’s central themes of restrictive social norms
The wallpaper in Gilman's story represents the unnamed narrator's repressed and trapped self. The side that is not liberated by insanity. It represents everything that she detests about her life; not being allowed to write, having to be a mother, and needing to be someone who John expects her to be. In this way, her immediate hatred of the wallpaper is fitting. The old saying that says a person always hates others for the things they hate about themselves applies to her hatred of the wallpaper. The yellowness of the wallpaper reminds her of her sickness because yellow is the color of jaundice and generally symbolizes inferiority, strangeness, cowardice, ugliness, and backwardness. Therefore, because she sees these things in herself, she hates t...
In “The Yellow Wallpaper”, the author, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, through expressive word choice and descriptions, allows the reader to grasp the concepts she portrays and understand the way her unnamed narrator feels as the character draws herself nearer and nearer to insanity. “The Yellow Wallpaper” begins with the narrator writing in a journal about the summer home she and her husband have rented while their home is being remodeled. In the second entry, she mentions their bedroom which contains the horrendous yellow wallpaper. After this, not one day goes by when she doesn’t write about the wallpaper. She talks about the twisting, never-ending pattern; the heads she can see hanging upside-down as if strangled by it; and most importantly the
...chniques that Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses in "The Yellow Wallpaper" to suggest that a type of loneliness (in women) caused by imprisoning oppression can lead to the deadliest form of insanity. By using setting, Gilman shows how the barred windows intensifies the young woman's imprisoning oppression, the isolated summer home represents the loneliness the young woman feels, and her hallucinations of the wallpaper pattern indicates her transition to insanity. Wallpaper symbolism is used throughout the story the pattern representing the strangling nature of the imprisoning oppression, the fading yellow color showing the fading away of the young woman, and the hovering smell representing the deadly insanity to which she succumbs. Like the darkness that quickly consumes, the imprisoning loneliness of oppression swallows its victim down into the abyss of insanity.
The Yellow Wallpaper is a popular book when discussing psychology in the late nineteenth century. The author, Charlotte Gilman, wrote her experience of mental illness through her narrator. Gilman suffered with depression after giving birth and she never fully recovered from it. (Gilman 95). The narrator is depicted as a woman who has been diagnosed with what was called a nervous disorder. Her husband, a psychologist, gave her several different tonics and other substances that are supposed to make her better. She was also put on bed rest meaning that she was not able to work or do anything that would tire her out. She is told to go and rest several times during the story and it is evident that her ‘psychosis’ gets worse when she is forced to stay in her room and rest for the majority of her days and all night. She begins to see women in the pattern of her wallpaper and she becomes obsessed with it. The narrator becomes very protective of her wallpaper and gets almost jealous when she sees her sister-in-law looking at it and touching it. She even says “no person touches this pa...
Upon first reading Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper", it appears to be consecutive journal entries written by a flighty woman-plagued with bouts of depression-about her stay at a vacation home. Though upon closer inspection, the double entendre of this cleverly written story reveals itself.
In the story "The Yellow Wallpaper," it shows very explicit symbols rather than very detailed characters. This vague description shown in this text about the author gives the overall idea of the treatment of women in the late 1800s. The representation of the symbols in "The Yellow Wallpaper," connects to women with mental illness during this time period. These symbols become essential to the story and the feminist ideas it was portraying. Symbols such as the wallpaper, John, the author, her journal, and her baby are what creates a sense of origin in her illness and how it was developed in
“The Yellow Wallpaper” contain many symbols in which Charlotte Perkins Gilman develops the idea that society at the time of the story presumed certain things “proper” - without knowing that they were indeed harmful. In the author’s time, woman had no power, worth, or opportunities, and that could have been enough to drive woman of the time, including the narrator, into madness. Women were not apart of the workforce, could not vote, or have a say in anything. Charlotte Perkins Gilman wanted to change the way in which women were viewed in the 19th century. In “The Yellow Wallpaper”, she uses numerous symbols to show the many restrictions upon women, lack of public interaction, and the struggle for equality.
In "The Yellow Wallpaper" Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses writing, first person point of view, and symbolism to show how the yellow wallpaper and family have confined her to her emotional condition. The narrator 's obsession with the wallpaper shows us how she projects her feelings into the wallpaper.
“This came directly from [my] personal experience” (Oakley 5), said Charlotte Perkins Gilman 20 years after she wrote the short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper”. It is a story of a woman's demoted status by a man and how she was in a mental declining state and ended up going crazy because of the medication she was being treated with, which was mainly to lock her away in an isolated room until the problem vanished. The medicine that was prescribed to her was given repeatedly to women with “madness” and nervous conditions during like hers during the time. More importantly, the story is how the male controls her dominantly and throws strikes at her just like the rest of society did to women at the time. The narrator in the story is symbolic for all women during the time the story was written. During that time women were expected, unless otherwise told, to have children and take care of the home. Since only men were privileged with education, they were the ones that held all of the major occupations and make all the major decisions in the household as well. Therefore, women always ended up being tossed into the prison of submission to men, because they lived in a world where the men were far superior to women in the view of society as well as the household. Because of the time where men subdue women, John, who was the narrator's husband, is the one in total control of the narrator during the story. During the story the author also implies that it’s a mixture of social control from society, along with the weakness the woman has that adds to issue that men we superior over of women. These things in the story give women the disability to make their own decisions or any other opposition to men.
As human beings, we play the cards that are dealt to us in this world. In life, every person goes through their individual ups and downs and occasionally may break down to the extent of not knowing what to do with oneself. In the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” which takes place in the late 1800s, focuses on the first person narrator who is an infatuated woman. The disheartening story concentrates on a woman who is suffering from postpartum depression, and as well had mental breakdowns. The narrators husband John, moves her into a home isolated in the country where he wants her to “rest” and get better from her illness. During the course of being confined in the room with the wallpaper, she learns new things and finally may have an understanding
Evidence of Gilman's life experiences can be seen all throughout the story. The main character in the story, a slightly neurotic woman, is married to a prominent physician. This husband refuses to believe anything is wrong with his wife's health simply because her physical health is intact. Thus, he prescribes for his wife nothing more than relaxation and cessation of her writings. This character clearly correlates to the doctor who "treated" Gilman for her nervous breakdown. The description of the room and the wallpaper is clearly crucial to the story as a whole. The room itself is described as large and airy, with windows facing towards a "delicious garden." The wallpaper does not fit the room at all. It is a repulsive, pale yellow color. The description of the wallpaper seems to function metaphorically. The wallpaper becomes much more detailed and much more of a fixture in the main characters life as the story progresses. The wallpaper essentially takes on a life of its own. This progression seems to represent mental illness itself. As mental illness progresses, it becomes much more whole and enveloping. Gilman attempts to represent the depth of mental illness through the wallpaper. For example, the woman in the story comes to the conclusion that there is a woman in the wallpaper behind the pattern.
On my first reading of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper", I found the short story extremely well done and the author, successful at getting her idea across. Gilman's use of imagery and symbolism only adds to the reality of the nameless main character's sheltered life and slow progression into insanity or some might say, out of insanity.