The “woman” behind the wallpaper is a symbol of women being trapped by mental health. The narrator even says she is the woman who is trapped behind the wallpaper. The woman the describes the wallpaper as a prison, she says, “…worst of all by moonlight, it becomes bars!” (Gilman 426). Gilman is trying to show readers that women have no say in what happens to them when they have mental health problems. The narrator says “Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good.” she knows what she needs but no will believe her.
The insanity is rooted in the narrator's inability to fall easily into that mould. Gilman's descriptions of the wallpaper are really eloquent delineations of the restrictions and constraints placed upon women. In short, the wallpaper is what all proper women are supposed to be; the narrator is one woman who is unable to adapt and, hence, she becomes a lunatic. The narrator's first description of the wallpaper puts forth most plainly what the nature of women is believed to be: "dull enough to confuse the eye in following, pronounced enough to constantly irritate and provoke study, and when you follow the lame uncertain curves for a little distance they . .
Gilman does so by t... ... middle of paper ... ...she sees in the wallpaper is trapped behind the pattern, just like the narrator is trapped in the room. The woman’s mental status gets so deteriorated that she has a breaking point when she “escapes” her imprisonment. The author writes, “Then I peeled off all the paper I could reach standing on the floor” (320). Taking down the wallpaper symbolizes her finally freeing herself. Charlotte Gilman accomplishes her goal of spreading awareness about the oppression of women by forcing the readers to dig deep into The Yellow Wallpaper.
This story is only about the madness of one woman, yet it seems to make a general statement about the condition of all females. The mental illness eventually consumes the narrator as her creativity gets taken away. There are even some clues as to the narrator foreshadowing her own illness. The wallpaper symbolizes this in many ways. One of the way it does this is through the feeling of the narrator feeling “trapped.” After feeling trapped for so long she starts to identify herself with the figure behind the wallpaper.
She starts to see a trapped woman in the wallpaper. The woman’s obsession over the wallpaper and imprisonment in the room causes her to lose her mind. She has fallen victim to her madness in her desire to let the woman out the wallpaper. Her husband faints upon seeing what she has become. The woman and her oppressive husband’s relationship are that of prisoner and warden.
The conflict of this short story is the struggle to stay within the grip of reality. There is an underlying meaning in this story. The one that has been picked up by some readers is the idea that the narrator, the mentally ill woman, is the woman that is trapped inside of the wall paper. The woman in the wallpaper is trappe... ... middle of paper ... ...nnot be put back into the wallpaper and she will forever be the demented lady that creeps along the wall. The predisposition of sex does have an effect on how this story is read.
She sees this woman struggling against the paper's "bars". Later in her madness she imagines there to be many women lost in its "torturing" pattern, trying in vain to climb through it. The woman caught in the wallpaper seems to parallel the narrator's virtual imprisonment by her well-meaning husband. While the narrator's perception of the wallpaper reveals her increasing madness, it effectively symbolizes the struggle of women who attempt to break out of society's feminine standards. The narrator writes furtively in her room, having to hide her writing from her family.
She starts to become obsessed with the wallpaper and starts to think that there is someone, a woman, trapped in it. The woman that she sees trapped in the wallpaper the first time it is described as “a strange, provoking, formless sort of figure, that seems to skulk about behind that silly and conspicuous front design” (32). The wallpaper at night “becomes bars”(32). She is projecting herself into the woman that she sees in the wallpaper she feels trapped so she imagines a woman trapped in the paper shaking the bars wanting to get out. The narrator says that during the day the woman is “subdued quiet”.
Between society's view of women at that time, the husband's attitude towards her, and his ineffective remedies, the wife's mental instability can only grow worse. The wallpaper lets the reader follow the woman's regression into insanity as the story progresses. Only with the first person point of view (the wife's) can the reader follow this regression of the mind. All in all, this is a sad story of a woman's struggle for sanity in an indifferent society.
It makes me think of Eng... ... middle of paper ... ...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.