Caught in the Yellow Wallpaper

Caught in the Yellow Wallpaper

Length: 1053 words (3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Caught in the Yellow Wallpaper

 
     "The pattern is torturing. You think you have mastered it, but just as you get well underway in following, it turns a back-somersault and there you are. It slaps you in the face, knocks you down, and tramples upon you."

 

As her madness progresses the narrator in The Yellow Wallpaper becomes increasingly aware of a woman present in the pattern of the wallpaper. 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. They feel that her only road to recovery is through total R & R, that she should not have to lift a finger, let alone stimulate a single neuron in her female brain. While she appreciates their concern she feels stifled and bored. She feels that her condition is only being worsened by her lack of stimulus, but it is not simply boredom that bothers her. She is constantly feeling guilty and unappreciative for questioning her family's advice. This causes her to question her self-awareness and her own perception of reality. "I sometimes fancy that in my condition if I had less opposition and more society and stimulus; but John says the very worst thing I can do is to think about my condition, and I confess it always makes me feel bad." She also faults...


... middle of paper ...


... it. The pattern also represents the limits society places on women and the resistance of society to women, such as her, who are trying to break free.

 

Works Cited and Consulted

Lipman-Blumen, Jean. Gender Roles and Power. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1984.

Mitchell, Weir S. "Wear and Tear, or Hints for the Overworked." Charlotte Perkins Gilman: "The Yellow Wallpaper." Ed. Dale M. Bauer. Boston: Belford Books, 1998. 134-141.

Papke, Mary E. Verging on the Abyss: The Social Fiction of Kate Chopin and Edith Wharton. New York: Greenwood P, 1995.

Roland, Alan, and Barbara Harris. Career and Motherhood: Struggles for a New Identity. New York: Human Sciences P, 1979.

Welter, Barbara. "The Cult of True Womanhood: 1820-1860." The American Family in Social Historical Perspective. Ed. Michael Gordon. New York: St. Martin's P, 1978. 373-392.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

- ... Jane went mad because John not let her go anywhere. She just had to be lying in her room and was not allowed to write because she have to rest, in the way she can recover faster. He did not want her to leave the house because he thought her illness would get worse. Jane wanted to visit her family, but John said no, this is a form of lack of freedom. The narrator says, “I wish he would let me go and make a visit to Cousin Henry and Julia. But John says, I wasn’t able to go, not able to stand it after I got there: and I did not make out a very case for myself” (Gilman 651)....   [tags: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper]

Strong Essays
1072 words (3.1 pages)

The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

- ... The title suggests that the uncanny will be connected with objects, particularly with the house and the wallpaper: ‘Still I will proudly declare that there is something queer about it,’ and later: “I 'm getting really fond of the room in spite of the wallpaper. Perhaps because of the wallpaper (Stetson 650)”. Despite her initial dissatisfaction towards the room, the unhomely slowly becomes homely for the woman. Her feeling transitions from finding the room dull in the beginning to later being obsessed with the room....   [tags: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper]

Strong Essays
1034 words (3 pages)

The Yellow Wallpaper, By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

- What drives one to insanity. There are, of course, many possibilities. Stress, for one, could do it. Regret is another that has lead down that treacherous path. In the case of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”, the protagonist’s root cause of insanity is not expressed openly, but when observed in more detail, it becomes apparent. The unnamed female protagonist of this short story initially seems to have little to no impaired cognitive function. She writes very clearly and understandably....   [tags: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper]

Strong Essays
874 words (2.5 pages)

Women and Fiction in The Yellow Wallpaper

- Women and Fiction in The Yellow Wallpaper      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 re...   [tags: Yellow Wallpaper essays]

Strong Essays
1322 words (3.8 pages)

The Character of John in The Yellow Wallpaper

- The Character of John in The Yellow Wallpaper       John's fascination with observing his wife can be attributed to a physician's distorted interest in the body. We can certainly speculate that, as physicians at the turn of the century were beginning to explore the female body assisted by "developments" in gynecology, John may have been equally interested in these new techniques of viewing the female body. More so than ever, the patient and her body became subject to the physician's privilege to intimately observe and diagnose her....   [tags: The Yellow Wallpaper Essays]

Strong Essays
2044 words (5.8 pages)

Contrary Interpretations of The Yellow Wallpaper

- Contrary Interpretations of The Yellow Wallpaper    “The Yellow Wallpaper” was first published in New England Magazine in 1892.  Charlotte Perkins Gilman, an advocate for the advancement of women, authored the short story.  She intended the piece to bring to light the inherent ineptitude of the Weir Mitchell “rest cure.”  Though this subject is addressed, many other pertinent topics are broached, ever so subtly.  Other themes in the book include the role of women in a society dominated by men, the role of the mother, and how oppression can affect the mind of a creative individual.  These themes, however, can be altered merely by how the tale is edited.  I intend to point out some of the...   [tags: The Yellow Wallpaper Essays]

Strong Essays
1555 words (4.4 pages)

Essay on Attempts to Communicate in The Yellow Wallpaper

- Attempts to Communicate in The Yellow Wallpaper Human nature is complex. Its requirements to remain healthy supersede those basic needs of food, shelter, and clothing. It is human to desire attention, companionship, to communicate heart-felt sentiments, and to be understood. In order to acquire self-esteem and to battle loneliness, one naturally searches to have these desires satisfied. Charlotte Perkins Gilman vividly illustrates these human aspirations in The Yellow Wallpaper. Subsequently she paints a horrific picture of someone who fails in her quest....   [tags: Yellow Wallpaper essays]

Strong Essays
1018 words (2.9 pages)

Free Yellow Wallpaper Essays: An Essay

- For the women in the twentieth century today, who have more freedom than before and have not experienced the depressive life that Gilman lived from 1860 to 1935, it is difficult to understand Gilman's situation and understand the significance of "The Yellow Wallpaper". Gilman's original purpose of writing the story was to gain personal satisfaction if Dr. S. Weir Mitchell might change his treatment after reading the story. However, as Ann L. Jane suggests, "The Yellow Wallpaper" is "the best crafted of her fiction: a genuine literary piece...the most directly, obviously, self-consciously autobiographical of all her stories" (Introduction xvi)....   [tags: Yellow Wallpaper essays]

Free Essays
1696 words (4.8 pages)

The Oppression of Women by Society in The Yellow Wallpaper

- The Oppression of Women by Society in The Yellow Wallpaper "The Yellow Wallpaper" is about a creative woman whose talents are suppressed by her dominant husband. His efforts to oppress her in order to keep her within society's norms of what a wife is supposed to act like, only lead to her mental destruction. He is more concerned with societal norms than the mental health of his wife. In trying to become independent and overcome her own suppressed thoughts, and her husbands false diagnosis of her; she loses her sanity....   [tags: Yellow Wallpaper essays]

Strong Essays
1607 words (4.6 pages)

Male Dominance in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper

- Male Dominance in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper "I want to astonish him," (34) says the narrator, referring to her husband, in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper, as she writhes behind the patterns of her yellow wallpaper, locked in her room of barred windows, sunken in the lunacy that she cannot evade. This short, ambitious phrase placed squarely on the page beneath stacks of similarly short-winded phrases that string together this diary-style narrative conveys most clearly the narrator's prime audience for her actions: John....   [tags: Yellow Wallpaper essays]

Strong Essays
1648 words (4.7 pages)