Setting, Symbolism and Oppression of Women in The Yellow Wallpaper

Setting, Symbolism and Oppression of Women in The Yellow Wallpaper

Length: 787 words (2.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Yellow Wallpaper: Setting, Symbolism and Oppression of Women

Have you ever been locked in a dark closet? You grope about trying to feel the doorknob, straining to see a thin beam of light coming from underneath the door. As the darkness consumes you, you feel as if you will suffocate. There is a sensation of helplessness and hopelessness. Loneliness, caused by oppression, is like the same darkness that overtakes its victim. Charlotte Perkins Gilman, in "The Yellow Wallpaper," recounts the story of a young mother who travels to a summer home to "rest" from her nervous condition. Her bedroom is an old nursery covered with ugly, yellow wallpaper. The more time she spends alone, the more she becomes obsessed with the wallpaper's patterns. She begins to imagine a woman behind bars in the paper. Finally, she loses her sanity and believes that she is the woman in the wallpaper, trying to escape. In "The Yellow Wallpaper," Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses setting and symbolism to suggest that imprisoning oppression causes a type of loneliness (in women) that can lead to a deadly form of insanity.

            Gilman uses setting to suggest that imprisoning oppression causes a type of loneliness that can lead to insanity. Gilman's young mother describes the nursery bedroom "with windows that ... [are] barred for little children" (426). In the above passage, the barred windows seem to intensify her oppression, and her perception that she is being imprisoned. Gilman also uses the young woman's description of the summer home to express her feeling of being all alone. "It is quite alone, standing well back from the road, quite three miles from the village. 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.


Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Symbolism in The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

- Symbolism in The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman      Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" is the journal of a woman plagued with severe depression and the inability to recover due to her role as a submissive woman. At the time of publication, "The Yellow Wallpaper" was seen as a story merely about the perils of insanity. Even Gilman was proud to say it provided a wake-up call for the medical field and the families of women stricken with mental illness who believed solely in the "rest and ignore the problem cure." However, the short story was also an attack on the role of women in society at the time.Women, cast into the prison of acquiescence, were trapped betwee...   [tags: The Yellow Wallpaper Essays]

Better Essays
1174 words (3.4 pages)

Symbols and Symbolism in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper

- Symbols and Symbolism in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper          Reflecting their role in society, women in literature are often portrayed in a position that is dominated by men. Especially in the nineteenth century, women were repressed and controlled by their husbands as well as other male influences. In "The Yellow WallPaper," by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the protagonist is oppressed and represents the effect of the oppression of women in society. This effect is created by the use of complex symbols such as the house, the window, and the wall-paper which facilitate her oppression as well as her self expression....   [tags: Gilman Yellow Wallpaper Essays Papers]

Free Essays
890 words (2.5 pages)

Themes, Symbols, and Feelings in "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

- In "The Yellow Wallpaper," by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the protagonist symbolizes the effect of the oppression of women in society in the Nineteenth Century. In The Yellow Wallpaper, the author reveals the narrator is torn between hate and love, but emotion is difficult to determine. The effects are produced by the use of complex themes used in the story, which assisted her oppression and reflected on her self-expression. The yellow wallpaper is a symbol of oppression in a woman who felt her duties were limited as a wife and mother....   [tags: The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman]

Better Essays
754 words (2.2 pages)

The Yellow Wallpaper: Fighting the Oppression

- During the late 1800’s, the oppression of women was far too common, and while some women accepted this inequality, others realized the injustice and made the first steps to exposing the ugly truth and creating the society in which we live today: where single-sex dominance is frowned upon and equality is fought for publically and proudly. The author of “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Charlotte Perkins Gillman, was one of these strong-headed women who, despite living amongst a society who knew no different, believed that a woman should be permitted to live her life alongside her husband-or alone if so chose- instead of under his reproachful stare and dominating thumb....   [tags: Literary Themes]

Better Essays
961 words (2.7 pages)

Feminine Oppression in The Yellow Wallpaper

- Women have always struggled to gain attention from men as well as equality with them. Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" has a dominant theme of feminine oppression. It is a symbolic work of literature because women in the era in which this story was published were treated in much the same way as the narrator was on a daily basis. Male dictatorship over women is rampant within the illness and treatment of the unnamed narrator, the characters in the story, and the many symbols that serve to confine the main character....   [tags: Literary Analysis]

Better Essays
1588 words (4.5 pages)

Oppression of Women in Chopin's Story of an Hour and Gilman's Yellow Wallpaper

- Oppression of Women in Chopin's Story of an Hour and Gilman's Yellow Wallpaper   "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin and "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman share the same view of the subordinate position of women in the late 1800's. Both stories demonstrate the devastating effects on the mind and body that result from an intelligent person living with and accepting the imposed will of another. This essay will attempt to make their themes apparent by examining a brief summery of their stories and relating them to their personal histories....   [tags: Story Hour Yellow Wallpaper Essays Papers]

Better Essays
1254 words (3.6 pages)

Literary Analysis of "The Yellow Wallpaper"

- In literature, women are often depicted as weak, compliant, and inferior to men. The nineteenth century was a time period where women were repressed and controlled by their husband and other male figures. Charlotte Gilman, wrote "The Yellow Wallpaper," showing her disagreement with the limitations that society placed on women during the nineteenth century. According to Edsitement, the story is based on an event in Gilman’s life. Gilman suffered from depression, and she went to see a physician name, Silas Weir Mitchell....   [tags: Literary Analysis ]

Better Essays
861 words (2.5 pages)

Search For Freedom in The Yellow Wallpaper

- The “Yellow Wall-Paper” is a reflection of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s personal situations, regarding the protection of the rights of woman. She provides a critique on traditional feminine roles, and women’s desperation to get out of them. In the short story, the author depicts the idea that women conforming to the norms of society can be driven to destruction. Her criticism  of gender conflicts is portrayed through the journal entries of the narrator. In order to illustrate her feminist concerns about gender equality, Gilman employs the characters of John, Jennie, and the narrator....   [tags: The Yellow Wallpaper Essays]

Better Essays
921 words (2.6 pages)

Effect Of Oppression In Yellow Wallpaper

- Effect of Oppression in "The Yellow Wallpaper" "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a self-told story about a woman who approaches insanity. The story examines the change in the protagonist's character over three months of her seclusion in a room with yellow wallpaper and examines how she deals with her "disease." Since the story is written from a feminist perspective, it becomes evident that the story focuses on the effect of the society's structure on women and how society's values destruct women's individuality....   [tags: Charlotte Perkins Gilman]

Free Essays
902 words (2.6 pages)

Symbolism in The Yellow Wallpaper

- Symbolism of "The Yellow Wallpaper" In the 19th century society was from different from what it is today. Women were not in the workforce, could not vote, or even have a say in anything. Women were not permitted to give evidence in court, nor, did they have the right to speak in public before an audience. When a woman married, her husband legally owned all she had (including her earnings, her clothes and jewelry, and her children). If he died, she was entitled to only a third of her husband’s estate....   [tags: Charlotte Gilman]

Free Essays
1293 words (3.7 pages)