Symbolism in The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Symbolism in The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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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 between the rock and the hard place of doing what they were told was best for them and those around them and doing what they felt was best.

The characters who surround the narrator throughout the story symbolize the ideals of women and their roles that at the time, the late eighteen hundreds. For instance, her husband, John, represents the male role of superiority over the weaker wife. His inability to recognize the true problem of his wife's sickness and to deal with it accordingly is much like the inability of men to recognize a woman's capabilities to function in the public sector. His simplistic solution of plenty of rest and an abundance of vitam...


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...n, Massachusetts: Allyn and Bacon, 1992. 387-400.

Haney-Peritz, Janice. "Monumental Feminism and Literature's Ancestral House: Another Look at 'The Yellow Wallpaper.'" Women's Studies 12 (1986): 113-128.

Johnson, Greg. "Gilman's Gothic Allegory: Rage and Redemption in 'The Yellow Wallpaper.'" Studies in Short Fiction 26 (Fall 1989): 521-530.

King, Jeanette, and Pam Morris. "On Not Reading Between the Lines: Models of Reading in 'The Yellow Wallpaper.'" Studies in Short Fiction 26.1 (Winter 1989): 23-32.

Knight, Denise D. "The Reincarnation of Jane: 'Through This' - Gilman's Companion to 'The Yellow Wallpaper.'" Women's Studies 20 (1992): 287-302.

 

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