The Yellow Wallpaper

The Yellow Wallpaper

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Within the troubling novel, The Yellow Wallpaper, the theme in which action takes place is very significant. The woman, who seemingly suffered from post-partum depression, searches for some sort of peace in her male dominated world. The woman’s increasingly intense obsession with the wallpaper leaves the reader with many questions about male-female relationships and perhaps even insanity. Therefore, the manipulation of theme allows the author to delicately introduce symbols in the text. The yellow wallpaper itself is the most obvious symbol that represents the protagonist’s mindset. It contains patterns, angles and curves that all contradict one another, and it can reflect the wife’s emotions during that time. In addition, the nursery symbolically shows the way women of that time were seen as being on the same level as children, as well as the barred windows of confinement of women with respect to the perception of what a woman’s role was. These symbols represent Gilman’s view on the status of women in the patriarchal society of the nineteenth-century.
The story takes shape of a journal about the main character. Consequently, the reader’s view is limited to the impressions of the single character, Jane. Considering the background information on Gilman, one can effortlessly draw the conclusion that the story is actually an indication of a personal experience. Gilman had suffered a tremendous mental depression as the result of psychiatric treatments, prior to writing the story The Yellow Wallpaper. The author identifies herself with the main character. As a result of her poor health, Jane listened to the doctor’s advice and redirected the power she previously spent on doubts to “air and exercise, and journeys” (Gilman 1392)). She ...


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...easier about you” (Gilman 1398). In addition, the other characters play a slight role in the story and can be considered part of the theme. In this case, they represent the connection with the real, obvious world. The healing process tends to be an appearance because the body heals as the doctor predicted but, her mind was resonating with the environment in a different way, provoking changes in her perception. Each bizarre event associated with the mysterious appearances of the woman from the wallpaper seemed to have a connection with the two-dimensional world she came from. For instance, the woman was “Creeping as fast as a cloud shadow in a high wind” (Gilman 1401). Elements of two-dimensional worlds are certainly an exceptionally appealing effect. They symbolize the strained obedient attitude of those characters, given that their movements were rapidly silent.

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