Symbols and Symbolism Essay - Imagery and Symbolism in The Yellow Wallpaper

Symbols and Symbolism Essay - Imagery and Symbolism in The Yellow Wallpaper

Length: 734 words (2.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Imagery and Symbolism in The Yellow Wallpaper

On my first reading of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper", I found the short story extremely well done and the author, successful at getting her idea across.  Gilman's use of imagery and symbolism only adds to the reality of the nameless main character's sheltered life and slow progression into insanity or some might say, out of insanity. 

The short story is written in first person and it is from our nameless character's writing's that we are introduced to her world and her life.  It is through this that we see our main characters transition into a world that only she has access to.  She changes dramatically from our first meeting while everyone else stays very flat and unaffected.  This method is very effective in that this story from someone else's perspective would not be as real and understanding.  The outside world would have written about a crazy woman who slowly goes mad for no reason.  Only through her eyes can we see the true reason for her, not madness, epiphany.

The story begins when she and her husband have just moved into a colonial mansion to relieve her chronic nervousness.  An ailment her husband has conveniently diagnosed.  The husband is a physician and in the beginning of her writing she has nothing but good things to say about him, which is very obedient of her.  She speaks of her husband as if he is a father figure and nothing like an equal, which is so important in a relationship.  She writes, "He is very careful and loving, and hardly lets me stir without special direction."  It is in this manner that she first delicately speaks of his total control over her without meaning to and how she has no choices whatsoever.  This control is perhaps so imbedded in our main character that it is even seen in her secret writing; "John says the very worst thing I can do is to think about my I will let it alone and talk about the house."  Her husband suggests enormous amounts of bed rest and no human interaction at all.  He chooses a "prison-like" room for them to reside in that he anticipates will calm our main character even more into a comma like life but instead awakens her and slowly but surely opens her eyes to a woman tearing the walls down to freedom.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Symbols and Symbolism Essay - Imagery and Symbolism in The Yellow Wallpaper." 18 Nov 2019

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Desire for Freedom in The Story of an Hour and The Yellow Wallpaper

- In the short stories "The Story of an Hour" and The Yellow Wallpaper the imagery, symbolism, and the changing and tone throughout these stories explain that women deal with, and the conflict of their personal freedom and identity in a marriage. The women in these stories are viewed as strong and do whatever it takes to free themselves from their husbands. In “Story of an Hour” the irony is detected in the way that Louise reacts to the news of the death of her husband. The widow describes the world according to her perception, after the horrible news....   [tags: imagery, symbolism, Kate Chopin, Charlotte Perkins]

Research Papers
635 words (1.8 pages)

The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Gilman

- Charlotte Gilman’s short story “The Yellow wallpaper” is about a woman who retreats into an obsessive fantasy, due to the fact that she feels imprisoned in a marriage where she has little to no say in her own life. We learn in the beginning of the story that our character suffers from a nervous disorder, that we now know today as post-partum depression. In the search for a treatment our Narrators husband, John, prescribes “Rest Therapy”. The “Rest Therapy” that is prescribed prevents her from “working”, seeing friends, and enforces isolation....   [tags: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper]

Research Papers
1168 words (3.3 pages)

Analysis Of Gilman 's ' The Yellow Wallpaper '

- Women were not always equal to men, and in some ways women are still not equal to men. When​ ​“The​ ​Yellow​ ​Wallpaper”​ ​by​ ​Charlotte​ ​Perkins Gilman​ ​was​ ​released​ ​in​ ​the​ ​​New​ ​England​ ​Magazine​,​ ​the​ ​year​ ​was​ ​1892,​ ​and​ ​during​ ​this​ ​time, women​ ​were​ ​almost​ ​considered​ ​to​ ​be​ ​a​ ​different​ ​species. They did not have the same rights as men in any way and were treated as if they were incapable of being anything but housewives. For example, women were not allowed to vote, work, own property, write or even imagine....   [tags: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper]

Research Papers
1853 words (5.3 pages)

The Decline Of Sanity Of The Novel ' The Yellow Wallpaper '

- Annotated Bibliography for a Paper Discussing the Decline in Sanity of the Main Character in The Yellow Wallpaper Blackie, Michael. "Reading the Rest Cure." The Arizona Quarterly 60.2 (2004): 57-85. ProQuest. Web. 24 Apr. 2016. Blackie analyzes Gilman’s take on the rest cure created by Weir Mitchel in this document and goes into depth to describe the regimen that is to be followed. He expresses his view that the rest cure may not have been as bad as it is portrayed in The Yellow Wallpaper. This document will allow me to provide the accounts of others, both good and bad, when it comes to the treatment known as the rest cure....   [tags: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper]

Research Papers
1230 words (3.5 pages)

The Yellow Wallpaper, By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

- Throughout “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Charlotte Perkins Gilman tells her readers the story of a woman desperate to be free. Gilman’s use of symbolism is nothing short of brilliant in telling the story of a new mother suffering from postpartum depression and fighting her way through societies ideas of what a woman should be. When her husband, John, also known as her physician, tells her nothing is wrong with her mind, at first she believes him because she knows that society tells her she should. However, with her husband’s misdiagnosis, or attempt to keep his wife sane for the sake of their reputation, comes a short journey into madness for his wife, Jane....   [tags: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper]

Research Papers
1140 words (3.3 pages)

Representations of Madness in "The Yellow Wallpaper" and "The Black Cat"

- The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is the story of a woman spiralling into madness whilst her physician husband refuses to acknowledge that she has a "real" problem. On the other hand The Black Cat by Edgar Alan Poe is about a man who is initially fond of cats however as the plot progresses he becomes an alcoholic making him moody and violent, which lead him to torture and kills the animals and eventually also his wife. In Edgar Allan Poe’s "The Black Cat," symbolism is used to show the narrator’s capacity for violence, madness, and guilt .The recurring theme present in both these stories is that the main protagonists claim that they suffer or have been taken over by a form of...   [tags: Yellow Wallpaper, Black Cat, Charlotte Perkins Gil]

Research Papers
632 words (1.8 pages)

The Yellow Wallpaper, By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

- Madness with Marriage At the time Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote “The Yellow Wallpaper” she was considered a prominent feminist writer. This piece of background information allows the readers to see Gilman’s views on women’s rights and roles in the 18th century; “The Yellow Wallpaper” suggests that women in the 18th century were suppressed into society’s marital gender roles. Gilman uses the setting and figurative language, such as symbolism, imagery, and metaphors to convey the theme across. “The Yellow Wallpaper” is set in the 18th century, and this specific time era helps substantiate Gilman’s view....   [tags: Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Feminism]

Research Papers
701 words (2 pages)

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

- Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote The Yellow Wallpaper in 1890 about her experience in a psychiatric hospital. The doctor she had prescribed her “the rest cure” to get over her condition (Beekman). Gilman included the name of the sanitarium she stayed at in the piece as well which was named after the doctor that “treated” her. The short story was a more exaggerated version of her month long stay at Weir Mitchell and is about a woman whose name is never revealed and she slowly goes insane under the watch of her doctor husband and his sister (The Yellow Wallpaper 745)....   [tags: freedom, symbolism, psychiatric hospital]

Research Papers
1150 words (3.3 pages)

The Yellow Wallpaper

- When looking at two nineteenth century works of change for two females in an American society, Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Stephen Crane come to mind. A feminist socialist and a realist novelist capture moments that make their readers rethink life and the world surrounding. Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” was first published in 1892, about a white middle-class woman who was confined to an upstairs room by her husband and doctor, the room’s wallpaper imprisons her and as well as liberates herself when she tears the wallpaper off at the end of the story....   [tags: Literary Analysis, Gilman, Crane, Perkins]

Research Papers
1475 words (4.2 pages)

The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

- Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper,” written in 1892, is a short story told from the perspective of a woman believed to be “crazy”. The narrator believes her craziness to be a form of sickness. However, the narrator’s husband, John, believes her to be suffering from a temporary nervous depression. As the narrator’s condition worsens, she begins to see a woman moving from behind the yellow wallpaper in her (WC) bedroom. The wallpaper captures the narrator’s attention and, as a result, drives her mad....   [tags: Feminism, Charlotte Perkins Gilman]

Research Papers
1245 words (3.6 pages)

Related Searches

  It is the wallpaper, alive and a character in itself, that charges our main character's mind and helps her break free from the dull and husband driven life she has been living.  The wallpaper itself, so marvelously described, becomes our storyteller's best enemy and best friend.  More like a mirror, this yellow consuming wallpaper reflects what our main character is really going through and feeling and the woman that stirs and creeps within the wall is literally herself which is found out by us, the readers, when the housekeeper mentions the yellow stains on all of her clothes.  She wants to tear the confining wallpaper down that holds this imaginary woman in just as she wants to tear the confining way of life her husband has chosen for her.  The story continues to progress as she deconstructs and analyses the wallpaper until the climax when our main character locks herself in the yellow room to finally tear all of the wallpaper down so that the woman can never be put back and imprisoned forever.  The story concludes with her husband fainting, and our main character "creeping" and paying him no concern at all except that once again he is in her way but this time, not able to stop her voyage along the wall and for the rest of her life.

For some, this insanity seems without reason, but it is a long and overdue release of constraints that her husband had forced upon her for so long, much like the constraints that all of society had on women for so long.  Gilman, in one fail swoop has described the feelings that women had in her time and what could very well happen if women were to be kept quiet and reserved to only live as a man saw fit.  A giant of unspoken emotions and a typhoon of feminism were about to be released and freedom found for so many women just as it was found for our nameless main character.
Return to