The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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The Yellow Wall Paper: Profound


I believe that American Literature is very profound to understand it. It has a lot of meaning that can help us see our American society in a different way or help us understand it better. Everything in American literature is express through words, not images. However, Literature most of the time open our mind to visualized what is being said. In "the Yellow Wall Paper" story, I believe the author is expressing herself through words as if she is describing an abstract painting. I believe this story is not literal. I believe this story is composed as an abstract painting that is full of meaning. Ralph Waldo Emerson was a strong influential on the lives of many writers during the time this story was written. "Emerson's emphasis on individuality, nonconformity, and resistance to traditional authority defines a national identity for Americans still seeking independence from English influence;"(NIck Evans). Now, I believe that Gilman was very much influence by what Emerson said in his lectures during this time. The purpose of this paper is to show how Gilman had a respond to what emerson said through my interpretation of Charlotte Perkins Gilman story. Now, the overall body of this paper is first,I will give many paragraphs with a particular point on each one of them together with my interpretation of each one. My Point is that each paragraph will be adding up to the final Paragraph which will give my final interpretation of the story. In the conclusion, I will restate my interpretation together with some historical facts and emersons ideas that will correspond to my interpretation of Gilman. My goal of this paper is to show how Gilman is using the story like an abstract painting to open the eyes of women to be nonconformists in society and at home.

First of all, John and his wife arrived to live in a big house for a short time together with John sister. In this house there is a room with a yellow wall paper. Before they arrive this room was use as a nursery, playroom and gymnasium. I believe this three different functions gives us a summary of the experiences of John's wife in this room. She arrive here to have a "total rest cure" for her depression. What is the significance of the room being a nursery?

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Throughout the story, she kept saying to herself that she was sick. She felt she had something wrong. John and her brother said she had nothing wrong only a depression(801). I believe she felt always like a patient because John was a doctor and the room was a nursery. On page 802, she said this expression "atrocious nursery". Atrocious means a thoroughly unpleasant or revolting thing. This confirms the fact that she hated being under her husband care. she hated being a patient. The room always reminded her of the sickness she thought she had.

I believe that she was always treated by her husband as a child. He would call her such names as "blessed little goose"(803), "little girl"(807), and "bless her little Heart"(803). She was always constrain by John. One can see this throughout the story. She was always told what to do even her sister in law kept an eye on her. I believe the room second past function of a playroom caused her to think always that she was being treated as a child.

The room being in the past a gymnasium has a lot of significance. Since she was always treated as a child and she always reminded herself of her sickness what else can she do? In the story , she was not allowed not even to write. What can she do? Througout the story, one can see that she did not like the yellow wall paper in this room; she hated it. However, she was "provoked to study"it(802). There is a quote on page (805) which says "It is as good as gymnastics, I assure you, I start, we'll say, at the bottom, down in the corner over there where it has not been touched, and I determine for the thousandth time that I will follow that pointless pattern to some sort of a conclusion. She later in the story said that she feels much better that life is very much more exciting now than it used to be because of the wall paper(808). This confirms my interpretation that her mind was just wandering around looking where she could do something productive. She did not like the paper at first, but later she enjoy it; she began to exercise her mind.

Throgout the story, she demonstrated in having such a high standard of creative imagination even when she was a child(804). Now since she began to exercise her mind to find "that pointless pattern to some sort of a conclusion"(805) I believe that she experience a growth in her creative imagination. Whenever she stop writing and then continued writing, I noticed that she wrote something new that she discovered which added to the old observation. She said such things as people walking outside(803), formless sort of figures behind the wall paper(804), woman stooping down and creeping about behind the pattern(866), a figure shaking the pattern(806), during daytime, the pattern keeps her so still, (808), a yellow smell(809), the front pattern does move-and no wonder! The women behind shakes it(809),and she thinks the women in the pattern gets out(810). This clearly shows her growth in imagination.

"Hurrah! This is the last day, but it is enough(811). Toward the end of the story, I believe that through her growth in mind she developed a nonconformist attitude. On page 811, She tears away all the yellow wall paper where she believes behind this pattern is the creeping woman who goes out during the day and is behind the wall paper during the night. The creeping women helped her to peeled it off. However after the wall paper was remove John wife said "I wonder if they all come out of that wallpaper as I did" and toward the end of the story John's wife was creeping all over the room. I believe that since she said that she came out from the wall paper this is suggesting that the old covenant with her being conform to her husband was over. She being the real creeping women manifested her new covenant. She was fully expressing herself through her body the new and powerful developed mind. Even the last sentence, she called her husband "that man". I strongly believe that she is suggesting to all women, as they read this story, that they would be encourage to pursue their exercise of their mind to reach their own search of what is reality to them.

On page 812, she mentions how there are creeping women outside. She even said that it is so pleasant to be out in this great room and creep around as I please(812). She said that it is much better to creep inside than outside(812). Because the end of the story ended with her creeping in the room even over her husband, this suggest that she not only gain such a high developed mind to become a nonconformist, but she gain it in her own household. She was not only a nonconformist as the other nonconformist creeping women outside, but she was one who did not conform to anyone, not even her husband. I believe that the author is strongly suggesting to the women readers to be not only nonconformist but to carry it out in their own household. In other words, that they will live out whatever they speak and teach to others.

In conclusion, I believe that the author is truly expressing herself through this abstract story. I believe she is trying to remove the veil from women eyes so that they can see that it is so crucial for them to developed their mind and become a nonconformist, not only to society but in their homes. Throughout women history one can see how many of the active single leaders were intellectuals and many others who were not leaders but were professionals. Here one can see that women had such a movement because their mind was developed; Their mind is a helper. Because they had such a developed mind, the mind open their eyes to see how they were treated by man. However, some of them when they got marry they became conform to their husband. The author of this story, which was on her own experience with her husband, divorce her husband. This shows clearly that she was not conform to her husband. she later married again and it did work very well because she was able to go on on her career. She was able to live out in her marriage what she teach others to do. One can see clearly that this interpretation of Gilman work clearly is in respond to Emersons ideas on Individuality, Nonconformity, and breaking away from all traditions. Women during this time were breaking step by step from man's conformity.

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