The Yellow Wallpaper

The Yellow Wallpaper

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In The Yellow Wallpaper, a short story by Charlotte Gilman, there are many symbols within the text that one can construe a myriad of ways. One of the most prominent and perhaps the most important symbol is the titled yellow wallpaper. To the main character, Jane, the wallpaper is at first a nuisance, then an obsession, and finally
salvation. The material of the paper itself represents Jane's everyday life. The illogical pattern that decorates it, reflects the absence of logic in her mind. The very color of the paper depicts the illness that yellows her sight and imprisons her within an unpredictable life.
The wallpaper is at first a great annoyance to Jane; she claims that it is confusing and contradicting. Because her disease confuses her mind and contradicts her logic, the paper parallels her mental state at this point. Desperately attempting to unravel the
mystery she imagines in the wallpaper, she becomes obsessed with deciphering its meaning. As her illness progresses, she begins to hallucinate and finally concludes that there is a woman trapped within that 'pointless pattern.'; Jane knows that she is the only
one who can see the woman and, therefore, the woman's only chance of freedom.
Slowly detaching from reality, Jane becomes the woman within the paper not only because of her obsession with it, but because of its parallel to her own life. In her final step toward insanity, she tears the paper off the walls to release the woman and herself. When her husband finds her, with the wallpaper and her sanity about her feet, she forcefully exclaims, 'I've got out at last...in spite of you and Jane. And I've pulled off most of the paper, so you can't put me back.

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She completely disconnects from 'Jane'; and disconnected, simply becomes a free woman. She destroys her sanity along with the wallpaper, and like the wallpaper her sanity cannot be restored. Her detachment from sanity frees her from obligations, logical thoughts, and normal life restraints. And through the progression from mild lunacy to complete insanity, she finally finds her salvation.
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