The Yellow Wallpaper, By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The Yellow Wallpaper, By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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During the Victorian Era and late 1800’s, the conventional norms of society prevented women from ever attaining true independence and freedom. This was a direct result of the expectations that women were supposed to fulfill their household duties and devote their live towards their family, which prohibited them from achieving bliss and self-happiness. Subsequently, Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote her sensational short story, ”The Yellow Wallpaper,” in 1983 and illustrates a couple in which the power is unequally divided; the husband is a doctor and he makes all the decisions in the household. For instance, the wife is supposedly suffering from a “temporary nervous depression” is prescribed by her husband to stay in a secluded room and is forbidden from doing any physical activities. It is also important to note that the lack of name for the wife is meant to indicate that she is the face for all woman at the time. Therefore, not only was Gilman attempting to reveal the ludicrousness in the mental instability that would commonly follow this “rest cure”, but sought bring the general corruption of the 19th century to light. Throughout the story, Gilman utilizes various symbols, such as the house, the bed, moonlight, and the yellow wallpaper to portray the woman’s captivity and in general, the subordination of women in marriage.
As the story opens, the author introduces a magnificent and isolated manor audience to directly mirror the seclusion that the narrator will soon be facing as the story unfolds; the house itself serves as symbol of the narrator’s isolation and quarantine. For instance, she writes that the house is beautiful but is “three miles from the village… [and] there are hedges and walls and gates that lock, and lots of s...


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...n of docile women in 19th century society – the time in which this literary piece was published. Therefore, the narrator’s act of tearing down the wallpaper is a symbolic representation of women asserting their self-identity and “creeps” around to signify the initial stages of the feminist movements.
All in all, it is undoubtedly clear that the implementation of the various symbols and the wallpaper’s destruction is a symbolic representation of women attempting to break free from societal chains in pursuit of gender equality. Furthermore, Gilman effectively portrays the injustice of men having excessive power over their wives of during the 19th century and late 20th century. In doing so, she is able to spur attention on the subject and ultimately help women by exposing the men’s faults and reinvigorate the women to fight for a more acceptable position in society.

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