The Yellow Wallpaper, By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The Yellow Wallpaper, By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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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. Jane’s downward spiral, as one may call it, turns out to be not so downward when the reader finally understands the theme by dissecting the symbolism used throughout this short, yet brilliant, story.
Before Jane’s descent into complete madness, the reader learns about a baby. The baby is taken care of by the nanny while Jane is going through “recovery.” She is seen as an unfit mother because of her not being right minded, so they tell her the baby is well cared for and then the mention of a baby never comes up again. The madness described throughout the story is that of a woman who wants nothing more than to be free. Once the reader learns of the baby, it is a strong conclusion that Jane is suffering from postpartum depression. Her unwillingness, or incapability, to take care of her child, and her will to express herself in ways that she was never able to do before, begin to show when she truly loses her mind. She yearns so badly for a life to call her own that she is willing to lose sight of what society tells her should matter most.
One of the most obvious uses of symbolism ...


... middle of paper ...


...hat she has freed herself of her oppressors, one of which she says is herself. However, a question still lingers: is she really free, or has she just gone mad? Most would agree that insanity is not the way to freedom, but for a woman who 's emotions, intellect, and creativity were forced to be oppressed, maybe being right minded is even worse. One could pick up on the recurring theme throughout the story and see that feminism plays a large role in telling the tale of “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Jane’s inability to be herself, and her husband telling her that all is as it should be, is just a man telling a woman how she should feel. Her life after having a baby changed, but society told her that it did not, which caused Jane to lose sight of her sanity. Maybe losing her mind was enough of a trade to have the ability to do as she pleases, or better yet, as her mind pleases.

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