The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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“The Yellow Wallpaper,” a short story written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, focuses on the position and treatment of females in a patriarchal society. This story is simply the account of a woman being driven into madness, written from the perspective of this female narrator, during her rest-cure treatment. However, underneath the layer of this plot, Gilman is driving a deeper tale, one of repression and the struggle for freedom. This story is truly about breaking free from the oppression that a patriarchal society places upon females, refusing them a place in society to express themselves. Gilman portrays this intense oppression through the first-person narrator’s treatment from her family as she struggles for the freedom to express her thoughts and feelings in her passion of writing. Every aspect of the story echoes either society’s treatment of females or the desire for freedom, not only the wallpaper which is a central aspect of the story but also through the setting. Gilman uses the secluded “nursery room” in which the narrator is barred shut as the questionable objects in the room in order to symbolize the patriarchal society’s nature to confine women to the sidelines rather than allow them a welcoming place in society.
The events of “The Yellow Wallpaper” transpire within the setting of the colonial mansion’s “nursery room” (Gilman 309). The story’s narrator describes this room as being a “nursery first and then playroom and gymnasium […as] the windows are barred for little children, and there are rings and things in the walls” (Gilman 309). The narrator also describes the objects that occupy the room, mentioning towards the end of the story that her husband, John, was “moving all my furniture down” so that “there [was] not...


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...ciety are pushed into these secluded areas, representing the repression and lack of freedom endured by females and in such a society.
Gilman’s short story “The Yellow Wallpaper,” expresses the patriarchal society’s repressive nature towards females as well as women’s desire for freedom. Numerous aspects of the story demonstrate this idea of repression as well as the struggle for freedom, including the story’s setting. The “nursery room” traps in the narrator, denying her the freedom to leave and enter into the living space of the house, just as the patriarchal society refuses females a true place in the heart of society. Gilman uses both the physical features of the room as well as its location in the mansion to symbolize this treatment of females in a patriarchal society as well as the struggle on women’s part to break away from this repression and achieve freedom.

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