The Yellow Wallpaper, By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

The Yellow Wallpaper, By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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In the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper”, Charlotte Perkins Gilman tells the story through the first person point of view where the story is told by the narrator only. The story takes place around the 80s-90s century where the narrator and her husband stay in a mansion for her rescue. The narrator is predicted to be suffering from temporary nervous depression by her husband, brother, and Weir Mitchell. Throughout the story, the readers could easily see many images that imply to the sexist reality back in time and how women are put under the pressure of the unequal society with the stereotype that they are always the supporters rather than the main financial provider for the family. Gilman introduces a new fictional theme to the audience back in time. The theme in a short story is understood as the central idea embodied by or explored in a literary work, or simply meant the general concept. By mainly using the elements of fiction which are symbolism and style of diction, Gilman successfully portrays the theme of women’s limited power in the sexist adversity and how social norm could have a negative effect on the people in it.

Gilman uses the symbolism of the yellow wallpaper to represent the female limited power in the sexist adversity. In a short story, symbolism refers to a word, person, object, or image that evokes a range of additional meanings that are usually more abstract than its literal significance. In this story, through “The Yellow Wallpaper”, Gilman portrays the narrator’s powerlessness to do what she wants. The narrator couldn’t change the wallpaper because it would lead other things to be changed, or just simply that John “would not hear of it” (Gilman 76,78). It is easy to understand that the narrator couldn’t cha...


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...symbolism and style of diction. In the story, Gilman uses the element symbolism to show female limited power in what they could do. While the yellow wallpaper represents the narrator’s powerlessness to break out from the sexist society oppressive. The symbolism of the woman behind the bars represents the narrator suffers from being treated like an object, a decoration, and a man belonging. By using her own style of diction, Gilman portrays the society’s effect on how people act and behave, and that society norm and its expectations could put the people around it in harm. Overall, this story teaches that back in time, women were put under the pressure of the social norm and its expectations which limited them in what they could or couldn’t do. It also shows that the social norm could have a negative effect on the people and influence them on their action and behavior.

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