Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper

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In her book, "The yellow wallpaper", Charlotte Perkins Gilman presents a protagonist that finds her mental illness voluminously increasing as they are unable to cope with their isolated surroundings as well as the oppression forced upon women stereotypical of 19th century American society. Throughout the book, Gilman utilizes the protagonist 's diary as a lens of consciousness, accounting the events within the story as its reliability becomes unstable and the protagonist, seeps deeper into a delusional state of being. It is through these accounts that the wallpaper evolves in its symbolism, becoming a menacing pattern of confinement, a reflection of her society 's oppression of women that is exemplified by the narrator 's decline in mental…show more content…
As the story continues, the reader begins to see the wallpaper changing parallel to the narrator 's increasingly morbid perception of it, in the beginning, the narrator believes it to just be visually appalling, describing it as "revolting" and an "unclean yellow" with a foul smell carrying throughout the house and filling the narrator 's small enclosure. Gilman uses a significant amount of color and smell diction to describe the narrator 's relationship with the wallpaper, giving it a sense of life and being. The narrator complains of the wallpaper 's "yellow, unclean, sickly, sulfur" (pg.156) appearance and the how it becomes almost like a "fungus" that grows and sprouts (pg. 163) with the smell of "bad yellow things" (pg.165). These intensely unpleasant and relatable images help to reinforce the narrator 's sense of oppression within her life and through society 's expectations, as they all are haunting smells and colors that seem to linger all around, unable to broken from the pattern. This paper becomes increasingly more menacing as the narrator decreases in mental instability, its pattern becoming ghostly, only seen in certain lighting, then coming to resemble bars. The narrator begins to becomes obsessive over the "paper", believing it to be some kind of text only she can and must interpret. As her obsession grows, the paper begins to resemble the shape of a desperate woman, "stooping down and creeping about" (Pg.166) and the yellow pattern becomes reminiscent of bars on a cage, which is seen confining many women as they strangle themselves attempting to escape through the bars/ pattern. In this, Gilman masterfully creates the entrapping wallpaper as a mirror to society and its entrapment of women into an "acceptable" role. And as her fascination begins to continuously haunt the narrator, she is effectively silenced once again by her husband 's condescending attitude about her illness, "John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in man. John is
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