Eventually, we realize that the woman in the wallpaper is the narrator. Throughout the story, the narrator 's mental state continues to deteriorate. Being both the narrator 's husband and physician, John assumes that he knows what’s best for his wife. However, in this essay, I will argue that Gilman portrays John as an antagonist or “villain” in her story because, through his actions, he is the main reason for his wife 's descent into insanity which proves that he didn’t know what was best for his wife after all.
“The Yellow Wallpaper” Literary Analysis The “Yellow Wallpaper” is a iconic short story written by Charlotte Perkins, a famous feminist author. The novel takes place the 19th century and deals with the issue of how women dealt with mental health issues, specifically postpartum depression. Back in the 19th century the way physicians dealt with women 's mental health was much different then it is today, back then they believed that the cure for depression was solvable by isolation and rest. As a result many women suffering from postpartum depression were forced into isolation which only made their situation worse. Jane; the narrator of the short story, is one of these woman forced into the rest treatment by her physician husband.
The house is in a super-isolated place. The house represents the narrator 's personal emotions; restricted and isolation. In the story, “The Yellow Wallpaper”, the symbolism of the the wallpaper and the diary demonstrate the psychological difficulties, that were caused by being disrespected and thought less of, during the 19th century for women across the United States. In the “Yellow Wallpaper”, the woman 's husband John neglects her symptoms of postpartum and says she has a slight hysterical tendency.
Skip to content THEBLUMEBLOG Exploring Literature in a Digital Age Menu The Yellow Wallpaper Argument Essay Written by theblume The_Yellow_Wallpaper_by_kaitaro04011“The Yellow Wallpaper” is, on its surface, about a woman driven insane by post-partum depression and a dangerous treatment. However, an examination of the protagonist’s characterization reveals that the story is fundamentally about identity. The protagonist’s projection of an imaginary woman — which at first is merely her shadow — against the bars of the wallpaper’s pattern fragments her identity, internalizing the conflict she experiences and eventually leading to the complete breakdown of the boundaries of her identity and that of her projected shadow.
On the other side in Susan Glaspell’s Trifles, from 1916, we see a similar lack of respect towards women. Although these stories are different, there is still evidence of women going against the social norms. When one becomes confined to solitary oftentimes the brain will entertain itself within the environment it finds itself. Locked away in an attic nursery we see Gilman’s narrator occupying herself with the wallpaper.
Initially, the narrator is disgusted and irritated by the paper, claiming, “I never saw a worse paper in my life. One of those sprawling flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin” (339). This reaction mirrors that of a sane person’s--fearing the unknown, they distance themselves from insanity and any iteration of it, seeing it as grotesque and shameful. Yet, as she spends more time in the room, she grows interested in the wallpaper and begins to investigate. She comes to the conclusion that: “I didn 't realize for a long time what the thing was that showed behind, that dim sub-pattern, but now I am quite sure it is a woman” (346).
As the story progresses it is palpable that the yellow wallpaper itself symbolizes mental illnesses. One reason the wallpaper symbolizes mental illness is because in the beginning of the story the narrator’s insanity is getting worse by her distress over the paper. The narrator of the story is the first person who is affected by the wallpaper, and just like mental illness in real life, the victim is the first person to be aware and affected by their condition. One of the things disturbing the narrator at first were the shapes of the paper and how they became more evident as the days past.
The Struggle of Many Women The story, “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Stetson, reflects the life of many women during the difficult times they were living in. The narrator can relate to many people during the Victorian age where the woman’s role was to be a wife and a mother only. The narrator is a woman who is imaginative and is dissociated from herself and from the world.
Evidence suggests that Gilman based “The Yellow Wallpaper” off her own life. In 1884, Gilman happily married Charles Walter Stetson but soon became distant and depressed. Stetson was very overprotective and affectionate which caused her depression to severely worsen, and ultimately caused their marriage to end. As Carl N. Deglar states in his article, “Her illness became more severe, however, and ended in a total nervous collapse” (39-42). This is likely where Gilman got the theme of oppression when writing “The Yellow Wallpaper.”
Throughout the generation, women have always been trapped in some way or another. In the short story, ‘The Yellow Wall-Paper’ and the novel ‘The Awakening’ highlights the struggle of women in the late 1800’s and the early 1900s in society. The Yellow wallpaper is a short story about women giving birth and being imprisoned in a room with a weird view of the yellow wall-paper. This resulted in her hallucination lead to the development of mental illness. By the end of the story, she rips off the yellow wallpaper and kills her husband.
During her time in the room she felt the room “at night in any kind of light, in twilight, candlelight, lamplight, and worst of all by moonlight, it becomes bars!” (Gilman 304). The narrator of the yellow wallpaper descends into madness to escape the cruel dominance of her society. As the story progresses the yellow wallpaper becomes a constant companion. She first dislikes the color and despises the pattern, but after closely studying the pattern “a strange, provoking, formless sort of figure that seems to skulk about behind that silly and conspicuous front design” and after obsessing over the painting she finds bars hidden.
I wonder—I begin to think—I wish John would take me away from here!”(Gilman 652) The wallpaper starts to tangle in her mind confusing her and she is starting to see things in it. The wallpaper is the same as the mind of the woman, continuously building up the insanity, and having thoughts that no one knows but her, and the
Despite John being considerate, caring and feeling sorry for his wife’s illness, he dominates over her both physically and psychologically (AndrewM). He incarcerates her due to his pervasive torment. For instance, the narrator is coerced to stay in the nursery regardless of her will. The prison’s windows are barred while the wallpaper torturing her, but she cannot voice her choking experience and whenever, she tries the husband reproaches her (AndrewM). Despite her preference for the house downstairs, her husband demands her to stay in the nursery, and all her views are shuttered.
The story “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman deals with the narrator’s insanity as she identifies herself completely with the woman in the wallpaper. This made her believe that both she and the women have liberated themselves from masculine oppression by tearing out the domesticated prisoner in the wallpaper. Also, with the narrator being diagnosed with postpartum depression after her pregnancy, she finds herself isolated from society under the treatment of her husband who is a doctor and prescribes her not to do any form of duty/work. However, she is not the main reason to blame for her insanity because she had no chance of expressing herself but rather doing what her doctor “husband” says which lead to her inner destruction.
A World of External Silence with an Audible Mind As someone who personally struggled with mental illness, author Shannon L. Alder quotes, “Your perspective on life comes from the cage you were held captive in.” People may recall when they have been rejected by close acquaintances, but the true, shocking memories are those of rejection from friends and family. These issues strike the most in people because they try to live a fulfilling life to please friends and family, while inside, they are the ones suffering. A society that is split between equality and destruction leads to a deranged world in themselves.