The Yellow Wallpaper Symbolism

731 Words3 Pages
“The Yellow Wallpaper” analysis The Yellow Wallpaper is a short fiction story published in 1892 by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Gilman was a noted writer, lecturer, and theorist who fought for women’s rights and women’s suffrage in the early 1900s. Gilman married artist Charles Stetson in 1884. During her marriage to Stetson, Gilman experienced severe depression after having their daughter and underwent a series of odd treatments for it. This is believed to have inspired her best-known short story "The Yellow Wall-Paper". The story is from the point of view of a woman 's multiple secret journal entries & who’s name is not directly specified in the text but may possibly be Jane. She is a newly married young woman who has also recently become a…show more content…
As a part of her treatment John & her brother (who is also a physician) advise her not to use her imagination in any way & rest, so her secret journal entries are the only kind of mental stimulus she has. As the story unfolds the narrator 's mind begins to run wild. She becomes fixated on the yellow wallpaper that is in the old nursery room where she & John sleep. It reaches a point where she imagines a woman is trapped behind this stained horrid wallpaper. Although the exact symbolic representation is arguable, the yellow patterned wallpaper seems to symbolize the role women have in society at this time, because of its focus on gender division & the significant time period it was written in where women 's rights was still a major issue . It represents oppressed women who are silenced behind this “ugly pattern” that society has deemed acceptable but in reality makes no sense much like the…show more content…
Assuming that husbands and/or male doctors truly had womens best intentions in mind, in the end it often depicted them as mentally fragile creatures that cannot handle anything more than cooking, cleaning, being a mother & wife . Jennie, John’s sister serves as a representation to what women were expected to be during this time and what Jane did not want to be. Jennie takes care of the house & takes on the wifely duties along with Mary (who is only mentioned once) the nursemaid that tends to the baby. They also have absolutely no lines of their own in the story & Gilman likely did this on purpose. They both simply do their jobs & do as they are told without any interference to John whatsoever. In the story John has proven to genuinely love & care for his wife but it seems as if his word and opinion overshadow that of Jane’s time & time again. After being diagnosed with “temporary nervousness” by her husband Jane goes on to state the following, “Personally, i disagree with their ideas” “Personally, i believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good” “But what is one to do?” (pg 1-2). Although Jane believes being active would improve her condition, John 's “status” over rules her opinion. The “But what is one to do” is not specifically referring to Jane but more so to all women in this era. What else can they do
Open Document