Feminist Hysteria In Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper

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The Yellow Wallpaper, by writer Charlotte Perkins Gillman, was produced in a time where there was a presence of feminist hysteria. So much so that when a woman’s mental and/or physical health was not up to par for whatever reason it was coined as being “hysterical.” A possible reason being that as Professor stated, “[it was], a sort of catch-all diagnosis for women of a certain class who didn 't behave in the ways women of a certain class were supposed to behave or simply because depression and other illnesses were not properly understood. Gilman writes, “You see he does not believe I am sick! If a physician of high standing, and one’s own husband assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing […] what is one to do” (Gilman 10).…show more content…
Her environment is almost prison-like. She asks him to repaper the room, but her husband refuses stating, “that after the wall-paper was changed it would be the heavy bedstead, and then the barred windows, and then that gate at the head of the stairs, and so on” (Gilman 14). But perhaps the most obvious use of setting to emphasize feminist views is the wallpaper itself which could be considered as the focal-point of the story. Gilman exposes more and more insight into the meaning of the wallpaper throughout the story. She uses a slow pace to release clues here and there to the reader of how the wallpaper is utilized as a symbol of male authority and or of the suppressed self. Jane’s fascination with the ugly wallpaper begins as a minute annoyance, which builds up to an obsession. One of the strongest images is the paper’s pattern is its transformation to the different lighting. It develops from an eye to a woman shaking the bars. Gilman writes, “At night in any kind of light, in twilight, candlelight, lamplight, and worst of all by moonlight, it becomes bars! […] The faint figure behind seemed to shake the pattern, just as if she wanted to get out” (Gilman 26, 22). The wallpaper symbolizes domination and a psychological prison. Additionally, the yellow color of the wallpaper symbolizes inferiority. In the end, the protagonist’s mind is freed when she has removed most of the paper, which represents

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