Foreshadowing In The Yellow Wallpaper

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In Charlotte Gilman’s short story “The Yellow Wallpaper,” she tells a horrific ghost story about symptoms of the rest cure. The “rest cure” was a treatment developed by Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell who restricted women of intellectual stimuli and condemned them to a domestic life to help their postpartum recovery. After being a victim of this treatment, Gilman wrote “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Careful attention to the use of Gilman’s symbols in her short story allows the reader to analyze some of the themes concerning feminism and societal misogyny. Foreshadowing throughout, Gilman uses the house, the writing, and the wallpaper as symbols to show how man’s use of the “rest cure” limit women in society and offers that the solution to this issue is to persistently tear away at man’s injustice. Throughout the story, Gilman foreshadows the detrimental effects of the rest cure by …show more content…

To develop the setting of the house, Gilman uses vivid diction to craft an image of the house to show how men a imprisoning the minds of women in Victorian society. Gilman introduces the house as a “colonial mansion, a hereditary estate, I would say a haunted house, and reach the height of romantic felicity” (1066). Although her description uses the words “romantic felicity” which seem to carry a light tone, these words are preceded by the dark statement that the estate is a “haunted house”. By contrasting these two tones, Gilman foreshadows that the house in which the narrator is interned for treatment might seem magnificent and grand, but in reality, the house and the rest cure will turn out to be her doom. The foreshadowing hints that Gilman uses the contrasting description of the house to point out how physicians like John are oppressing women by denying them their right to a postpartum experience with their baby, a thing of “romantic felicity,” and instead, turning it into an ordeal as nightmarish as a “haunted house.”

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