As was common of the treatment of women during the nineteenth century, Charlotte Perkins Gilman's short story, "The Yellow Wallpaper," is one of oppression as John, the protagonist's physician husband, tries to cure her mental illness with a treatment plan of solitude and rest after moving in hopes his wife will regain her health. While critics have debated what causes the character's eventual insanity, María Teresa González Mínguez suggests that lack of a creative outlet lends to the woman's rapid regression. The protagonist's lack of a creative outlet combined with isolation ensures a downward spiral for the woman as symptoms of her mental illness ultimately consume her. While John hopes monitoring his wife's behaviors will cure her, his efforts only worsen her mental state.
The narrator believes the woman is trapped and is trying to free herself; therefore, she rips the wallpaper to help the woman she is visualizing. This shorty story was written as if the mentally unstable narrator was writing in her diary. The perspective of the narrator brings another level of depth to the metaphor that the wallpaper represents because the story is from her point of view so we watch the entire process of her losing her sanity due to being isolated from the world (she became lonely and helpless). Gilman brilliantly displayed how the narrator perceived the yellow wallpaper and allowed the audience to see how a mentally stable person perceived the yellow wallpaper at the end of the story. Gilman’s use of the narrator allows the audience to empathize and relate to the narrator and the struggles she faces throughout the story.
It is not a mere coincidence that the woman in the wallpaper is ensnared behind a design. Throughout “The Yellow Wallpaper”, Gilman demonstrates how a person’s isolation and restriction to freely express their own uniqueness can lead to undesirable results such as hallucinations and insanity. The narrator’s mind is restrained from reading and writing, therefore her mind in its place turns to her surroundings and settles upon the wallpaper as an intellectual task and literacy imagination that she obsess over to an unhealthy degree, which is the only place she can maintain some control and exercise the power of her imaginative mind. By having the woman, whom the narrator imagines, be seen as though she is trapped behind a pattern is merely a more straightforward personification of that metaphorical restriction of self-expressing, creativity, and desire to be independence. For Gilman, a person’s mind that is kept isolated without any intellectual activities is condemned to self-destruct just like a ticking
Gilman puts her in a shabby room alone. The narrator writes, “The wall-paper, as I said before, is torn off in spots (Gilman 87).” The room has a yellow, peeling wallpaper with a sub-pattern that is symbolic. The sub-pattern is a woman trying to escape from behind the main pattern. Gilman is using the sub-pattern and main pattern to represent the protagonist and her longing to get out of the "cage" she has been living in.
Symbolism Analysis of The Yellow Wallpaper One might know that Charlotte Perkins Gilman, author of the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” uses the wallpaper in the main character’s room as a symbol for a bigger underlying meaning. This is a short story about a young women diagnosed of depression and “a slight hysterical tendency”. In hopes of healing the narrator, her husband moves them into an old, ornate home for the summer and required her to refrain from any activity to calm her mind. However, instead of getting better, the narrator goes into a deeper level of madness. This madness is caused by her obsession over what she believes is animate patterns and a trapped women in a peeling, aged wallpaper in her room.
The progressive degeneration in the narrator’s mental health and the slow but sure spiritual assertion in the female protagonist are worked out with the help of the central symbol of yellow wallpaper” (Rao 44). Moreover, the wallpaper illustrates the metamorphosis of Jane from a state of confinement to liberation. Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” illustrates a woman’s unique path from mental and physical confinement to liberation of them both.
Passage Analysis #1 Charlotte Perkins Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper” Gilman, in this particular passage of “The Yellow Wallpaper,” explores the theme of female oppression through imagery and symbolism of the wall-paper. These elements of literature make the wall-paper come to life for both the narrator and the audience. “The front pattern does move”(55) personifies the wall-paper to be so animate and physically restraining that the woman behind it must shake it to attempt to escape. The italicization of “does” serves to further affirm that the wallpaper exhibits restrictive human-like behaviors - particularly those of dominant men in society. The narrator states that there are “a great many woman behind”(55), extending the metaphor to all Victorian women in the United States and others around the world who are oppressed.
In the short story, The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman represents how wretchedness is overlooked and changed into blended sentiments that eventually result in a significantly more profound enduring incongruity. The Yellow Wallpaper utilizes striking mental and psychoanalytical symbolism and an effective women's activist message to present a topic of women' have to escape from detainment by their male centric culture. In the story, the narrator's better half adds to the generalization individuals put on the rationally sick as he confines his significant other from social circumstances and keeps her in an isolated house. The narrator it's made out to trust that something isn't right with her and is informed that she experiences some illness by her own significant other John.
Throughout short fiction, Charlotte Gilman is most famously noted for her ability to create strong gothic themes in her writing. This is especially true in her 1890s story “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Overall, an important theme in Charlotte Gilman short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” is that when combined, isolation and oppression often lead to negative consequences such as insanity and mental instability. Gilman achieves this through her thorough use of symbolism and settings that helps to highlight and establish the overall theme.
In this story, ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ itself plays a role of Threshold Guardians which always challenge the Hero to prove her worthiness. This wallpaper becomes an obsession to the narrator, where she begins to see herself. The Wallpaper has its own significant role as the story progresses, but it is mostly a symbol of narrator’s worsening nervous depression. It is a part of puzzle that misperceives interpretation, a task to be solved, and mostly a misogynistic principals of the society and all the persuasive force that make her think more about this topic. Gilman describe( “Through watching so much at night, when it changes so, I have finally found out.
Charlotte Gilman’s short story, ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’, (1899) is a text that describes how suppression of women and their confinement in domestic sphere leads to descend into insanity for escape. The story is written as diary entries of the protagonist, who is living with her husband in an old mansion for the summer. The protagonist, who remains unnamed, is suffering from post-partum depression after the birth of her child and is on ‘rest’ cure by her physician husband. In this paper, I will try to prove that ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ acts as a subversive text by portraying the protagonist’s “descent into madness” as a result of the suppression that women faced in Victorian period.
Analysis of the Insane Process of the Heroine in the Yellow Wallpaper The author of the Yellow Wallpaper is Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860—1935), an outstanding American feminist, writer, novelist and so on. During her life, Gilman has written so many poetry and short stories. She is a utopian feminist and is honored as a role model for future generations of females due to her odd concepts and lifestyle. The Yellow Wallpaper is not the first or the longest work of her, but it is a best-seller of all her works.
She identified the yellow wallpaper as a metaphor for women’s discourse. The narrator’s underlying feelings of confusion, depression, and frustration was covered by the yellow wallpaper which she rips from the walls at the very end to reveal “what is elsewhere kept hidden and embodies patterns that the patriarchal order ignores, suppresses, fears as grotesque or fails to perceive at all” (35). The yellow wallpaper is interpreted as the conflict of gender inequality and the struggles of women in a patriarchal society. The imagery reflects on how women feel toward sexual inequality and the situation with
The short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a story full of imaginative symbolism and descriptive settings. However, without the narrator’s unique point of view and how it affects her perception of her environment, the story would fail to inform the reader of the narrator’s emotional plummet. The gothic function of the short story is to allow the reader to be with the narrator as she gradually loses her sanity and the point of view of the narrator is key in ensuring the reader has an understanding of the narrator’s emotional and mental state throughout the story. It’s clear from the beginning of the story that the narrator’s point of view greatly differs from that of her husband’s and other family in her life.
The yellow wallpaper is not just the dreadful décor the narrator is stuck within the story but the most important symbol in the story. It symbolizes how women were not allowed to change or free to make their own decisions. The narrator once said that the wallpaper "sticks horribly and the pattern just enjoys it" (Gilman). She felt like the wallpaper stuck and not able to succumb to change she demonstrates this as well when she says "The faint figure behind seemed to shake the pattern, just as if she wanted to get out" (Gilman). The narrator herself became the women she saw in the wallpaper that she felt trapped in a life without change which manifested itself into the wallpaper further increasing the symbolism and importance of yellow wallpaper.