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Summary Of The Yellow Wallpaper

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Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses a psychological horror story to depict and critique the role a woman has in a marriage in the nineteenth century. It suggests that a woman’s position in the institution of marriage is to deal with the domestic affairs of the household and was not to partake in work outside of the house as that was left up to the man. It is because of this distinction between man and women that women remained in a state of ignorance, preventing further development as a person. Charlotte Perkins Gilman portrays all of this accurately through the setting, tone, and the symbolism that reveals itself in the story. The setting of this narration gives a lot of clues as to what the story is really about. First of all, in the story the narrator is stuck in a room she is absolutely disgusted with. She includes details about “it was a nursery at first”, “the windows are barred for children” and “there are rings and things in the walls”. These details say a lot about what is really going on. What does the husband’s choice of room suggest about their relationship and her place in it? Notice the jail reference and the fact that she is being placed in a childish situation. It is becoming more evident as to why she is underdeveloped…show more content…
The biggest symbol of all in this story is the yellow wallpaper. The narrator looks at the wallpaper as if it was a code that needs interpreting. At first it appears to be just unpleasant, it is ripped, soiled, and is an “unclean yellow” . The worst part about it is what seems to be the formless pattern of the wallpaper. The narrator’s obsession with the wallpaper however, drives her to discover a pattern. She sees the pattern as a cage, and then recognizes women trapped in the subpattern trying to escape from the wall itself. Clearly the wallpaper is meant to represent the structure of family, medicine and tradition in which the narrator finds herself
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