Symbolism In Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper

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“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gillman is a story that deals with the oppression of women during the nineteenth century. The story allows us to see into the mind of a woman who is gradually driven into insanity over a summer. Just like many women of that era, the unnamed character is trapped in the confines of her marriage as well as the house she resides in. Gilman uses many parallels from what is happening in the main character’s life to what was happening to women everywhere in that century. Without knowing the historical context from when this story was placed, it would be hard to see the symbolism that points to women’s oppression. However Gilman does a good job of using many specific techniques to tell the story and to draw…show more content…
During this time period, women were generally oppressed and had little to say in anything. Gilman uses symbolism to help facilitate the story and give better meaning behind what Jane is going through. The first thing that is mentioned in the story is the house. It symbolizes a sort of safe haven for Jane. It is where she is supposed to get better and express herself freely. However, from the very start Jane is weary of the house and declares it as “haunted” and that there is “something queer about it” (Gilman). Even though she describes some parts of the house as beautiful, it becomes a dreadful place where she is transformed and becomes more mentally unstable. She is trapped inside and because of this and the fact that her husband will not let her do anything, she becomes unstable and insane. The most important aspect of the house would be the yellow wallpaper. She, herself is trapped inside the room and the only thing she has that allows her to escape is the wallpaper. She is unable to go out or do any activities because her husband forbids her to in order that she will get better. The only thing she is able to do is sit and stare at the yellow wallpaper. From staring at the paper for so long she becomes absorbed in the patterns of it and tries to follow them to an end. One specific pattern she describes are bars that run across the entire wall. These bars are a symbol for the jail-like setting she is in. She feels trapped and there is no way for her to escape. Eventually Jane starts to see the faces of women trapped behind the bars of the paper. She realizes that the image in the wallpaper is not another woman; it is herself as well as all women in general who are trapped by
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