Symbolism In The Yellow Wallpaper

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In 1892 Charlotte Perkins Gilman published her short story “The Yellow Wallpaper”, in which the unnamed main character who has been diagnosed with neurasthenia is prescribed the rest cure by her physician husband. Her husband, John, takes her to an estate out in the country where she is isolated from everyone but her husband and his sister, and is ordered to do absolutely nothing but rest for the entire time they are there. The story follows this woman’s decent into madness as a result of the rest cure and total social isolation. In this story, Gilman uses her setting and characters to explore both the culture’s anger over the oppression and disregard of women and the fear over the beginning of the first feminist movement. “The Yellow Wallpaper” is set in a mansion out in the country that has been rented by the main character and her husband for the purpose of carrying out her rest cure (Gilman 489). The room that John chooses for the two of them is a former nursery. All the windows in this room were barred, and the walls were covered in a yellow wallpaper, which the main character describes as “one of those sprawling flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin” (Gilman 490). The main character protests this choice of rooms and asks her husband to move, but he refuses. This room essentially becomes a prison for the main character. Later on in the story she imagines that the pattern on the wallpaper is bars, like the ones on the windows, and that there are women
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