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.
Gilman shows the progression of the main character’s insanity through the woman in the wallpaper, John, and the bed. Like most individuals, the narrator in “The Yellow Wallpaper” gradually shows increased symptoms of insanity. She begins the summer as a sane individual. As time progresses, she starts acting
Only the charwoman goes near him. In The Yellow Wallpaper, the narrator feels trapped by her husband and physician, John, because he is controlling and believes he knows what is best for her. The woman that the narrator sees in the wallpaper is eventually revealed to be
The narrator is a woman who is imaginative trying to make her mind think and realize the meaning of the yellow wallpaper. She describes the wallpaper as, “repellant, almost revolting; smouldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow turning sunlight” (Gilman 641). This specific wallpaper makes the narrator feel a certain way. At first, she does not like the color or how it looks. But then not having anything else to do in the room, she starts examining the wallpaper.
The narrator of "The Yellow Wallpaper" is the main character in the short novel. She is a young newly married mother in the upper middle class who is very imaginative. The narrator is going through a stage of depression and believes the house they have temporarily moved into is haunted. What the narrator is actually experiencing is called Postpartum depression, depression suffered by a mother following childbirth. This illness can arise from the combination of hormonal changes, psychological adjustment to motherhood, and fatigue.
This differs greatly from Jane, who begins to sympathize with the plight of all domestic women through her experience with the woman behind the yellow wallpaper. Although she initially frowned upon the woman’s efforts to escape, the more her mental health deteriorated, the more she began to relate her plight to that of the trapped woman, both prisoners desperate for escape. With her newfound revelation, she sought to save the trapped woman from her prison, subconsciously freeing herself in the process. “As soon as it was moonlight and that poor thing began to crawl and shake the pattern, I got up and ran to help her…I wonder if they all came out of that wallpaper as I did?… “I’ve got out at last,” said I, “in spite of you and Jane!
She proceeds to explain the contributing factors of the narrator succumbing to her “disease” of hysteria which was isolation from social interaction and the restriction of her own thoughts. She points out that the narrator is confined to a simple square room with nothing to offer in terms of mental health therapy. The narrator’s lack of the ability to interact with anything or anyone leads to infatuation with the wallpaper, which turns out to be “the
During her time in the room she felt the room “at night in any kind of light, in twilight, candlelight, lamplight, and worst of all by moonlight, it becomes bars!” (Gilman 304). The narrator of the yellow wallpaper descends into madness to escape the cruel dominance of her society. As the story progresses the yellow wallpaper becomes a constant companion. She first dislikes the color and despises the pattern, but after closely studying the pattern “a strange, provoking, formless sort of figure that seems to skulk about behind that silly and conspicuous front design” and after obsessing over the painting she finds bars hidden.
The house is in a super-isolated place. The house represents the narrator 's personal emotions; restricted and isolation. In the story, “The Yellow Wallpaper”, the symbolism of the the wallpaper and the diary demonstrate the psychological difficulties, that were caused by being disrespected and thought less of, during the 19th century for women across the United States. In the “Yellow Wallpaper”, the woman 's husband John neglects her symptoms of postpartum and says she has a slight hysterical tendency.
She begins to see strangles heads in the wallpaper, which can be a symbolic representation of the patriarchal order that stifled women. The bars on the wallpaper that cage the imaginary women are a reflection of her own situation where she is confined in the old mansion. Even the smell of the wallpaper, which she describes as being ‘yellow’ and present throughout the house, is a reflection of the mental repression that is always present in her life. She is so consumed by the smell that she thinks about burning the old mansion just to cover it
In “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the female narrator is greatly troubled by the suppression of her imagination by her husband and her ultimate isolation due to this subordination. These feelings are reflected through the author’s use of setting as the narrator’s dreary and malicious descriptions of the house and the wallpaper mirrors her emotional position. Throughout the reading, the reader is exposed to the narrator’s in-depth loss of touch with reality as she sinks further and further into her own reality. As she becomes more isolated, her descriptions of the house become more abstract as she begins to focus on the wallpaper and starts to see herself as being hidden behind it.
The narrator leads a fairly boring life. The only thing she seems to do all day is sleep, write, eat, look out the window and study the yellow wallpaper in her room. Evidence of this in the story is “I lie here on this great immovable bed - it is nailed down, I believe - and follow that pattern about by the hour” (Gilman 650). Another piece of evidence would be, “The color is repellant, almost revolting ; a smouldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow-turning sunlight. It is a dull yet lurid orange in some places, a sickly sulphur tint in others” (Gilman 649).
The protagonist of The Yellow Wallpaper anthropomorphizes the floral elements of the yellow wallpaper, wherein wallpaper is typically a feminine floral decoration on wall interiors. These elements signify the scrutiny Victorian society makes of lives of its womenfolk, particularly of women who are creative and insubordinate to their spouses. The protagonist is one such woman; her writing denounces her imaginative character and the surreptitious persistence of her writing denounces her matrimonial and feminine disobedience which were considered radical in her contemporary society. Gilman expresses the suppression felt by women from societal scrutiny to be one of “strangling”, through the narrator, who in one instance describes the wallpaper pattern like so: “it strangles so; I think that is why it has so many heads… the pattern strangles them off and turns them upside down, and makes their eyes white!” Her anthropomorphizing of the pattern of the wallpaper adopts a grimmer facet when she writes that “when you follow the lame uncertain curves for a little distance they suddenly commit suicide.”
Martin states that the narrator’s confinement in the upstairs bedroom fortifies her mental illness developing into “a frightening hallucinatory world constructed around the pattern of the yellow paper on the wall.” This shift in her identity happens as the shift in her disposition towards the wallpaper changes. The wallpaper is a visible metaphor that eventually becomes her identity. In the beginning of her stay in the bedroom she says the wallpaper is “committing artistic sin” (Par34) and can push anyone to “suddenly commit suicide” (Par35) These comments show her despise towards the wallpaper and the separation she originally has from it.
Throughout the generation, women have always been trapped in some way or another. In the short story, ‘The Yellow Wall-Paper’ and the novel ‘The Awakening’ highlights the struggle of women in the late 1800’s and the early 1900s in society. The Yellow wallpaper is a short story about women giving birth and being imprisoned in a room with a weird view of the yellow wall-paper. This resulted in her hallucination lead to the development of mental illness. By the end of the story, she rips off the yellow wallpaper and kills her husband.