The Yellow Wallpaper Passage Analysis Essay

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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. Many women were in fact belittled by the ideal of true womanhood and exhibited characteristics such as submissiveness or piety. Gilman also employs somber diction throughout the story, such as “crawl”(55) and “creep”(58) to suggest that covert agency is the only way for women to improve their situations at
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Marx argued that “this relationship between oppressors and oppressed shapes the rest of the social system, and is justified by dominant ideologies that made extreme inequality seem acceptable”(Gould, 33). From this sociological standpoint, I believe that Gilman alludes to the idea of unjustified oppression when the narrator states, “But nobody could climb through that pattern. . . that is why it has so many heads”(55). The pattern in the wall-paper is therefore representative of the dominant ideologies during the Victorian Era- or during any other time period- that justify female oppression or other forms of inequality such as slavery or
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