“The Yellow Wallpaper” a short story written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and published in 1892, is both a psychological and feminist piece of literature. It demonstrates oppression, defined as “the feeling of being heavily burdened, mentally or physically by troubles, adverse conditions, anxiety, etc.” The story, written in a form of a journal, is seen through the eyes of a nameless female narrator, who moves with her husband, John, to an estate during the summer to cope with her “hysteria”, eventually leading her to a state of oppression and insanity. The story reflects the confinement and restraint most women during the 1900s felt in marriages and the inferiority women had too men.
I don’t like it a bit. I wonder— I begin to think—I wish John would take me away from here!” (231). Shortly after the narrator who remains unnamed and her husband John rented an old mansion, the narrator encountered a state of delusion in the wallpaper that surrounded her. In the story “The Yellow Wallpaper,” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, the narrator develops a peculiar relationship with the wallpaper; the author’s use of allusion, symbolism, and personification identifies the existence of the woman’s illness.
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.
It is evident that change is a natural component in the average person’s life. Some however, are more drastic than others. This is exhibited through the first-person narrator of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story, “The Yellow Wall Paper”, who undergoes a drastic change in her health due to postpartum depression, her relationships with the individuals around her, and her isolation. These changes later develop an internal conflict in the form of a troubling identity plight.
"The Yellow Wallpaper" is about a lady made crazy by post pregnancy anxiety and a hazardous treatment. However,, an examination of the protagonist’s portrayal shows that the story is generally about character. The protagonist’s projection of a fanciful lady, which at first is just her shadow, against the bars of the wallpaper shows her personality, disguising the contention she is dealing with and in the end prompting the entire breakdown of the limits of her character and that of her shadow. Continually alone and not allowed to abandon her room, the absence of something to involve her time makes the protagonist very confused. With blocked windows, the room is very similar to a jail.
Enclosed to the four wall of this “big” room, the narrator says “the paint and paper look as if a boy’s school had used it” because “it is stripped off” indicating that males have attempted to distort women’s truth but somehow did not accomplish distorting the entire truth (Perkins Gilman, 43). When the narrator finally looked at the wall and the paint and paper on it, she was disgusted at the sight. The yellow wallpaper, she penned, secretly against the will of men, committed artistic sin and had lame uncertain curves that suddenly committed suicide when you followed them for a little distance. The narrator is forced to express her discomfort with the image to her husband, he sees it as an “excited fancy” that is provoked by the “imaginative power and habit of story making” by “a nervous weakness” like hers (Perkins Gilman, 46). Essentially, he believes that her sickness is worsening and the depth of her disease is the cause of the unexpected paranoia.
As this progresses, the woman starts to go mad from ignorance and starts to believe there is someone behind the Wallpaper. In her room, the narrator starts to obsess over the Wallpaper. The Wallpaper symbolizes women starting to realize how unfair they were treated and how responded to this. As the women’s illness keeps getting subdued by her husband, she starts to go mad and the wallpaper demonstrates this. In the third entry of her diary she says, “Of
In the short story “The Yellow Wallpaper”, author Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses many literary techniques to allow the reader to understand the universal truth that a woman’s class is seen as lower than that of a man’s, due to their sex. We see this truth throughout the literary work, when the main character who is a woman, is put in confinement and later becomesdistraught and mentally unstablebecause her husband and brother who are both Physicians diagnoses her as “nervously depressed”. Two techniques author Gilman uses is tone and diction to illustrate how the narrator, among most women in that time period is treated as below men in class, with little say in their own mental or physical issues.
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is a short story told through diary entries of a woman who suffers from postpartum depression. The narrator, whose name is never mentioned, becomes obsessed with the ugly yellow wallpaper in the summer home her husband rented for them. While at the home the Narrator studies the wallpaper and starts to believe there is a woman in the wallpaper. Her obsession with the wallpaper slowly makes her mental state deteriorate. Throughout The Yellow Wallpaper Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses many literary devices such as symbolism, personification and imagery to help convey her message and get it across to the reader.
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.
She becomes obsessed with the patterns of the wallpaper, but she mainly notices a woman that she thinks is trying to free herself from the confines of the wall. During the day this woman is still, but when night time comes around, it seems as though the woman creeps around. Towards the end of the story, the narrator has a breakdown and thinks that she is this woman inside of the wallpaper, and begins to perform similar actions like creeping around. This meaning of this scene is simple cause and effect. Not only did she already have postpartum depression, but she is basically trapped in this house for a whole summer with nothing to do so she can heal.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” tells the story of a young woman who is battling severe depression. The protagonist is essentially locked away for the summer as a cure for her psychological disorder(s) (Craig 36). Being locked in the house with the yellow wallpaper worsens her mental state and eventually drives her to insanity. Throughout the course of the story, the protagonist’s mental state noticeably declines; she claims there are people in the wallpaper and believes it is haunting her. Several Gothic themes are scattered throughout “The Yellow Wallpaper”; however, the protagonist’s isolation, the presence of insanity, and the occurring idea of supernatural elements are most prominent and can be used to justify “The Yellow
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
To be trapped in one's own mind may be the worst prison imaginable. In Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper", the narrator of the story is constantly at battle with many different forces, such as John, her husband, the yellow wallpaper that covers the walls of her room, and ultimately herself. Throughout the story the narrator further detaches herself from her life and becomes fixated on the yellow wallpaper that surrounds her in her temporary home, slowly driving her mad. The narrator of "The Yellow Wallpaper" is a major and dynamic character as she is the main character of the story, and throughout the story her personality and ways of thinking change drastically.
To capture the reader’s attention Charlotte Gilman uses a short story demonstration fear and insanity. In “The Yellow Wallpaper”, Charlotte Gilman uses imagery to illustrate how a limited role of a female in society can drive her insane. The house portrays the narrator's isolation.