Theme Of A Hero In The Yellow Wallpaper

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In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s story, “The Yellow Wallpaper”, a woman is seen descending into severe post-partum depression, and eventually madness. While this story and the woman herself can be analyzed through many different lenses of perspective, one lens which may not be seen often is how the woman is a hero, but a failed one at that. The narrator and main character of “The Yellow Wallpaper” can be determined as a kind of failed hero through an archetypal lens of analysis, which identifies her initiation, her quest, and the sacrificial scapegoat of the situation. Every hero needs some sort of start, with harrowing conditions, which metamorphoses them into an actual hero. Any hero’s initiation can be broken down into three parts consisting of the disconnection which sets them apart as someone whose storyline is worthy to be followed, their evolution as an individual, and their homecoming as a hero. The leading lady of “The Yellow Wallpaper” is separated from the world when she spends the summer in the mansion, locked in her room. “[The house] is quite alone, standing well back from the road, quite three miles from the village.” (para. 19.) The woman slowly changes throughout the story. She begins as a depressed but is still sane and able to discern why she becomes upset. “I get unreasonably angry with John sometimes. I’m sure I never used to be so sensitive. I think it is due to this nervous condition.” (para. 25.) As the story goes on, she becomes more irrational. “In
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