Theme Of Isolation In The Yellow Wallpaper

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In “The Yellow Wallpaper”, Gilman uses the visual imagery of the narrator’s environment to emphasize the conditions of her isolation brought upon by her husband. The narrator is confined in an “atrocious nursery” (78) with “rings and things in the wall”, (77) an “immoveable…nailed down” bed (81) and “windows that look all ways” but are “barred for little children” (77). Despite her multiple objections, John refuses to change their bedroom and keeps her stationed where he pleases. The barred windows present evidence of deception as John refuses to let her clearly see outside the home where they are supposedly vacationing. The “nailed down bed” is a metaphor for her confinement to the house and John’s intention of keeping her there. Her inability …show more content…

John condescendingly calls his wife “blessed little goose” (79) and “little girl” (83) presenting the soft yet disdainful terms of endearment meant solely for a child. His condescending and overbearing paternal behavior is further revealed when he dismisses her thoughts and belittles her imagination calling them “false and foolish fancy” (83). In addition to this, John forbids his wife from writing “until she (I) is well again” (76) despite her disagreement that “congenial work with excitement and change would do her (me) good” (76). He uses his status as a “physician of high standing” (76) to silence his wife’s impending opinion, establishing that “he is so wise” (82) and can be “trusted as a physician” …show more content…

Restricted in movement and stripped of her opinion by her husband, the narrator forms an obsession with the obscure background pattern that “skulks behind that silly and conspicuous front design” (80) on the wallpaper. As the dim shapes become more distinct, she ultimately deciphers the true figure to be a woman. This is a metaphor for the realization of her mental and physical entrapment as she proceeds into a state of insanity. The intensive need for helping the woman escape reflects the need for her own liberation. As the woman quickly flees upon her release, the narrator refuses to follow as she is so unaccustomed to the “green instead of yellow” (89). In addition, the narrator calls her husband “young man” (89) demonstrating her emotional distance and reversing patronizing attitude. Her husband is no longer a figure of fear as she mirrors his “gentlest voice” (89) thus “silencing him” (89). He merely becomes "that man" (89) whom she nonchalantly creeps over. However, unable to go back to her habitual life, and unwilling to leave the house, she finds herself in state of madness and unreliability. Gilman portrays this insanity through the use of exclamatory sentences and anacoluthon where there are frequent discontinuities in thought. As a result, this emphasizes the

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