The Yellow Wallpaper In The Yellow Wallpaper written in 1894, Gilman portrays the protagonist as a victim of oppression. Oppression is defined as being heavily burdened mentally or physically by troubles or adverse conditions. Oppression is also a form of authority over someone who is in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner. During the 1800’s women were subject to strict laws of society which prevented them from many civil rights and opportunities.
At the same time, she gives women a perspective on men’s feeling about women’s rights. Charlotte Gilman uses a variety of rhetorical devices in the short story to make her point that the establishment of societal gender roles causes the viewpoint of male supremacy over females. One of the first rhetorical devices that an audience may notice is Gilman’s unique pace and syntax that she uses to show the different minds of men and women. She uses a variety of sentences like “[w]himsical, capricious, charming, changeable, devoted to pretty clothes and always “wearing them well,” as the esoteric phase has it” (Gilman 1).
(678) in this statement she is challenging herself and this shows the reader she is facing some confusion. The yellow wallpaper in the main characters (the narrator) bedroom is a major point in the story. The yellow wallpaper plays a major role in the woman’s insanity. The woman’s obsession with the wallpaper creates her problem and affects her mind and judgment. This is shown in, “It dwells on my mind so!”
Authors, especially female authors, have long used their writing to emphasize and analyze the feminist issues that characterize society, both in the past and the present. Kate Chopin, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Susan Glaspell wrote narratives that best examined feminist movements through the unreliable minds of their characters. In all three stories, “The Story of an Hour”, “The Yellow Wallpaper”, and “A Jury of Her Peers”, the authors use characterization, symbolism, and foreshadowing to describe the characters’ apparent psychosis or unreasonable behavior to shed light on the social issues that characterized the late 19th century and early 20th century. Penning many stories that demonstrate her opinions on the social issues of the era,
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.
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 work is not yet complete, and is evident by looking at the domination of women throughout the centuries, specifically the 19th and 20th century, which was the height of the women’s rights movement. By analyzing two literary works from two different eras, “The Yellow Wallpaper” written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman in the late 19th century and “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers” written by Adrienne Rich in the mid-20th century, one can conclude that while there have been improvements to women’s rights, there is still discrimination prevalent. Although set in two different time periods, the main
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.
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. Gilman utilizes tone to illustrate the universal truth of gender being in hand with class status, effectively. In the literary work,the narrator’s tone shifts from hopeless in the beginning, to determine in the end.
Oppression is defined as prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or control. Cruel and unjust punishment is just the beginning for the narrator in “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Charlotte Gilman while writing the “The Yellow Wallpaper” deciding to make it into a series of diary entries from a woman who is suffering from post-partum depression. The narrator begins by describing this large home that she and her husband have rented for the summer. Their summer house stands away from the road and contains many locks and little houses.
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.
Charlotte Gilman’s short story, ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’, (1899) is a text that describes how suppression of women and their confinement in domestic sphere leads to descend into insanity for escape. The story is written as diary entries of the protagonist, who is living with her husband in an old mansion for the summer. The protagonist, who remains unnamed, is suffering from post-partum depression after the birth of her child and is on ‘rest’ cure by her physician husband. In this paper, I will try to prove that ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ acts as a subversive text by portraying the protagonist’s “descent into madness” as a result of the suppression that women faced in Victorian period.
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.
The yellow wallpaper is not just the dreadful décor the narrator is stuck within the story but the most important symbol in the story. It symbolizes how women were not allowed to change or free to make their own decisions. The narrator once said that the wallpaper "sticks horribly and the pattern just enjoys it" (Gilman). She felt like the wallpaper stuck and not able to succumb to change she demonstrates this as well when she says "The faint figure behind seemed to shake the pattern, just as if she wanted to get out" (Gilman). The narrator herself became the women she saw in the wallpaper that she felt trapped in a life without change which manifested itself into the wallpaper further increasing the symbolism and importance of yellow wallpaper.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s, “The Yellow Wallpaper”, exhibits the domestic entrapment of women by society in the 19th century by adopting a naturalistic approach to the mood, tone, and other literary elements used in the short story. Naturalism is a genre of literature that started in the late nineteenth century, around the time “The Yellow Wallpaper” was published, and is originated from realism. According to literarydevices.net, naturalism focuses on “natural forces predetermining a character’s decisions” while realism is about free will and the decisions a character makes in response to a situation. The major forces that control our unnamed narrator’s actions in “The Yellow Wallpaper” are her figurative and physical environment and her relationship with John.