Yellow Wallpaper Symbolism

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Thirdly, the yellow wallpaper of the nursery itself symbolizes the domestic life that traps women in line with family, medicine and tradition imposed on by the patriarchal society of the Victorian era. The protagonist of The Yellow Wallpaper anthropomorphizes the floral elements of the yellow wallpaper, wherein wallpaper is typically a feminine floral decoration on the interiors of walls. These elements signify the scrutiny this 19th-century Western society makes of lives of its womenfolk, particularly of women who are creative and insubordinate to their spouses. The protagonist is one such woman; her writing denounces her highly active imagination and the surreptitious persistence of her writing denounces her matrimonial and feminine disobedience which were considered radical in her contemporary society. Gilman expresses the suppression felt by women from societal scrutiny to be one of “strangling”, through the narrator, who in one instance describes the wallpaper pattern like so: “it strangles so; I think that is why it has so many heads… the pattern strangles them off and…show more content…
The protagonist epitomizes middle-class womenfolk in the 19th century and her husband epitomizes menfolk in contemporary society. When she is being controlled by her husband, it symbolizes the women’s conduct being controlled by the patriarchal culture of the time. The supremacy exercised by these 19th-century men over their women become prisons from which victims like Gilman and her protagonist in The Yellow Wallpaper must
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