Analysis of "The Yellow Wallpaper"

Decent Essays
Through a woman's perspective of assumed insanity, Charlotte Perkins Gilman comments on the role of the female in the late nineteenth century society in relation to her male counterpart in her short story "The Yellow Wallpaper." Gilman uses her own experience with mental instability to show the lack of power that women wielded in shaping the course of their psychological treatment. Further she uses vivid and horrific imagery to draw on the imagination of the reader to conceive the terrors within the mind of the psychologically wounded.

The un-named woman is to spend a summer away from home with her husband in what seems to be almost a dilapidated room of a "colonial mansion" (Gilman 832). In order to cure her "temporary nervous
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For example the narrator wishes to reside in a downstairs room that "opened onto the piazza and had roses all over the window, and such pretty old-fashioned chintz hangings" (Gilman 834). In order to better mental health a physician with the correct training would think that surroundings would play a large impact on mood and temperament. However, her husband is oblivious to this assumption for he chooses a huge room that takes up almost the entire floor.

This attitude is important in showing the lack of communication between husband and wife. He fails to see her psychological issues for what they are and his actions to mediate her supposed problem only make it worse. The narrator even questions the treatment prescribed by her husband and brother in saying "Personally, I disagree with their ideas. Personally, I believe that congenial work, with excitement and change, would do me good" (Gilman 833). However even though she can question her treatment she is powerless to change it. Gilman uses this to again show the inferiority of women to men of this era.

Gilman's use of narrative structure is important in depicting the fragmentation of the woman's mind. Through the course of the story sentences become increasingly choppy and paragraphs decrease in length. This concrete element of fiction illustrates the deterioration of that narrator's psychological well-being and mental surmise to the yellow wallpaper.

The very
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