In the story “The Yellow Wallpaper,” Gilman creates a character of a young depressed woman, on the road to a rural area with her husband, so that she can be away from writing, which appears to have a negative effect on her psychological state. Lanser says her husband “heads a litany of benevolent prescriptions that keep the narrator infantilized, immobilized, and bored literally out of her mind. Reading or writing herself upon the wallpaper allows the narrator to escape her husband’s sentence and to achieve the limited freedom of madness which constitutes a kind of sanity in the face of the insanity of male dominance” (432). In the story both theme and point of view connect and combine to establish a powerful picture of an almost prison-type of treatment for conquering depression. In the story, Jane battles with male domination, because she is informed by both her husband and brother countless brain shattering things about her own condition that she does not agree with. She makes every effort to become independent, and she desires to escape from the burdens of that domination. The Yellow Wallpaper is written from the character’s point of view in a structure similar to a diary, which explains her time spent in her home. The house is huge and old with annoying yellow wallpaper in the bedroom. The character thinks that there is a woman behind bars in the design of the wallpaper. She devotes a great deal of her
In “The Yellow wallpaper”, the wallpaper is a metaphor that expresses women’s protest against the repression of the society and their personal identity at the rise of feminism. During the Victorian era, women were kept down and kept in line by their married men and other men close to them. "The Yellow Wallpaper", written By Charlotte Perkins Gilman, is a tale of a woman, her mental difficulties and her husband’s so called therapeutic treatment ‘rest cure’ of her misery during the late 1800s. The tale starts out in the summer with a young woman and her husband travelling for the healing powers of being out from writing, which only appears to aggravate her condition. His delusion gets Jane (protagonist), trapped in a room, shut up in a bed making her go psychotic. As the tale opens, she begins to imagine a woman inside ‘the yellow wallpaper’.
Due to postpartum depression, the narrator, Jane; her husband, John; their child; and the narrator’s sister-in-law, Jennie, rent an isolated countryside estate in hopes to cure the narrator’s illness. Causing an external conflict with his wife, John forces her to live in isolation forbidding writing, working, and socializing. As a result, the narrator becomes fascinated with the wallpaper, begins to hallucinate, and believes another woman is trapped behind the patterns. Jane is hopelessly insane believing there are multiple creeping women present and that she herself has come out the wallpaper. Suspecting that John and Jennie are aware of her obsession, she resolves to destroy the paper by tearing and biting it off the wall and save the trapped women. By the end, the narrator convinces herself that she has achieved liberation freeing herself from the constraints of her marriage, society, and efforts to repress her
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.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” is a detailed account of the author’s battle with depression and mental illness. Gilman’s state of mental illness and delusion is portrayed in this narrative essay. Through her account of this debilitating illness, the reader is able to relate her behavior and thoughts to that of an insane patient in an asylum. She exhibits the same type of thought processes and behaviors that are characteristic of this kind of person. In addition, she is constantly treated by those surrounding her as if she were actually in some form of mental hospital.
She becomes consumed by the wallpaper in the room and reflects her confinement onto a woman that she thinks is trapped in the wallpaper. When she frees the woman, she feels like she is freed too, when in reality she has just hit rock bottom. The story is also set in a time where women were frequently oppressed by men, as shown by Jane who is constantly belittled by her husband.
This gothic horror tale of nineteenth century fiction, written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman in 1892; during a time that women writers were starting to come out and write about key issues in their treatment. She craftily sets up or spins the story with a setting of isolation and a character who feels trapped, by a husband who chooses not to know her; yet does not listen to her and keeps her trapped on an island, all in her best interest. The tone is filled with desperation, sarcasm, anger, and shows that though she is mentally unstable there is intelligence behind her instability that is kept unseen. The main symbol is the wallpaper which is a constant bane to her.
This is represented symbolically through the yellow wallpaper. She even realizes this about half through the story: “It strikes me occasionally, just as a scientific hypothesis, it is the paper”(page 426)! The “It” would be the illness people thinks she has, which is directly related to the mental barriers. At the end of the story she begins to rip the wallpaper off the wall, symbolically peeling away the mental barriers. “I got up and ran to help her. I pulled and she shook. I shook and she pulled, and before morning we had peeled off yards of paper… I declared I would finish it to-day”(page 429)! As she finishes removing the wallpaper from the walls her husband finally comes home. As he opens the door, he realizes he is no longer in control of her when she says, ““I’ve got out at last,” said I, “in spite of you and Jane. And I’ve pulled off most of the paper, so you can’t put me back””(page 431). By this time in the story we are no longer dealing with the narrator we saw in the beginning; there is nothing left of the old narrator at this point. What we see now is the new rebellious and free spirited narrator. Also, when the narrator refers to a person named “Jane” on page 429 one could make the assumption that she was Jane. If this is the case, then the mental barriers were attached to Jane as an
In “The Yellow Wall-paper,” Jane begins the work with a nervous affliction most likely brought about by her lack of agency, and, as the work progresses, she becomes obsessed with the yellow wallpaper in her room. Taking her role in society into account,
Going back to the theme of female oppression, Gilman uses Jane and her delusions to paint a picture of what can happen to women facing this sort of oppression. The writer uses Jane’s insanity as a way of protesting and shining a light on professional and even medical oppression at that time. Taking into account how many women were diagnosed with mental illnesses at that
Although initially perceived as a gothic novella by contemporary readers, feminist critics who reposition the focus of media to ‘celebrate the attempts of women to assert themselves’ as mentioned in the A-level critical anthology, re-establish the symbolism of the wallpaper. At the start of the novella, when our narrator is repressed and battling her entrapment, she uses death imagery to describe the wallpaper mentioning that the patterns ‘suddenly commit suicide-plunge off at outrageous angles, destroy themselves in unheard of contradictions’, perhaps reflecting her own mind-set, imposed upon her by her constant oppression. Nearer the end of the novella, the reader will notice a shift from lurid descriptions to those such as ‘the faint figure behind seemed to shake the pattern, just as if she wanted to get out’, imagery which allows the wallpaper to symbolise anything repressing 19th century women such as societal expectations, domestic values or lack of education, subsequently permitting the reader to examine the character development of the narrator: she begins to scrutinize her repression. This is rebellious in terms of the narrator yet radical on the part of the author who subtly challenges societal beliefs regarding the mental capacity of women to question their hierarchal position. This is reinforced when the narrator describes
When Jane and John first move into the older home, Jane finds the house to be magnificence. Jane also proposes a lot of skepticism that she has of the house. Jane proposes her suspicions when she says,”...anyhow, the place has been empty for years. That spoils my ghostliness, I am afraid, but I don't care—there is something strange about the house—I can feel it.(311)” Although Jane finds the majority of the house to be beautiful, there is a room in the house that is particularly revolting to Jane. This room’s walls are en-swathed with yellow wallpaper that Jane is repelled by in the beginning. Jane says, “The color is repellent, almost revolting: a smoldering unclean yellow, strangely faded by the slow- turning sunlight. It is a dull yet lurid orange in some places, a sickly sulfur tint in others.(311)” Gilman uses some foreshadowing when Jane says,”...when you follow the lame uncertain curves for a little distance they suddenly commit suicide—plunge off at outrageous angles, destroy themselves in unheard of contradictions.(311)” This comparison of the lines suddenly dropping off as if they had committed suicide hints to the end of Jane’s suffering. As Jane spends more and more time in the room with the yellow wallpaper, she begins to become obsessed with it, and her mind begins to trick her eyes into believing that the wall is moving. Jane writes, “I get positively angry with the impertinence
“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman is an example of how stories and the symbolism to which they are related can influence the perspective of its readers and alternate their point of view. In the “Yellow Wall-Paper”, the unknown narrator gets so influenced by her surroundings that she starts showing signs of mental disorder, creating through many years several controversies on trying to find the real causes of her decease.
Charlotte Gilman’s short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” is centered on the deteriorating psychological condition of the female narrator. As a woman in a male dominating society in the 19th century, the narrator has no control over her life. This persistence eventually evolves into her madness. The insanity is triggered by her change in attitude towards her husband, the emergent obsession with the wallpaper and the projection of herself as the women behind the wallpaper. The “rest cure” which was prescribed by her physician husband, created the ideal environment for her madness to extend because, it was in her imagination that she had some freedom and control.
First, if the wallpaper stands for a new vision of women, why is the narrator tearing it down? Next, how can it be a ‘representation of women that becomes possible only after women obtain their right to speak,’ if it grows more vivid as the narrator becomes less verbal? Moreover, if the narrator comes into her own through the wallpaper, then why does she become more and more a victim of male diagnosis as she becomes further engaged