Symbolism in 'The Yellow Wallpaper'

Decent Essays
For centuries women in literature have been depicted as weak, subservient, and unthinking characters. Before the 19th century, they usually were not given interesting personalities and were always the proper, perfect and supportive character to the main manly characters. However, one person, in order to defy and mock the norm of woman characterization and the demeaning mindsets about women, Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote "The Yellow Wallpaper." This story, through well crafted symbolisms, brought to surface the troubles that real women face. Her character deals with the feeling of being trapped by the expectations of her husband, with the need to do something creative or constructive, and to have a mind and will of her own. These feelings…show more content…
The two are alike in the fact that they are the only two characters in the story who are unnamed. This woman embodies the narrator and her feeling of being trapped under all of the things that the wallpaper represents. She also symbolizes a person who the narrator would like to be. This creeping woman does what she wants- she creeps around the room, in the moonlight, freely. She has no husband, or if she does, she is defying him by skulking around the room alone at night. I think that the narrator's mind realizes this significance because it eventually takes on the creeping woman's identity in the end.

The actual state of the narrator's sickness throughout the story is also symbolic of the narrator and more generally, women breaking free from society's stereotypes and expectations. Although she may only be breaking free through hallucinations and craziness, it is important because she is making a stand against the norms and expectations put upon her. Her insanity, for Gilman, represents feminist anger at society's rules and restraints for women. She is saying that women during the late 19th century were expected to be domestic housewives and that was it. That was their identity. But through this woman, Gilman began the idea that even if insanity was the only escape from the dumb, doting, docile domestic that women were supposed to be, she would rather take that than be
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