Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”, written in 1892, is a short story told from the perspective of a woman believed to be “crazy”. The narrator believes her craziness to be a form of sickness. However, the narrator’s husband, John, believes her to be suffering from a temporary nervous depression. As the narrator’s condition worsens, she begins to see a woman moving from behind the yellow wallpaper in their bedroom. The wallpaper captures the narrator’s attention and as a result drives her mad. Gilman incorporates a lot of personal experiences into the short story. Through Gilman’s feminist views and her personal opinions, “The Yellow Wallpaper” becomes a short story written from a feminist and semi-autobiographical…show more content… “The Yellow Wallpaper” has a direct correlation with Gilman’s own societal role during this era. The narrator, who is never named, is depicted as a woman who is confined and repressed based on her gender. During the late nineteenth century, Gilman wrote “The Yellow Wallpaper” as the feminist movement was going through its first surge and was continuously expanding. Gilman was considered “the idol of radical feminists” (Degler 21) and the “most original and challenging mind, which the women’s movement produced” (Degler 21). One of the major themes found throughout Gilman’s stories is “to show the disastrous and all-pervasive effects upon women and upon society of the continued suppression of her sex” ( Degler 22). This theme is depicted in Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” when the narrator hints at being confined in her marriage, by saying “he is very careful and loving, and hardly lets me stir without special direction” (Gilman 210). The narrator is unable to see how much her husband’s confinement is affecting her well being. All of the restrictions that were put on women during the nineteenth century began the formation of Gilman’s feminist character (Degler 24). The ending of “The Yellow Wallpaper” shows the female character breaking free from these pervasive social norms.
Gilman uses numerous symbols to depict the confinement and degradation of women as well. The woman seen behind the wallpaper symbolizes the