The Yellow Wallpaper, By Gilman

Decent Essays

Throughout history the female species has been treated like second-class citizens by their seemingly more powerful male counterparts. From being denied the right to vote to being excluded from the work place, the woman’s rights have been oppressed as her husband, father, and brothers were offered the world without limitations. Why should she be told that her dreams are limited to the home, as her brother sits upon the same knee but is told to go out and conquer his aspirations no matter how impractical? In recent years, women’s rights activists have made great strides towards gender equality. One could logically attribute some of this progress to writers like Charlotte Perkins Gilman who raise awareness of social injustice through their …show more content…

She describes it looking as if it has a “broken neck and two bulbous eyes stare at you upside down” (Gilman 649). This signifies the narrator becoming consumed by the pattern in the wallpaper. Later, the author shows how her obsession intensifies by describing a “yellow” smell coming from the wallpaper. This smell didn’t seem to bother the narrator much at the start, but after she becomes preoccupied with the paper, her mind is lost to everything else and she begins to take notice of every intricate detail. It’s as if the wallpaper now has the ability to follow her anywhere within the house through its smell, much like society’s expectations constantly haunting her. By using vivid detail to place the reader in the narrator’s mind, Gilman effectively communicates society’s effect on mentally ill women, giving the reader a better understanding of what it must have been like to live in Jane’s shoes. Another literary element used often in “The Yellow Wallpaper” is irony. Gilman uses irony throughout the story to make a point about the social injustice faced by mentally ill women. “John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in a marriage,” (Gilman 647) the narrator states nonchalantly at the beginning of the story, before explaining John as a practical man with no faith in the unseen. She uses sarcasm here to bring attention to the fact that her husband obviously doesn’t take

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