Unjustly Repressed: The Yellow Wallpaper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Good Essays

Jacqueline Pederson
English 101
Professor Dreiling
January 21, 2015
Unjustly Repressed. Charlotte Gilman was an ingenious woman. On the surface, her most renowned work, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” appears to be a simple journal of a women struggling with mental illness. Throughout the story, her husband, whom is also her physician, coins her state as nothing more than a mere nervous disorder. He treats her with the “rest cure.” To begin her treatment, the couple temporarily moves to an isolated summer home, and as the days pass, the wallpaper surrounding their room becomes the item for which the narrator’s distraught mind becomes fixated. On the surface, this interpretation of the wallpaper seems feasible, due to the fact that Gilman …show more content…

In the story, this treatment is not a rarity. Whenever the narrator attempts to discuss a serious situation, John refers to her as “his blessed little goose” or a “darling” (Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”). To relate this to the theme, these discouraging words must be analyzed and explained. For instance, the word “little” to depict the narrators heart, portrays a picture of small body matching it, like one would see an infant. This leads into his claim that she is “as sick as she pleases” (Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”). Being as sick as one pleases reflects upon the life of a young child. It mirrors the techniques of a child, in how they conjure up illnesses in order to escape unpleasing tasks. This accurately goes along with John’s diagnosis of “temporary nervous depression;” which in that time, was known as the way in which women bypassed sexual requirements and typical household maintenance. (Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper”). Within the unjust treatment and diagnosis, lies the bigger picture as well as the root of the narrator’s eventual insanity. The yellow wallpaper plays a key role in supporting the theme of the short story. Gilman utilizes the wallpaper as a symbol for two things. However, the wallpaper itself is a symbol of symbol. First of all, it represents John, the husband, who is intended to represent the majority of men at that time. As the narrator’s madness grows, she begins to

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