The plot of “The Yellow Wallpaper” comes from a moderation of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s personal experience. In 1887, just two years after the birth of her first child, Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell diagnosed Gilman with neurasthenia, an emotional disorder characterized by fatigue and depression. Mitchell decided that the best prescription would be a “rest cure”. Mitchell encouraged Gilman to “Live a domestic life as far as possible,” to “have two hours’ intellectual life each day,” and to “never touch a pen, brush or pencil again,”(Gilman 20) as long as she lived. After three months of isolation, abiding by Dr. Mitchell’s orders, Gilman realized she was becoming insane. She abandoned Dr. Mitchell’s advice and,
"There comes John, and I must put this away -- he hates to have me write a
When her focus eventually settles on the wallpaper in the bedroom and she states, "I never saw a worse paper in my life. One of those sprawling, flamboyant patterns committing every artistic sin" (Gilman 260). As the narrator resigns herself to her intellectual confinement, she begins to see more details in the wallpaper pattern. This can be seen as the slow shift from the connection to her family, friends and colleagues to her focus inward as she sinks deeper into depression. She describes that "—I can see a strange, provoking, formless sort of figure, that seems to skulk about behind that silly and conspicuous front design" (Gilman 262). As she focuses inward, sinking deeper into her depression the figure in the wallpaper takes shape and she states that, "There are things in that paper that nobody knows but me, or ever will" (Gilman 264). And she begins to describe the form of a woman behind the wallpaper pattern, "Sometimes I think there are a
“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman takes the form of journal entries of a woman undergoing treatment for postpartum depression. Her form of treatment is the “resting cure,” in which a person is isolated and put on bed rest. Her only social interaction is with her sister-in-law Jennie and her husband, John, who is also her doctor. Besides small interactions with them, most of the time she is left alone. Society believes all she needs is a break from the stresses of everyday life, while she believes that “society and stimulus” (pg 347, paragraph 16) will make
The Yellow Paper is a symbolic story written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. It is a disheartening tale of a woman struggling to free herself from postpartum depression. This story gives an account of an emotionally and intellectual deteriorated woman who is a wife and a mother who is struggling to break free from her metal prison and find peace. The post-partum depression forced her to look for a neurologist doctor who gives a rest cure. She was supposed to have a strict bed rest. The woman lived in a male dominated society and wanted indictment from it as she had been driven crazy by as a result of the Victorian “rest-cure.” Her husband made sure that she had a strict bed rest by separating her from her child by taking her to recuperate in
The narrator’s obsession with the wallpaper eventually makes her story spin so far out of control, her grasp on reality is completely lost and to every observer it is obvious. She believes people are living in the wallpaper and they come and go
The first chapter will analyze where in the story's structure the wallpaper stands, and how it differs from other characters and objects mentioned in the story. Then, after a brief evaluation of the relationship between the object and the main character, the next chapter will examine the process of interaction between both, and the importance of this relationship in regards to the narrative structure. Lastly, after a look at how a lifeless object can narrate at all, the paper will finish by reviewing what objects like the wallpaper can reveal, and in which way they do so.
"The story was wrenched out of Gilman 's own life, and is unique in the
The wallpaper magnifies the problems the narrator is experiencing. The pattern in the wallpaper is not just an innocent pattern for a children's room as it is first introduced to the reader, but rather it has a mind-numbing quality that readily attracts the projections of the unbalanced mind.
First the narrator sees only curves in the pattern, but then she finds they "commit suicide" by their motion, and soon she fills the curves with human features-"two bulbous eyes" (6) that have a "vicious influence" (7). [...] far she is resisting her surroundings, pitting herself against its energies and apart from the system of the room.
In the nineteenth century, women in literature were often portrayed as submissive to men. Literature of the period often characterized women as oppressed by society, as well as by the male influences in their lives. "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman presents the tragic story of a woman's descent into depression and madness because of this oppression.
However, the most important aspect of this room is the yellow wallpaper. The narrator despises it, loathing the colour and it’s pattern. She writes that it is “. . .dull enough to confuse the eye in following, pronounced enough to constantly irritate and provoke study, and 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.” (Gilman). This description of the wallpaper serves the purpose to show the reader the unjust restrictions of society that the narrator is subjected to; “. . .commentators have seen in this description of the wallpaper a general representation of “the oppressive structures of society in which [the narrator] finds herself” (Madwoman 90), . . .” (Haney-Peritz 116). The statement of “dull enough to confuse the eye” and “constantly irritating and provoking study” are alluding to the narrator’s sense of inferiority and burden while the “lame and uncertain curves” are referencing the absurd suggestions that her husband is providing. Finally the “suicide” is the unfortunate fate that is destined to occur if his counsel is followed. When describing the wallpaper the narrator writes that “The color is repellent, almost
Conversely, the narrator, “I”, is the representative of women who try to fight against the oppression of the society and strive for the real self-liberation. Many of her behaviors in the text can show that she used to be a sensitive, imaginative and optimistic person. Before the narrator moves into the “haunted house” (647), she mentioned that “there is something queer about it”. She also says that her physician husband “perhaps is one reason she does not get well faster” (648), which all show that she knows what is benefit to her and what is not. From how she describes the patterns on the yellow wall-paper, “they connect diagonally, and the sprawling outlines run off in great slanting waves of optic horror, like a lot of wallowing seaweeds
“He told me all his opinions, so I had the same ones too; or if they were different I hid them, since he wouldn’t have cared for that” (Ibsen 109). As this quote suggests Charlotte Perkins Gilman, in “The Yellow Wall-Paper” and Henrik Ibsen, in A Doll House dramatize that, for woman, silent passivity and submissiveness can lead to madness.
The wallpaper is beginning to take on the role of controlling her life. As the days proceed on and she continues to sit in this isolated room, she begins to notice objects incorporated throughout the patterns. Every day the shapes become significantly clearer to her until one moment it appears to be a figure trapped within the walls (734). This aversion to the color completely shifts at this point toward hallucination. The wallpaper now has complete control of the narrator’s mind and sanity.