The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

1256 WordsJul 7, 20186 Pages
Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” depicts a young woman suffering from depression after the birth of her child. This woman is sheltered away by her husband to a mansion in the country, where she persists to retreat into her mind from lack of other stimuli. Through the narrator’s drastic plunge to insanity, Gilman accurately depicts the limited roles available to women of the nineteenth century and the domineering and oppressing actions men took toward them. In just the first five lines Gilman illustrates the male-dominated society and relationship. "John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in marriage." It was customary for men to assume that their gender knew what, when, how, and why to live. John,…show more content…
It shows how hard it was to live with acceptable obedience in a male-controlled culture while still being aggressive enough to stay alive. Simultaneously, the story shows how hard it was to be good, sensual, supportive, necessarily selfish, and above all, sane. During the day the narrator meekly tries to abide by her husband’s rule, while at night, when her wallpaper woman comes out she does too. Through this symbolism Gilman can express the narrator’s struggle with confinement. The confinement expressed in Gilman’s story represents the confinement women of the 19th century experienced, trapped in their socially accepted ideals. The narrator’s mind, as sick minds will, creates a way to express itself. Through the wallpaper the narrator finds refuge. Although at first she says, “I never saw a worse paper in my life,” as she slowly gives in to her insanity, she becomes, “really fond of the room in spite of the wallpaper. Perhaps because of the wallpaper.” It is as if she becomes more comfortable with the wallpaper as it begins to reflect her own existence. She soon realizes the paper has two patterns: a front pattern of bars, and a back pattern of a women “stooping around and creeping.” As the narrator loses her slim hold on the sanity, her interaction with the women in the yellow wallpaper takes over the narration. She begins to lose sleep staying up at night to watch the women, and at one point she remarks, “The front pattern
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