The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Decent Essays
King 1
Alicia King
ENGL 1100
The Yellow Wallpaper Symbolism
In The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman creates a narrator who rents out a mansion in the summer with her husband. The main reason for their summer retreat is because the narrator is “ill” and suffering from what her husband calls “a slight hysterical tendency.” The narrator’s husband places her in a big airy sunlit room with hideous yellow wallpaper asserting she be confined to bed rest. As time goes by, the woman becomes infatuated with the yellow wallpaper claiming that there’s a woman enclosed in the pattern. I’m arguing that the wallpaper plays a role in symbolism. In my opinion, it represents how the narrator suffers from the oppression of her husband and the feeling of being trapped.
Right off the bat you can already tell that the husband, John, is the dominant figure in the narrator’s relationship. Playing the obedient wife that she is, the narrator happily acquiesces to everything John advices; I mean he is a certified doctor. It may seem obvious, but I think his dominance over his wife is a bit hostile at certain moments. The narrator states, “If a physician of high standing, and one’s own husband, assures friends and relatives that there is really nothing the matter with one but temporary nervous depression—a slight hysterical tendency—what is one to do?... Personally, I disagree with their ideas…” From the diagnosis bestowed upon her from John, he is the one with the final say so and she feels
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