Yellow Wallpaper Close Reading

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The Yellow Wallpaper Close Reading
The narrator of The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman discovers that the woman trapped in the yellow wallpaper is really herself and reflects that there are countless other women trapped and oppressed by society just as she is. Through her descent into madness, the narrator is able to finally free herself, but not without losing her sanity in the process. When the narrator states: “I pulled and she shook, I shook and she pulled” (Gilman 517), this goes to demonstrate that the woman in the wall that she’s been trying to free is really herself. The woman trapped in the wallpaper is a significant metaphor to represent that the narrator is trapped in an oppressive society, and more specifically
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While, the narrator refers to the room as a nursery, the circumstances suggest that the room was really used to “treat” women like the narrator from similar illnesses. The room has a bolted down bed that “is fairly gnawed” (Gilman 517), which the narrator bites a piece off of in frustration, suggesting it was under similar circumstances that the bed came to be gnawed. Therefore, the narrator’s creeping inside the room is the only way for her to be part of society, as in the room she can “creep smoothly on the floor, and [her] shoulder fits... so [she] cannot lose [her] way” (Gilman 518). She has to suppress and hide her true self in front of others, even her husband, as many women had to during those times. The diction and tone demonstrate a wonderful descent into madness. The story is written in first person, allowing us to better understand the narrator’s state of mind. As the story progresses, there is an abundant use of exclamation marks, giving off an erratic, exited tone. Many sentences are short and choppy, portraying the uncertain and off-balance state of mind of the narrator. Although it is clear that the narrator has finally lost her mind, the ending of The Yellow Wallpaper is still fairly ambiguous. It suggests that the narrator was finally able to free herself, although she did lose her sanity in the process. This is evident as she casually remarks that “jumping out the window would be
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