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The Yellow Wallpaper Story Analysis

The story Yellow Wallpaper represents the catastrophic depiction of females in distress and insanity. Charlotte writes when women struggle for their autonomy then their subordination ends, thus liberating themselves and men because distortion that comes from supremacy affects a man. Same as the women are marked by the servitude enforced on them. The philosophy is brilliantly explained by “The Yellow Wallpaper.” The mental health of the narrator reflects the features of the house. She was trapped by her husband, who was destroying her. She goes with her physician husband to stay in a mansion to spend summer vacations. That mansion is a place the narrator can pull through from a post-delivery situation. She knows she cannot care for her baby but loves him. “This is a blessing to be with the baby. How sweet baby! I am so nervous that I cannot be with him (Gilman 642).”

The symbolism is uneven from the predictable that Gilman used. A house is a symbol of security. The story’s protagonist feels trapped in a house, the same as her mental condition. The windows of her room symbolize freedom, which is barred and she is holding barred windows. She cannot express to her husband that she feels trapped. It is painful! His husband does not believe that she is sick. What can anyone do? The narrator explains that a physician whose standard is high and he is her husband assures their relatives and friends that there is nothing wrong. There is no matter of concern except a nervous depression and hyper tendency. What can one do? She is not a single person suppressed by her husband, but there are several other women in the society. Her brother is also a doctor.

The reactions to her husband’s dominance are reflected in the story. The narrator is always acting upon her husband’s desires and demands. She is perpetually passive and obedient to her husband even if she is depressed and miserable. Her husband gave her the idea that she must get proper rest if she wants to recover soon. It is comparable to Charlotte’s life in which a doctor treated her and prescribed her rest.

John, the narrator’s husband is not a favor that she should work. She was instructed not to touch a pencil, pen, or brush and to live a simple native life, and she could only spend two hours a day in intellectual activities (Gilman 640). She says I cannot work unless I recover my health again. John prohibited her not to write a single word. It is a straightforward insinuation of Charlotte’s experience that a narrator faces post-delivery melancholy. After the birth of her daughter, Gilman suffered a disorder. The narrator is living in a nursery, which she hates because her husband selected them to live in. She labels a nursery as a barred window and terrible. Her response to the room can determine a further example of the narrator’s behavior. “She does not like a room.”

It is an image of the nineteenth century in which mental illness and women were supposed. Women’s mental health was not considered, and they were supposed to be cared for by their men. John did not want to disgrace, and shame of psychological disorder knotted to his family. He utters, I can help myself to get out of it. I will use my self-control and willpower, not letting silly notions stay with me. It is continuously reminded that today, civilization treats mental sickness differently. It was also the same perspective in the 19th century. The narrator allows her husband to control her and she represses her desires and needs after watching a wallpaper in a room. She writes I have never seen a destitute paper in my life, having straggling and glitzy patterns that commit original sin. It is impressive that the bed in the room is pinned to the floor and an immovable bed.

The narrator expresses, that the faded figure seems as if it can jolt the pattern as she wants to get out. I got up to see if the paper had moved, and John was awake when I returned to the room. She further says the woman behind the pattern shakes it, and it does move. Gilman pulls the reader into the narrator’s world through convincing descriptions and senses. These descriptions correctly summarize the imaginations of readers, and it is insane. Lingering pictures of the wallpaper reflect the fearful feelings inside the narrator’s mind. The protagonist is not able to describe her feelings to anyone. She starts to see herself in the wallpaper. She mirrors herself as trapped in a room and compares a woman reflexing in wallpaper, who is stuck, to herself.

The narrator imagines her thoughts as confined in a room with a grilled window, like the woman behind the wallpaper. Light comes through the barred window at night, such as twilight, lamplight, candlelight, and most awful.

Another similarity between the narrator and the woman behind the image reflects the actions when the narrator sees outside the window at night lit with shaded light. She sees her in the dark grape gazebo, sneaking into the shrubbery park. The narrator further sees in her imagination that she is trolling under the trees on a long road. When any carriage passed by from her, she hid under a blackberry plant. She does not blame her. It feels humiliating to get caught moving stealthily by daylight. The narrator is talking about her degradation if she sneaks around.

This story marvelously portrays a woman whose feelings, decisions, and opinions in the real world have never been recognized, marked, or acknowledged as valid. For a woman, the center of her world is portraying the wallpaper and the room she hates most. Even though the narrator is not permitted to write, she begins to read the wallpaper unless she finds an escape. The narrator realizes she will never live behind barred windows. Finally, she understands that the woman in the wallpaper is herself. Perhaps it can be summed up in a conversation that John is happy to see me recover. He laughed, and I appeared to be prosperous. I do not intend to tell him it is due to the wallpaper. In the end, she crawls over her husband who is lying on the floor unconscious. It is deemed as her victory over her husband.

Women were deemed as most deficient in their capacity as fragile and mentally weak. Women have been discouraged from writing because their writings can form an identity and defiance for them in a patriarchal society. Feminists focus on a triumph at the end of the story. Gilman’s work challenged women’s social construction in a male-dominated society. In “The Yellow Wallpaper” the narrator of the story is not permitted to make any decision or to participate in her medical diagnosis treatment, but she is entirely forced by her husband, to yield to everything. Indirectly, it is the male’s voice that has control over women. Accordingly, a woman should think, perceive, and speak about the world around her.

Works Cited

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. The yellow wallpaper. Project Gutenberg, 1994.



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