The Yellow Wallpaper, By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

1590 words - 7 pages

The Yellow WallpaperThe Yellow Wallpaper, a story written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and first published in 1892, is a mind-boggling journey where the writer expresses her feelings in very vivid details. The writer's details and use of imagery capture the readers' imaginations in a way unlike other short stories, and such a story with a disturbing but brilliant analysis it has had a profound and powerful impact on many people regarding the role, treatment, and subjugation of women. The story appears to be a somewhat autobiographical tale of a woman who suffers from a severe and continuous nervous breakdowns, this gives a certain flow to the story that is not very consistent but very deep. ...view middle of the document...

In the story, she declares that the windows are barred for little children, and there are rings and things in the walls. Being exposed to the room's yellow wallpaper is dreadful and fosters only negative creativity. The color is hideous enough, and unreliable enough, and infuriating enough, but the pattern is torturing. The Yellow Wallpaper as a story and as a social reference to the times in which it was written also offers the detailed and chilling accounts of a woman's entrapment, defeat, and movement toward madness. The story seems almost like a true account detailing the writer's suffering from a severe and continuous nervous breakdown at some point in her life and the medical and scientific community's ill advice who instruct her not to interact with people and to rest as much as possible. The story was set in the late eighteen hundreds in a colonial mansion out in the countryside.The story is written in the form of a journal, which the narrator secretly keeps against the orders of her physician-husband, who believes that this will help his wife recover from her illness. The narrator has been brought to a country house to rest and be cured by her physician-husband. He then selects for her a room with the yellow wallpaper, which was a former nursery, where the "windows are barred for little children" and the bed has been nailed to the floor and there are hooks on the wall.The nursery has now become a bedroom, with ugly yellow wallpaper with a recurring pattern that begins to obsess the narrator. Given her loneliness and lack of emotional support, she begins to see a woman confined in the pattern of the "repellent, almost revolting" wallpaper. Eventually she falls into deeper mental anguish and has a complete emotional breakdown. Forbidden to neither write nor think, the woman becomes more and more mentally ill, as she becomes obsessed about the yellow wallpaper, in which she sees disturbing patterns and an imprisoned female figure trying to escape from the wallpaper.The narrator eventually falls into a downward spiral of depression, and loss of self-control, she finally escapes from her controlling husband and goes into insanity as she peels the wallpaper off, and descends into depression and madness. The husband while symbolizing a chauvanist male, who abuses his wife's trust and increasingly confines her, thinking to protect, but instead destroying the woman, can clearly be seen as a normal person who follows the norms and traditions of his times. The author recounts the woman's smoothly changing descriptions and understanding of the ghastly wallpaper in her room in a way to illustrate both clearly and beautifully her declining mental health, and the extraordinary picture of her destruction at the climax of the story creates both a sense of rage and a sense of sadness that a woman who should have been allowed to write was to be locked into madness. The treatments' call for isolation was a repressive factor that seems to ignite the...

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